We didn't get around to reserving in June, but made an effort to get a table in October. We decided to give the chef his rein this time, and ordered the tasting menu. It was disappointing to find that a signature dish started the progression. Unfortunately, its components are readily available in our area, and we had used it as a lunch dish at home for several months. Of the next three courses, one was bland/ordinary; another was very good; and the third was in our opinion quite awful, badly conceived, although its components were interesting and could have been knockout in different contexts. The dessert was enormous and extremely heavy to be part of a many coursed meal; the waitperson, when taking away my almost untouched portion, shook her head and commented that it was very, very rich.
Could we have enjoyed our meal and evening more had we ordered a la carte? I have no doubt. I have always been able to enjoy a set menu when it has been the only option, but am rethinking choosing one after this rather miserable disappointment. Although a tasting menu usually costs less than three courses chosen from the carte and sometimes sounds like a no-contest choice, we will continue to read both sides of the menu studiously, but will probably choose to create our own menus.
Thoughts and experiences?