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Cafe Matisse


sjmoss
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I went there on Saturday night with my wife for our anniversary and I usually love the place. This time I was a bit disappointed. The food overall was very good except for my wife who had filet mignon for one of her courses and asked for it medium well (I know that is a sin, but it is how she likes it) and it was very rare. The problem was the service. We had 7:30 reservations and it was a 4 course tasting plus a dessert course. There was much too much time between courses and we did not get done until 10:45 and that was with rushing to get the check and running out of there. My wife asked the waiter for some tea and he said "sorry, I will take your drink order with the dessert order." He ran off not to be seen again for about 10 minutes. Why could he not just get her the tea before taking our desser order? The place is also VERY noisy, so it was hard to have a conversation. I am not sure that I would return. On the plus side, it is BYOB and they have a boutique wine shop in the front of the restaurant where you can buy some great wines. The individual in the store was great and helped pick out an amazing wine to complement our meal. Next time, I think I will venture into NYC for a special meal.

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I don't think the quality of the food at Matisse survived the move onto the boardwalk. Might be the ghost of the old McDonalds building they now occupy...

=Mark

Give a man a fish, he eats for a Day.

Teach a man to fish, he eats for Life.

Teach a man to sell fish, he eats Steak

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I think SJ Moss is talking about Cafe Matisse in Rutherford, not Matisse in Belmar.

That is correct, it is in Rutherford, I am sorry but I should have clarified which one.

That's a shame what happened to you, because I also really like Cafe Matisse but haven't been in awhile. Any restaurant can have an off night and I know that doesn't help you but you should probably call them and tell them how you feel.

Lori

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Do you guys have any idea how that kitchen works? Peter, the chef/owner is the only cook in that place. A dishwasher and his wife helps him to plate occasionally, but thats his staff. All they need is the servers to seat a few tables at the same time and that guy is slammed. Thats a nice restaurant, with good food. you said the food was good overall, although your wife needed her filet cooked more, so what? these are strange reasons not to go back to a good place.

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Do you guys have any idea how that kitchen works?  Peter, the chef/owner is the only cook in that place.  A dishwasher and his wife helps him to plate occasionally, but thats his staff.  All they need is the servers to seat a few tables at the same time and that guy is slammed.  Thats a nice restaurant, with good food.  you said the food was good overall, although your wife needed her filet cooked more, so what?  these are strange reasons not to go back to a good place.

Maybe that is "how the kitchen works." But I never had that problem before (and I have eaten there 5 times). To me it is unacceptable to wait 45 minutes between courses on a tasting menu. When you pay big $ for a nice dinner, I expect good service, is that too much to ask for? If this is how his kitchen is supposed to work he will be losing a lot of customers.

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waiting for your food has nothing to do with the "service" portion of your meal. someone telling you that they'll take your coffee order with dessert is horrendous service. waiting for your food is because of the kitchen or the way the customers were seated all at the same time. it happens, it happens everywhere. cut the place a break.

i always tell my friends and family that they should all be "lucky" enough to watch a full service, and watch the cooks work in their environment, the heat, the pace. after that, you'll be more than happy to sit in the air conditioned dining room with your wife enjoying a little conversation and some free time, instead of complaining.

everyone that eats should work in a kitchen.

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i always tell my friends and family that they should all be "lucky" enough to watch a full service, and watch the cooks work in their environment, the heat, the pace. after that, you'll be more than happy to sit in the air conditioned dining room with your wife enjoying a little conversation and some free time, instead of complaining.

everyone that eats should work in a kitchen.

i've been lucky enough to work in a kitchen and experience the heat and pace. yet i still don't feel blessed or more than happy to have to wait an excessive amount of time between courses. i'll be the judge of what time of mine is "free", how i should spend that time, and what time of mine is being wasted waiting for a restaurant to get out of the weeds.

personally i wouldn't make a big stink out of 1 bad night out of several meals. shit happens.

