Jump to content
  • Welcome to the eG Forums, a service of the eGullet Society for Culinary Arts & Letters. The Society is a 501(c)3 not-for-profit organization dedicated to the advancement of the culinary arts. These advertising-free forums are provided free of charge through donations from Society members. Anyone may read the forums, but to post you must create a free account.

25 for $25


Recommended Posts

Some of us only drink plain water though.

Personally, I dont like drinking alcohol, soda, sugared water etc and plain water is just what I drink most times.

I think it runs the gamut from exactly the experience you describe, to as good as the usual fare (a la Union). My biggest complaint is that the staff at some places often takes the lowest-common-denominator approach, treating everyone like dorks because, of course, the dorks come out in force for deals like this. When we went to Union as a group last year, I was mentioned to someone that I loved deals like this because it left me more cash to explore the wine list. Hans (the maitre d') overheard me and said "I wish everyone thought like you!" And then he went on to tell me about how a solid 25% of people who come in for the $25 deal order no drinks at all, just tap water. (And they have plenty of non-alcoholic options, if that was the issue.)

~A

Link to comment
Share on other sites

How about juice? still bottled water? :smile:

Seriously, though, what are the odds that all members of a party would feel that way? And that so many like-minded folks just happened to show up during November?

~A

Some of us only drink plain water though.

Personally, I dont like drinking alcohol, soda, sugared water etc and plain water is just what I drink most times.

Anita Crotty travel writer & mexican-food addictwww.marriedwithdinner.com

Link to comment
Share on other sites

What are people's general impressions of the quality of the food served on the 25 for $25 menus vs. the standard menus of the participating restaurants.  I haven't been to enough of these yet to have a really informed opinion.

I've been generally pleased with the 25 for $25 meals I've had, and felt they were a good representation of the general menu just scaled down slightly.

We went to Brasa last night & they simply included everything on the regular menu as a 25 for $25 option and had a few pricier special dishes excluded so you knew exactly what you'd be getting if you came back. Tragically their lemon mousse did not set last night so I missed one of my favorite desserts :sad: but they gave me a lovely cheese plate (not part of the 25/$25 deal) in apology :biggrin:

I love the 25/$25 program. it helps me push a sweet but financialy cautious husband out the door to some great restaurants, which we then can go back to once he knows they're worth the hype...

Eden

Do you suffer from Acute Culinary Syndrome? Maybe it's time to get help...

Link to comment
Share on other sites

I feel it's been a good program but that it has declined in quality. I feel it's overused as a promotion, whereas it used to be just once a year, didn't it? Now the restaurants seem to be getting lazy, careless and repetitive. In the beginning of this promotion a few years ago, we tried Flying Fish and it was wonderful. The second year we tried it and didn't like it so much. Still, if you can get a restaurant that still cares, it's a great deal and yes, it does spur me on to spend more for wine!

Link to comment
Share on other sites

We had lunch at Oceanaire yesterday. It was ok but I wouldn't particularly go back there. mainly the service was horrible!! It took them (her) over 1 hour to get us to the point of dessert. :angry: and it wasn't even busy!!!

Full report and photos in the Blog

It's about half way down on page 2.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Union offers the regular tasting menu for $25. Although this time around it's cut down to six courses; still an incredible value.

***Hoping the third time would be the charm we went to Union last night.

Yes, $25 is a great price for a six course tasting menu but some of the portions were SO small it was just silly. I would have preferred less courses and just a LITTLE more food.

Amuse: Braised Rabbit (both bites were delicious)

Jerusalum Artichoke Soup with Chestnut Puree: A nice sized portion and like drinking velvet. This was a show-stopper

Seared Opah: Both bites were wonderful.

Lime-Celery(?) Sorbet: Tart? Yeah, this was painfully tart.

Seared Muscovy Duck Breast: OK, I'm the odd man out on duck breast...I just don't care for it rare. I asked for it "medium well" It came quacking out of the kitchen and our 'somewhat rough around the edges' waitperson announced: "DUCK, medium well". I took one bite of the RARE bird and sent it back to the kitchen.

It came back medium-well and was fine. The mashed potatoes and cabbage beneath it were delicious.

