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Chez Garbàge and other One Hit Wonders


syzygy8
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So real-life restaurant reviewers typically make several

visits to a restaurant before pronouncing judgment. I am not

a real-life reviewer, simply a consumer spending my hard-

earned money and am therefore entitled to visit a restaurant

once, dub it “Casa Crapola,” and never visit again.

Basically, a One Hit Wonder.

In most cases, I alert restaurant staff when I’m unhappy

about something and see how it’s handled and that often paves

the way for a future return. But in some cases that’s

impractical: “Those curtains are vile. You must change

them!” Or it’s not even worth the bother because of a

combination of things. Or the complaints are about things

that are so basic that if they can’t get them right without

you mentioning it to them they’ve got serious issues. Or you

just don’t feel like it, because you shouldn’t have to.

Today I visited Chef Geoff’s Downtown for lunch, and it falls

into the latter categories.

The hostess looked befuddled when I, as a party of one,

requested to be seated for lunch today at nearly 1:30 p.m.

Plenty of available space. For some reason though, the

welcome was less than welcoming.

Music. They were blasting Bruce Springsteen. I’d expect

that in a bar/tavern, or even some restaurants without

tablecloths! Sometimes music in the restaurant can set a

mood, particularly if it’s light and in the background. Or

sometimes, District Chophouse as an example with its ‘40s

music, it’s trying to set a scene. But this was none of that.

I ordered Snow Pea Fusilli: Defined on the menu as tomatoes,

onions, summer sprouts, asiago, and pea coulis. The quantity

of things wrong with this dish probably exceeded the quantity

of ingredients. To name a few, the pasta was overdone,

boiled to death. The vegetables (save for the grape

tomatoes) were over done, sautéed to death. There were

cucumber slices (or were they zucchini? I couldn’t tell)

that were just shy of wilted mush. They had only enough

structural integrity left to allow me to tell that it had

been a green vegetable at one time.

The dish was sauced to death with a cloying sweet and acidic

vinegar mixture that overwhelmed and overpowered everything

(save the grape tomatoes which had enough of its own

flavorful acid to fight through this mess). The asiago

cheese on this dish looked like it had come from one of those

plastic containers of shredded (as opposed to grated)

parmesan at the supermarket.

The closest approximation I can suggest for this dish is:

Visit your local supermarket. Go to the prepared foods

section. Get the plastic container of “Pasta Primavera” or

something similar. Nuke it until just warm. This is a true

approximation and not an exaggeration.

This is where I should have spoken up. But my server came to

ask how everything was only one forkful after another server

delivered it to my table. Only enough time for me to say, “I

don’t like it” and not explain why I don’t like it, which is

essential for me to send something back. So I nodded while I

chewed. She didn’t return again until it was clear that I

had eaten all I was going to eat. I declined the coffee and

dessert offer.

When it came time for the check ($19.47 including tax and an

iced tea), and I left $30 so I can have proper change to

leave a tip. She brought $10 back to me instead of $10.53.

I would understand this (rather small) oversight if the place

was busy and she was swamped, but at this time I was the only

customer there.

Your mileage may vary, but I can’t think of any redeeming

qualities that would make me want to return or consider

another chance for them. After all, I paid $20 for that

experience and boy do I feel taken. Perhaps it’s because I’m

spoiled knowing what a $9 chicken can taste like! The place

gave me an “aura of bad feeling.” I can safely say I will

not return there.

Chef Geoff’s. My One Hit Wonder for today. Best of luck to

ye.

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Did she bring the $10.00 as a bill or broken into $5.00 plus singles. Cause if she brought it as a $10.00 she would have gotten the $.53 from me as a tip.

Bruce Frigard

Quality control Taster, Château D'Eau Winery

"Free time is the engine of ingenuity, creativity and innovation"

111,111,111 x 111,111,111 = 12,345,678,987,654,321

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Did she bring the $10.00 as a bill or broken into $5.00 plus singles. Cause if she brought it as a $10.00 she would have gotten the $.53 from me as a tip.

It was a 5 and 5 ones. Amazingly!

I should also add that there was not one bit of evidence of snow peas in the dish whatsoever. There were peas....but more the size of shelled or snap peas.