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waiting for your food has nothing to do with the "service" portion of your meal.  someone telling you that they'll take your coffee order with dessert is horrendous service.  waiting for your food is because of the kitchen or the way the customers were seated all at the same time.  it happens, it happens everywhere.  cut the place a break.

i always tell my friends and family that they should all be "lucky" enough to watch a full service, and watch the cooks work in their environment, the heat, the pace. after that, you'll be more than happy to sit in the air conditioned dining room with your wife enjoying a little conversation and some free time, instead of complaining.

everyone that eats should work in a kitchen.

I think that a 45 minute wait between courses is excessive, and is definitely defined as "service" even though this is perhaps not to be blamed directly on the wait staff.

Actually, I'm a fan of time between courses. Nothing irks me more than the American tradition of whisking away your plate the moment you take the last bite, and getting the next plate a mere 30 seconds later. While some may like this system, this is not my idea of a restaurant meal. I like a good pause between courses, and time to savor the experience, the way the Europeans dine for the most part.

However, I would agree that 45 minutes is much too long!

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Maybe it's just me, i'm sure it is. If I had 45 minutes and happened to be in a nice restaurant, I'd be more than happy to sit and talk to my wife. But thats just me, since I see her about 45 minutes a week total. The rest of the time I have to worry about people and their precious 45 minutes...

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Everyone seems to have some valid points...I have not eaten at Cafe Matisse in a number of years because I felt that the prices were not merited by the quality of the food and the service we received on several occasions. That said, I believe that as a patron, I have decided that if a restaurant is very inexpensive, I will "allow them" far more leeway in their food and service, BUT as prices rise, so do my expectations...I feel the same about clothing and other services I purchase. Sometimes, I do say something, sometimes not. It all depends if I think anyone would care to hear me. :sad::sad:

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The Bergan Record is running a story today about how the owner of Cafe Matisse is so confident in his 18 yr old sous that he took a week off and left him in charge.....Hmmmm

http://www.northjersey.com/page.php?qstr=e...2Y3dnFlZUVFeXkz

tracey

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As much as I love Cafe Matisse, I will not go again without calling ahead and asking if Peter is in the kitchen. I was at the restaurant two times in the past 6 months where all our meals were off and both time Peter was off. The last time Larry was off too and so was the service.

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Going tomorrow night. I don't mind leisurely waits between courses, as long as the wine holds out. :smile:

-s.

BTW: I like to hear what my tablemates are saying during a meal, but (I'm old) I sustained a P.I.T.A. hearing loss back in my Fillmore East days, so now when the Cafe's full, that parabolic ceiling really puts the "din" in our dinner. Tables in the corners or the back garden are our only refuge.

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The Bergan Record is running a story today about how the owner of Cafe Matisse is so confident in his 18 yr old sous that he took a week off and left him in charge.....Hmmmm

http://www.northjersey.com/page.php?qstr=e...2Y3dnFlZUVFeXkz

tracey

BOY, if I were eating there and expected to taste the owner's food, I would be pretty unhappy...bet the prices are the same...I would hope he tells everyone when they make their reservations that he is doing that...or that would be my last visit there...Some owners just take advantage of their customers.... :angry::sad:

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The Bergan Record is running a story today about how the owner of Cafe Matisse is so confident in his 18 yr old sous that he took a week off and left him in charge.....Hmmmm

http://www.northjersey.com/page.php?qstr=e...2Y3dnFlZUVFeXkz

tracey

BOY, if I were eating there and expected to taste the owner's food, I would be pretty unhappy...bet the prices are the same...I would hope he tells everyone when they make their reservations that he is doing that...or that would be my last visit there...Some owners just take advantage of their customers.... :angry::sad:

Why should the prices change? The overhead doesn't, neither does the food cost. Sometimes chef/owners deserve a day off, or have emergencies come up. I would hardly call that taking advantage.