Dessert: Precious little espresso cup with Chocolate Mousse....very good.

Again I found the experience mixed. Most of the food was excellent and the service not quite in keeping with the sophistication of the courses served.

Once again sitting at the TINY table for two up against the wall is something I just don't care for. I really looked at the room and it seems to me that there is no great table for two people. It's either lined up against the wall like a firing squad or the much bigger tables meant to accommodate 4 to 6 people.

On the plus side the cocktails are perfectly executed and our wine an excellent choice....trying to avoid having it opened and served in concert with our cocktails was the usual annoyance.

I know everyone most everyone here loves this restaurant...and I've tried...but always leave a little disappointed.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Are you saying that when you decide to take a restaurant up on a heavily marketed promotion, you have a moral obligation to buy something else that you don't want to buy?

I think your only obligation is to tip generously -- if service is good I tip on the normal value of the meal. Buy drinks if you want them, as always.

Bruce

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Are you saying that when you decide to take a restaurant up on a heavily marketed promotion, you have a moral obligation to buy something else that you don't want to buy?

I think your only obligation is to tip generously -- if service is good I tip on the normal value of the meal. Buy drinks if you want them, as always.

Bruce

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Are you saying that when you decide to take a restaurant up on a heavily marketed promotion, you have a moral obligation to buy something else that you don't want to buy?

a moral obligation? no. but there's a big difference between wanting to use 25/$25 as a chance to try out or revisit places that have been on your radar screen without a $100 commitment, and an excuse to use it as a chance for cheap grub in a nice dining room.

this doesn't mean i think everyone should drink themselves silly on 300-percent markup wine, because some folks don't (or can't) drink. but there are other options for beverages. one person abstaining is perfectly acceptable. a *table full* of water drinkers chowing on the promo meal telegraphs a distinct cheapness.

that, or people who are ascetic enough that, frankly, i wouldn't want them in the restaurants i frequent. personally, i believe anyone who has ample money and physical ability should enjoy their food with wine. or beer, if that's your thing. while i'm the first to decry beverages as the primary way restaurants recoup the money they don't make on food, i acknowledge that restaurant economics are what allow me to keep enjoying the places i like to eat, which in turn makes my life a lot happier.

that's not to say i want to be soaked by unscrupulous or greedy restauranteurs. but people who want to squeeze every last dime out of a thin-margin industry are, by extension, threatening to damage my quality of life. i take that personally.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

We ate at Oceanaire for lunch today. I had the chowder, blackened salmon and the Valrhona chocolate mousse. My husband had the chowder, a bacon and tomato salad, and the chocolate chip cookie royale. My son had the Kobe Beef Burger.

The chowder was fine, very velvety, full of potatoes and had few but toothsome clams that dotted the soup. The salmon was undercooked but very good and spicy. The bacon salad was in this huge, worn wooden bowl, drowned in bacon dressing but loaded with excellent bacon. The Kobe Beef burger was very good, and came with a ton of condiments and little shoestring fries. The cookie royale was ok - hard-cooked chocolate chip cookie in vanilla ice cream with chewy fudge sauce. The Valrhona mousse was exquisite and very rich.

Overall, there was a ton of food and we left more than full. Service was beyond excellent, and we tipped accordingly. They were so efficient and attentive to everything. I wish they'd had more selections on the lunch menu that would show their expertise in fish preparation, but overall I think the meal was fine and the desserts were better than most 25 for 25 offerings.

I find it interesting that the "tap water" comment has come up again, as it usually does when the 25/25 promotion rolls around, and it really gets my goat. My husband and I don't drink, and most of the time I don't like to drink anything but plain water. Many of the friends I eat out with don't drink, either. I don't like soda with my meal unless I'm eating pizza or hot dogs, and I really don't like the taste of any bottled water. My husband has similar tastes and cannot drink alcohol, and on those rare occasions when he does want soda, we get sneered at for pairing soda with a fine meal. So most often we only get tap water, and I hate, hate hate the way we get treated at most fine restaurants when that happens. I understand that restaurants survive on making money, and they make quite a bit on drinks, but I am there for the food and I wish I would be treated normally because of this. The last time we were sneered at for just drinking tap water was when I spent $175 for each of us at a nice restaurant, and it really makes me not want to go back, no matter how good the food. And truly, it seems most foodies laud a restaurant most of the time for the quality and uniqueness of food, and outstanding service - more than the selection of wines. But since I'm not a drinker, I wouldn't know. We don't get attitude about drinking tap water from Japanese, Chinese or Indian establishments - which also don't seem to rely too heavily on alcohol for their economics. But then again, I wouldn't know since I'm not a drinker. At any rate, please don't make assumptions that my friends and I, who might be filling a table next to you at one of these $25 for 25, are cheap - we just really like to try different food and don't like to drink.