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Your mileage may vary, but I can’t think of any redeeming

qualities that would make me want to return or consider

another chance for them.  After all, I paid $20 for that

experience and boy do I feel taken.  Perhaps it’s because I’m

spoiled knowing what a $9 chicken can taste like!  The place

gave me an “aura of bad feeling.”  I can safely say I will

not return there.

My husband and I had dinner there a few months ago and weren't very impressed. We, too, encountered a hostess who seemed puzzled that we wanted a table. (Hmm. Is that maybe a warning sign that you don't want to eat in a restaurant?) We were there at maybe 7 PM or so on a Friday, before a movie, so there was a substanial happy hour crowd at the bar. The music was really loud, so we asked for an outside table. I don't remember what we ordered at this point, but it was unexceptional, especially for the price. The service was okay but not great. Our experience wasn't as bad as yours, but I don't expect to be going back there any time soon.

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Aria is my nominee. I had one lunch there a few weeks ago and while the chilled tomato soup was nice, the baked penne with sausage was so salty it was inedible. My waitor asked if there was a problem when he saw me stop eating. I told him and his reaction was "oh, sorry." Perhaps they are still working out the new restaurant kinks but I doubt I'll be back anytime soon.

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I second the Mie n Yu. I would hesitate to go back there even for drinks.

I've had better luck with the New Mexico Ave location of Chef Geoffs. I have never been to the downtown location.

Etrusco is mine. If you want overpriced and underwhelming Italian food. This is the place for you. This was the last and final time I listened to the Washingtonian for a restaurant recommendation.

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Tha

I second the Mie n Yu. I would hesitate to go back there even for drinks.

I've had better luck with the New Mexico Ave location of Chef Geoffs. I have never been to the downtown location. 

Etrusco is mine. If you want overpriced and underwhelming Italian food. This is the place for you. This was the last and final time I listened to the Washingtonian for a restaurant recommendation.

Right-o . Better luck on New Mexico Ave. Can't say great anything in this day, but remember Quigley's? And then Dolcetto (another bankrupt Galileo-almost-owned property, where at the end servers were stealing wine because they knew it was going down and they wanted money)....and Mie n Yu? That lamb with sauce that (strictly by eye) resembles diarrhea on a crate and barrel-ish white plate? It can't be any good. I mean, it's gotta suck! I felt like being mean. I'm sorry.

Edited by morela (log)

...

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Tha

Right-o .  Better luck on New Mexico Ave.  Can't say great anything in this day, but remember Quigley's?  And then Dolcetto (another bankrupt Galieo-almost-owned property, where at the end severs were stealing wine because they knew it was going down and they wanted money)....and Mie n Yu?  That lamb with sauce that (strictly by eye) resembles diarrhea on a crate and barrel-ish white plate?  It can't be any good.  I mean, it's gotta suck!  I felt like being mean.  I'm sorry.

No. Don't think you are being mean. The Chef Geoffs empire needs to be wrapped in tin foil and shot to the sun for posterity. The place (s) SUCK!

"Whenever someone asks me if I want water with my Scotch, I say, 'I'm thirsty, not dirty' ". Joe E. Lewis

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No.  Don't think you are being mean.  The Chef Geoffs empire needs to be wrapped in tin foil and shot to the sun for posterity.  The place (s) SUCK!

I'm under the vague recollection that some high-paid national news reporter (i.e., several steps on the food chain below politician and one step up from pedophile) is married to said Chef. Leaving me to believe the dude can put out any old crap on a plate and it just doesn't matter. The bills get paid by the Mrs.

Could New Mexico Ave really be that different? I mean, they're only a few miles away....and it's not like the Chef Geoff's empire stretches any farther than those two outlets, does it?

I'll be happy to bring the heavy duty Reynolds Wrap for the solar launch if someone has a powerful enough slingshot.

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I'm under the vague recollection that some high-paid national news reporter (i.e., several steps on the food chain below politician and one step up from pedophile) is married to said Chef.

He's married to Norah O'Donnell. The Hill just ran this fawning review, which is fixated on the political-celebrity angle. If you read closely, though, you'll see some less than flattering comments in there.

http://www.thehill.com/restaurants/chefgeoff.aspx

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Chef Geoff's is really bad. I have only been to the New Mexico location, and I always want to like it because the patio is nice. But the food sucks. Really sucks. I have tried entrees, sandwiches and the stone pies...all suck. I just don't understand how across the board, the food can taste so bad. :huh:

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