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Canlis in seattle?


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I was shocked by the service lapse Wendy experienced. Not only is Canlis known for fine service, but you paid a large extra premium for the private room and designated server. And he FORGOT a course that you ordered? That's just abominable--the mistake itself, and the the extremely poor handling that followed. I think some major comping--perhaps of your Cache Room fee?--would not have been inappropriate. Coupons for free dessert sounds tacky. If they want you to come back, why not a substantial gift certificate? I hope you wrote or phoned the restaurant to express your displeasure, but it's really too late for them to make up for this series of errors now.

Hungry Monkey May 2009
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I was shocked by the service lapse Wendy experienced. Not only is Canlis known for fine service, but you paid a large extra premium for the private room and designated server. And he FORGOT a course that you ordered? That's just abominable--the mistake itself, and the the extremely poor handling that followed. I think some major comping--perhaps of your Cache Room fee?--would not have been inappropriate. Coupons for free dessert sounds tacky. If they want you to come back, why not a substantial gift certificate? I hope you wrote or phoned the restaurant to express your displeasure, but it's really too late for them to make up for this series of errors now.

The only reasons I would go back to Canlis is the space/view and the service, but if the service is shaky...

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

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I might have to cross the Canlis off my list of places to go before I die. A room charge of a hundred dollars, OK that I don't mind for the view and the experience, but and automatic 20% service charge when the service was less than stellar really is off putting.

"Homer, he's out of control. He gave me a bad review. So my friend put a horse head on the bed. He ate the head and gave it a bad review! True Story." Luigi, The Simpsons

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Does Canlis still have service using only men as waiters and Asian, or Asian-American, women in kimotos doing all the table work?

I thought this was a little unusual, maybe either sexism or something brought back from their Hawaian restaurant when they still owned it.

The whole scene was a little strange.

The few times I've been there it reminded me of a Frank Sinatra-Ava Gardner movie setting., or better yet North by Northwest.

My business partner's wife grew up in the northend in the '50s and Canlis was" the place" to go: after the prom, for the wedding reception, etc.

I guess not any more.

Dave

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  • 5 weeks later...
I might have to cross the Canlis off my list of places to go before I die.  A room charge of a hundred dollars, OK that I don't mind for the view and the experience, but and automatic 20% service charge when the service was less than stellar really is off putting.

In fairness to Canlis, I wanted to follow up on our experience.

I called and spoke to Mark Canlis about our evening, our general disappointment, and the manner in which things had been handled. After apologizing and saying he'd like to have us back (but understood if we never wanted to), he also followed up by mail with a hand-written apology and a gift certificate for $250. I hadn't asked for anything specifically; I just told him what happened and left things up to him.

About the service charge: In retrospect, I should have asked on the night of the dinner, or the next day, that it be reduced (since I was unhappy with the service specifically) but since I'd actually waited a couple of weeks after we ate there before I called in, I felt that was inappropriate. Not really fair to pull money back out of someone's pockets like that (I guess it's possible that Canlis would have just eaten the difference, but no way to know).

Because of Mark's response to me, we're planning on giving them another shot. Not the private room again anytime, but it can't hurt to check out the general dining room. That should be more indicative of most people's experience anyway.

I'll post about the make-up dinner after we go (no planned date yet).

-Dayne aka TallDrinkOfWater

###

"Let's get down to business. For the gin connoisseur, a Martini garnish varies by his or her mood. Need a little get-up-and-go?---lemon twist. Wednesday night and had a half-tough day at the office?---olive. Found out you're gonna have group sex with Gwen Stefani and Scarlett Johansson at midnight?---pour yourself a pickled onion Gibson Martini at 8:00, sharp." - Lonnie Bruner, DC Drinks

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After apologizing and saying he'd like to have us back (but understood if we never wanted to), he also followed up by mail with a hand-written apology and a gift certificate for $250.

That's more like it. Clearly he recognized how big the mistakes had been, and tried to make up for the staff errors.

Hungry Monkey May 2009
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I'm not surprised they tried to make up for their mistake. My experiences with Mark Canlis and the entire staff have always been excellent! It takes a good proprietor to recongnize when they've made a mistake and understand that a happy customer is worth tons of free press. In my opinion, in Seattle, only Canlis gets top marks for food, service, and view. It's impossible to find a place that can offer all three at a high level. Not to mention the best valet parking service I've ever experienced ANYWHERE!