As far as the $25 for 25 promotion being classified for some as "an excuse to use it as a chance for cheap grub in a nice dining room", I'd hardly call it cheap when many places scale down the portion size significantly with their promotion offerings. Also, please be aware this is rare opportunity for those who don't have ample money to experience fine dining, when money is so hard to come by in this economy. I may be wrong, or stirring a pot, but it almost seems like you're saying that the only people who should go to these restaurants are those that can afford to drink and buy three courses without the promotion - and that seems a little elitist to me.

Okay, I'm sorry, I'm getting off my soapbox now.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

The drinking perception thing bothers me too. And I'll likely be in those restauranteurs' shoes someday, so it's not like I wouldn't appreciate (if not outright -need-) the profit from alcohol, but as someone allergic to alcohol I don't want to be made to feel unwelcome anywhere either.

Thankfully this has yet to happen to me in restaurants, and I hope it never does. Mostly I chalk it up to the waitstaff generally able to sense that I'm low maintenance, happy to be there and appreciate food. (Besides, my partner does drink and knows a thing or two about wine; wouldn't do to treat me badly and then lose her biz as well when she's in town!)

Whatever place I end up opening will have a good list of non-alcoholic things to drink in addition to the alcoholic ones. It's always been a mystery to me why restaurants don't have equally extensive coffee, tea, etc. lists. Mine will though damnit...

Speaking of which, I was at Union a couple days ago for their promotion. Mostly I went in search of inspiration because we were doing a small plates service in school, and I wanted to see what Chef Stowell was up to with this season's ingredients. I enjoyed what I had, especially the celery root and chestnut puree soup, though interestingly enough the most memorable thing was the drink the bartender made me, a pear nectar lemonade without alcohol. Yum! I sipped that as slowly as I could.

Also agree with Foodie-Girl about wanting a little more food. It was nice but afterwards, the whole experience felt a bit fleeting to me. Probably didn't help that I coveted a poached duck egg waiting for pickup afterwards. Of the actual food, I am probably remembering the soup best of all because there was enough of it to enjoy the flavors constantly unfolding over a period of time. I could sense the rest of the food could do that as well, but it was over too soon.

I'm really curious as to what their food, labor and overhead costs are like, and am hoping to pick my chef-instructor's brain about it once they get to Union. And I'd do any number of unspeakable things to be able to make soup as nice as theirs. The memory of the cold tomato soup with scallop from Union's FareStart dinner still burns brightly in my mind.

Pat

Edited by Sleepy_Dragon (log)

"I... like... FOOD!" -Red Valkyrie, Gauntlet Legends-

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Keep in mind these promotions *usually* run between Monday and Thursday, which are evenings when nonrestaurant going people are less likely to go out and dine. The promotion is to bring people in that normally don't go out on a weeknight. You're going to see some behavior that you might not expect.

The other part of the crowd is people who might not try a certain restaurant.

Just curious, didn't this promotion start in November of '01 to bring people back into restaurants after 9/11?

Drink!

I refuse to spend my life worrying about what I eat. There is no pleasure worth forgoing just for an extra three years in the geriatric ward. --John Mortimera

Link to comment
Share on other sites

there's a big difference between wanting to use 25/$25 as a chance to try out or revisit places that have been on your radar screen without a $100 commitment, and an excuse to use it as a chance for cheap grub in a nice dining room.

Aren't these both goals of the promotion? I think most of the participating restaurants (at least their owners, if not their servers) welcome both categories of diners. Of course they prefer drinkers, but if they wanted only drinkers, they could deter nondrinkers by charging more for the food and less for the drink.

or people who are ascetic enough that, frankly, i wouldn't want them in the restaurants i frequent.

