Last night we had dinner at Hotel Griffou. One of the questions of the evening, as there were many, was about transparency in blogging that I wrote about earlier this week. Would I be
honest about the food this evening considering I know one of the investors?
Would I accentuate the positive and sweep the negative gently under the
carpet? Good question.
So, I need to be honest about my connection to Hotel Griffou. I was introduced to
one of the investors in the deal and then through that met the owners, etc.
I saw the restaurant when the walls were being put up. Conceptually a great idea. The attention to the physical details was impressive. They were raising a lot of cash, considering the times, and the guys
behind it, although seasoned in the restaurant business have never had their own place. In essence, they were not the guys making payroll, they were the guys that had managed and created the ambiance.
The restaurant itself is really well done. A variety of different rooms with
different themes and a total hipster vibe. Nice big bar area, low ceilings, feels a little bit like an old time
speakeasy. When I first saw the whole concept, the one thing that
threw me was the menu as I figured it was a work in progress. I didn't say a thing because I wasn't going to invest. We are invested in one restaurant now and figure we will see how that goes first. Now that the restaurant has opened and customers are streaming in, I have to say, whats up with the menu.
The menu is reminiscent of a 1950's dinner party. My guess is that as the owners did research on the place, hence the name Hotel Griffou which it was once called, that they would do something retro with the menu. I should have come with a bouffant hairdo. When we sat down, the four of us couldn't find a thing on the menu that even appealed to us. What really made me take pause was the pork dish that
actually has in parentheses that the recipe comes from 1892. Why would I
want to eat something that was first conceived of in 1892? Did the chef
come from that generation too? The food is honestly inedible, from
appetizers to dessert. We tried a lot of different things too. We ordered 4 appetizers, one extra came thanks to my friend so that makes 5, 3 entrees and 2 desserts.
I could go through the list of things we tried but why bother? Everything
is heavy handed, laden with sauces and tarragon, even the french fries are
awful. Oh, on second thought, I must comment on a few things, how can I not. Sliced duck
covered in beets, sauce and pieces of orange and heavy pepper, a block of
beef, overcooked and tasteless hamburger, where are the asparagus underneath
all that sauce, what's up with the lobster thermador fondue (mac and glue with some lobster tossed in), slabs of bone marrow with sauteed red onions on toast, freezing cold shrimp with a bitter
mayonnaise laden celery root salad, steak tartare with what in it, not sure
and a special of trout belly but where was it under all the sauces and
veggies and oh, what was that cookie on the plate that my friend spit out.
Ok, I've had my fun. I figured we should go all the way and try a dessert or two to see if that could possibly be awful too and it is. The cookie platter is disgusting. The cookies taste like
they were the first batch made from Sara Lee in the 1960's. Its not easy
making an inedible chocolate chip cookie. The banana butterscotch pudding
tasted like it came out of a can. Perhaps it did because they were still
defrosting the chef from 1892. I don't think I have ever been this harsh in a food post but honestly, it was one of the worst meals I have had in recent memory and not cheap. When a restaurant looks that good, they should try to match it with a good meal.
On another note, the front room, which is located under the sidewalk,
is a private room for 12. There is something very humid and moldy
smelling in there which they should seriously look into and quick.
Such a complete waste of cash. The space is cool, the location is great,
the people behind it are really nice and care….fire the chef, change the
menu and get into 2009 and out of 1892 but quick or the only thing that will
be roaming around those rooms come January are the ghosts of 1892 still
looking for leftovers of the pork dish.