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When I eat at a restaurant that is on the expensive side, who is doing the cooking is really important to me. Yes, I am a foodie and believe it or not, it is like going to a Broadway play to see a star and having the understudy. Since I am paying that is my choice. I stop going to restaurants of "super chefs" as they open more places all over the world and simply are not in the kitchen cooking my food....I believe that I can tell some difference. So, while I agree that the overhead for the food and rent is the same, the cost for the salary of a super chef is not if he is not there and I am not willing to pay high prices for a 21 year old kid to cook... :sad::sad:

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When I eat at a restaurant that is on the expensive side, who is doing the cooking is really important to me.  Yes, I am a foodie and believe it or not, it is like going to a Broadway play to see a star and having the understudy. Since I am paying that is my choice.  I stop going to restaurants of "super chefs" as they open more places all over the world and simply are not in the kitchen cooking my food....I believe that I can tell some difference. So, while I agree that the overhead for the food and rent is the same, the cost for the salary of a super chef is not if he is not there and I am not willing to pay high prices for a 21 year old kid to cook... :sad:  :sad:

...sorry...18 year old!! :sad:

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When I eat at a restaurant that is on the expensive side, who is doing the cooking is really important to me.  Yes, I am a foodie and believe it or not, it is like going to a Broadway play to see a star and having the understudy. Since I am paying that is my choice.  I stop going to restaurants of "super chefs" as they open more places all over the world and simply are not in the kitchen cooking my food....I believe that I can tell some difference. So, while I agree that the overhead for the food and rent is the same, the cost for the salary of a super chef is not if he is not there and I am not willing to pay high prices for a 21 year old kid to cook... :sad:  :sad:

...sorry...18 year old!! :sad:

it sounds to me like you don't understand who actually does the cooking at restaurants. it's generally not the "chef". believing otherwise is a bit naive to my mind.

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The kitchen at Cafe Matisse is open to the view of diners, and at any moment you can look in the open window and see who's cooking. Happily, every time I've eaten there, it's been Peter ("The Chef"). :wink:

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When I eat at a restaurant that is on the expensive side, who is doing the cooking is really important to me.  Yes, I am a foodie and believe it or not, it is like going to a Broadway play to see a star and having the understudy. Since I am paying that is my choice.  I stop going to restaurants of "super chefs" as they open more places all over the world and simply are not in the kitchen cooking my food....I believe that I can tell some difference. So, while I agree that the overhead for the food and rent is the same, the cost for the salary of a super chef is not if he is not there and I am not willing to pay high prices for a 21 year old kid to cook... :sad:  :sad:

...sorry...18 year old!! :sad:

Sorry, but I disagree!! You shouldn't be able to tell the difference in most restaurants! Most chefs have to have a day off!!!!!!!!!!!! Please!!!!!!!!!!!! unfortunately, it just might happen to be on your birthday or anniversary, but an 18 shouldn't be in charge of the kitchen ever!! I don't know if Cafe Matisse had an 18 yr.old acting as a head chef. I find that hard to believe, but I guarantee that in most really good restaurants you wouldn't be able to tell if the head chef is there that day or not!!! But, a highly trained chef de cuisine or sous chef should be left in charge not just any old "cook".

Lori

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Hey, 18 or 80, the kid trained with the chef, and the chef trusts him. Really, though, it should not make a big difference if the chef is in the house or having a nice rest. It shouldn't change the price, nor the menu, nor the guest's experience.

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The kitchen at Cafe Matisse is open to the view of diners, and at any moment you can look in the open window and see who's cooking. Happily, every time I've eaten there, it's been Peter ("The Chef"). :wink:

Agree with the others, it should not make any difference who is cooking! The head chef will design a recipe, train his staff, and that is the way it should be made every time, whether or not the chef is present.

If it does make a difference, that is a reflection on the chef and his training program.

N.B. I've seen 18 year old kitchen staff in France, and they usually cook better than their 40-year old American counterparts! Training and desire are the key, not age.

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