No problem. Next time you dine, just ask to be seated in the non-ascetic section so you needn't be offended by people ordering just what they consider worthwhile. :smile:

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Something that my wife and I have noticed is that at some restaurants the 25/$25 deal is too much food. When dining normally we will often order one appetizer, two entrees and one dessert. The 25/$25 adds an additional appetizer and dessert.

At a restaurant that serves normal portions this is often too much food. If you add in the natural increase in drink purchases the total cost is often the same without the deal.

Kinda ironic, I know.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Aren't these both goals of the promotion? I think most of the participating restaurants (at least their owners, if not their servers) welcome both categories of diners. Of course they prefer drinkers, but if they wanted only drinkers, they could deter nondrinkers by charging more for the food and less for the drink.

only the latter: insofar as it exposes potential new customers to their food. these are promotions, but they're not exactly charitable endeavors.

personally, i think it's a bad idea for restaurants to serve anything but their best food during these promos, because it very well could be how i decide whether to visit them again and spend a lot more money. but i think many owners have found that these promos have become an exercise in catering to a lot of folks who don't spend a lot of money dining out, and don't do it regularly.

courting people who wouldn't possibly become regular customers doesn't seem like good business sense to me, but then, i'm not a restauranteur.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Here is an example of how 25/25 can go either way.

We included Cascadia in our first 25/25 experience in 2001(?). It was a complete disaster. The snooty waiter sighed noticeably when we ordered two 25/25 dinners, the food was very average and clearly not their best effort, and we left disappointed. We did not return until I had a business dinner there several weeks ago. I enjoyed it so we decided to try again.

Last night, Ms SeAAttle ordered the 25/25 (red snapper). I had the smoked salmon appetizer and the lamb. Both excellent. We also had a delightful waiter who made the whole experience very enjoyable. On our way out, we made reservations for the holidays, requesting the same table and waiter.

BTW, given the discussion above, I should state that we were celebrating a professional success and had cocktails and 2 glasses of wine each (a bit too much alcohol as I discovered this morning). :blink: Oh, yes - bottled water.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

What are people's general impressions of the quality of the food served on the 25 for $25 menus vs. the standard menus of the participating restaurants.  I haven't been to enough of these yet to have a really informed opinion.

So many interesting topics to touch on with this thread...

I'll start with a quick dining report. GF & I (and several of her co-workers) went to Oceanaire last Tuesday for the 1st time. We had 8pm reservations and they were slammed, so it took a few minutes or so to get seated. I was looking forward to the dinner (several of the items on the menu that was on-line caught my eye), but the offerings that night were a bit different. And became increasingly different as they ran out of certain things! I ended up ordering simply grilled sturgeon, (a fish I've tried cooking only a couple of times) and the salad. GF had the black & bleu coho and salad. Others at the table had the coho, swordfish (subbing for tombo tuna) and, well, I've forgotten! One in the party ordered the seared scallops off the regular menu, along with the red chili squid. I got to try several forkfulls of the squid. It was tasty. The scallops looked impressive and were not shared(!) Apparently, they were quite good.

In contrast to the folks who reported being well fed, portion-wise, at lunch, had it not been for the 3(!) sides of various potato offerings that we ordered (all of which were quite yummy), I would have left hungry after my meal. The salad was really good, but "scant". My piece of fish was perfectly cooked, very nice, and small. And desert (key lime pie) was small. I understand the smaller portion economics of a promotion like this, but my dinner plate was a visual atrocity. Had I not been having a giddy, good time (helped by a bottle of wine) I could have cried. I was served a small slab of white fish on top off a pile of boiled white potatoes on an oversized white plate! There was no thought put into this presentation. It was this off-center sloppy mound of white food. I wished I had saved some lettuce from my salad to add color to the plate. Even a sprig or 2 of parsley would of helped! And the potatoes were watery and tasteless. But, at least everyone else seemed to have plates with more color and accessories. And we both agree that the coho was disserviced by it's preparation. But those onion rings were yummy!

Our waiter was great, but our table was too big and in an awkward high traffic area. It took a long time to get our orders out. So, despite having good, tasty food, we both left there with the feeling that we'd probably never go back for dinner. I'd like to try oysters in the bar sometime, but if the bar was anything like it was when we were there, I'd have to pass on that, too. Overcrowded and spendy.

On Thursday, I was on my way to meet GF (after checking out the excellent Spain exhibit at SAM!) and walked past Union. I stopped to look at the menu. I then secretly wished to have dinner there that night. I'd have to convince GF that this was necessary. We'd been dining out almost every night for a week. But, the tasting menu looked too awesome to pass up. On our walk back to the car I made sure to walk back past Union. "Oh, you should see the tasting menu", I said, trying not to get too excited. "I want to go in". I only had to whine a little bit. I knew the menu would get her interested, too. It was 9pm and the place was booked, though we could dine in the bar. We had no problem with that! In fact, I'd agree with the previous comments about 2 tops in the dining room being awkwardly situated. I found sitting in the bar by the windows nice.

Well, dinner was fabulous! We had a couple of glasses of nice wines to round out the whole deal. And spur of the moment, too! The highlight of the meal for me was seared duck breast. I was in taste bud heaven. Or, my taste buds were in heaven! I wish I could recontruct its preparation, but I'm at a loss. Perhaps the other "e-gulleteers" I ran into can remember the details? We also had a cauliflower soup with dungeness crab, a smoked salmon mousse amuse bouche, a pear sorbet with vanilla oil and the previously mention chocolate pots-de-creme. Wow!

It was such a treat and in great contrast to our experience at Oceanaire. Here, the portions are even smaller, much smaller, yet I was fulfilled. The great care in presentation, the lovely flow of service, the great flavors, it all added up to a dining experience that was 10 times more satisfying.

Well, I've run out of time and space to ramble on further about the other issues that have been discussed recently. Perhaps tomorrow.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

The highlight of the meal for me was seared duck breast.  I was in taste bud heaven.  Or, my taste buds were in heaven!   I wish I could recontruct its preparation, but I'm at a loss.  Perhaps the other "e-gulleteers" I ran into can remember the details?

It was served ove thin slices of Fuyu persimmon with a huckleberry port sauce. It was spectacular. It was one of those flavor combinations that we mere mortals could never conceive of, yet makes so much sense when tasted.

With the exception of the vanilla oil, I thought the whole menu was very successful. After reading the reports of small portions, we supplemented the tasting menu with orders of the torchon of foie gras and the grilled lamb's tongue with beets.

Edited by tighe (log)

Most women don't seem to know how much flour to use so it gets so thick you have to chop it off the plate with a knife and it tastes like wallpaper paste....Just why cream sauce is bitched up so often is an all-time mytery to me, because it's so easy to make and can be used as the basis for such a variety of really delicious food.

- Victor Bergeron, Trader Vic's Book of Food & Drink, 1946

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Had a GREAT $12.50 lunch today at Flying Fish. Really, really good! they were busy so our service wasn't super quick but that was fine.

I started with the smoked shrimp springrolls which had chinese sausage in them and some great little sauces on the plate. Della had the clam chowder which was really rich and had a cute little crouton in it.

Lunch for me was the Mahi Mahi with yummy mashed potatoes and a ginger sauce. Della had the True Cod on a bed of yummy veggies.

Dessert of the pear and cranberry crisp for her and gappa chocolate brownie for me.

The food was just top notch! And the space is really nice in the daytime, lots of sun streaming in. Good portions, perfectly cooked fish, good selection of things.

I always like FF for dinner and now would say it's a great place for lunch too!

Edited by little ms foodie (log)
Link to comment
Share on other sites

Had a GREAT $12.50 lunch today at Flying Fish. Really, really good! they were busy so our service wasn't super quick but that was fine.

I started with the smoked shrimp springrolls which had chinese sausage in them and some great little sauces on the plate. Della had the clam chowder which was really rich and had a cute little crouton in it.

Lunch for me was the Mahi Mahi with yummy mashed potatoes and a ginger sauce. Della had the True Cod on a bed of yummy veggies.

Dessert of the pear and cranberry crisp for her and gappa chocolate brownie for me.

The food was just top notch! And the space is really nice in the daytime, lots of sun streaming in. Good portions, perfectly cooked fish, good selection of things.

I always like FF for dinner and now would say it's a great place for lunch too!

Thanks for the 25 for $25 lunch review of Flying Fish, LMF. It is indeed one of our favorite restaurants. I am hooked on those smoked shrimp springrolls with the sausage in them. My favorite entree is the monkfish. Yum! Their portions are always good without being overwhelming, the plating artfully done, and as you say, perfectly cooked fish.

Sacred cows make the best hamburger.

- Mark Twain, 1835 - 1910

Link to comment
Share on other sites

I had lunch at Andaluca yesterday, they have always had pretty generous $25/$25 menu and they did not dissapoint this time. They had three choices for all three courses, the choices for the first course were a spinach salad, a warm lentil ragout with crisp prosciutto and poached egg, and a scallop gratin. The entree choices were a prawn fettucine, pumpkin risotto, and chicken skewers. The dessert choices were an apple butter tart, pomegranate sorbet, and chocolate gelato.

With three of us there we each tried the different appetizers and they were all uniformly good. The lentil ragout was definitely for people who like lentils though, all lentils all the time. We all had the prawn fettucine for our entree as the waiter highly recomended it and it was very good, a nice creamy tomato sauce that did not overpower with a generous number of prawns with a nice pea vine presentation surrounding the pasta. We each tried a different dessert, the chocolate gelato was nothing special, not bad by any means but nothing special. The apple tart was cold throughout by the time it was served and the ice cream on top didn't help but it was still tasty and really dense. The pomegranate sorbet was a beautiful red and had a nice amount of pomegranate on top. The staff was attentive and seemed to be happy for people to order the $25/$25 menu all in all another good experience for Andaluca.

Rocky

Link to comment
Share on other sites

went to nell's last night.

I had the salad (pretty pedestrian, but nicely seasoned), the butternut squash risotto with cavalo nero and a ginger creme brulee with cardamon shortbread.

Taller half had potato leek soup, tripe stew with onion and bacon as a main (it was a starter and they let her have it) and a hot chocolate soup with a vanilla tuile cookie and ice cream.

I very much loved my food, the butternut squash risottto was yummy and the not salty or mushy. The cardamon shortbread reminded me very much of my mothers naan-eh berenji (Persian Rice cookes) that she makes for New Year.

Taller half raved over her tripe stew and like everything else very much.

We had a campari and soda each and a half bottle of a willamette valley pinot noir, two coffees and the bill came to 100 bucks.

The service was great, attentive, but not pushy and I really enjoyed it.

We'll probably hit another one tomorrow and Sunday.

lalala

I have a relatively uninteresting life unless you like travel and food. Read more about it here.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Is anyone up for an egullet table at Barking Frog?

Huh. I get sucked in by Barking Frog 25 for 25 every year or so; I guess it's about time again.

Background: We live just a couple miles away from BF. The menu is tempting; they get some pretty good reviews. I really want BF to be a favorite of mine. But every time we go there I leave disappointed. The food is generally good, not great, and the prices always feel high to me for what I'm actually getting.

Still, it's been a year or two since our last visit so if there's an eGullet gathering at BF count us in.

Weeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeellllllllllllllllllllllllllllllllllllllllll?

Drink!

I refuse to spend my life worrying about what I eat. There is no pleasure worth forgoing just for an extra three years in the geriatric ward. --John Mortimera

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Is anyone up for an egullet table at Barking Frog?

Huh. I get sucked in by Barking Frog 25 for 25 every year or so; I guess it's about time again.

Background: We live just a couple miles away from BF. The menu is tempting; they get some pretty good reviews. I really want BF to be a favorite of mine. But every time we go there I leave disappointed. The food is generally good, not great, and the prices always feel high to me for what I'm actually getting.

Still, it's been a year or two since our last visit so if there's an eGullet gathering at BF count us in.

Weeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeellllllllllllllllllllllllllllllllllllllllll?

OK, I finally posted a review under a new topic ("Barking Frog"). In short, I was quite happy with my meal this time.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

 Share

  • Recently Browsing   0 members

    • No registered users viewing this page.
×
×
  • Create New...