In case you haven't experienced it before: They take your car at the door and give you NOTHING. No claim ticket, nothing. You finish your meal, pay the bill, walk outside; and there is your car, running, doors open, and waiting for you. Its seemless. I love it!

Edited by hhlodesign (log)
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  • 4 months later...

I've read this thread with the various opinions of Canlis, but maybe someone can tell me if it's right for this situation:

We're looking to have a small (4 person) celebratory dinner. Cost isn't really an issue (though we are treating, and we're off the Paris and Provence the next morning and the less we spend on dinner here, the more we can spend there...) We will be dressed up and definitely want this to feel like an event. One member of our group is a very fussy eater (the type of woman who lives on chicken breasts). The two men like all food but to quote one of them "I'm so over small plates." My own 1st choice might be Mistral-I haven't eaten there but have been tormented by Henry and Ling's posts, but maybe I should save that for a time when it's just me and the mr. and it's more about the food than the celebration. I'm thinking Canlis will make us all happy, and I did grow up here and have never been.

Comments? Is Canlis our place?

Edited by kiliki (log)
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I've read this thread with the various opinions of Canlis, but maybe someone can tell me if it's right for this situation:

We're looking to have a small (4 person) celebratory dinner. Cost isn't really an issue (though we are treating, and we're off the Paris and Provence the next morning and the less we spend on dinner here, the more we can spend there...) We will be dressed up and definitely want this to feel like an event. One member of our group is a very fussy eater (the type of woman who lives on chicken breasts). The two men like all food but to quote one of them "I'm so over small plates." My own 1st choice might be Mistral-I haven't eaten there but have been tormented by Henry and Ling's posts, but maybe I should save that for a time when it's just me and the mr. and it's more about the food than the celebration. I'm thinking Canlis will make us all happy, and I did grow up here and have never been.

Comments? Is Canlis our place?

Actually I would say 'yes' but mainly because you will have picky eaters in tow. The "chicken breast" eater and the "no small plates" guy will not appreciate Mistral. I think Canlis will be right up their alley.

Born Free, Now Expensive

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Thanks. The more I looked at their website the more I realized it would be perfect, so I made a reservation.

One of the more entertaining things I saw on the site concerned the story of getting "the note" at Canlis-a note that says you didn't spend enough money, so please don't come back (I think all of us who are from here have heard this story). The owner says in the FAQ, where they say the story is a myth, that he'll give anyone who can actually produce the note $1000.

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  • 2 weeks later...

I recently went into Canlis for cocktails... what a pleasant surprise! The drinks menu is extensive and extremely well-executed, and lots of interesting combinations (a bell pepper martini which nicely avoided being too salad-y, and a lovely drink with ginger and lemongrass). The bar menu is also excellent and surprisingly affordable ($7 for most of the small plates; like everywhere else in town). If you want to get out of there spending $20/person and still want the Canlis "experience" with the 1950s lounge-like atmosphere, head to the bar instead!

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I've eaten there a few times and I have to admit as a newbie to the restaurant world here in Seattle, Mark Canlis has been one of the people in the industry in town that has been very generous with his time and answering any questions that I've had for him. It's rare nowadays that a family buisness has someone running the operations with such competence.

Line Cook and Food Geek, Seattle, WA

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  • 4 weeks later...

We had a good time at Canlis, and I'm glad we went, but I'm in no hurry to go back. The service and view were fabulous, of course. We had the tasting menu with wine pairings, and while it was certainly good, nothing was particularly delicious. There was a crab salad, Australian lobster in veal sauce (that didn't really work for me), beef tenderloin, and a puff pastry-plum dessert (eh). We spent the next couple weeks on our honeymoon in Paris and Provence, and I had so many meals there that were so much more delicious (in places much less expensive) that the food at Canlis seemed less impressive as the trip went on.

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It's been 26 years since I dined at Canlis. I was about 19 years old and had a much older boyfriend who was an officer in a foreign military. He was in Seattle taking classes for a year in Seattle. He decided to pay for a going away party and invited a dozen or so friends to Canlis. The majority of the party was very young and not very sophisticated. I remember this one guy and I ordered escargot, didn't tell anyone what it was until after they each had a bite, and everyone freaked out. ;-) To Canlis' credit, they did not kick us out.

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Canlis was named in the October issue of Gourmet as one of the "50 best Restaurants in America". I find that surprising since no one I know has had a particularly remarkable dinner there.

I'd be curious to hear what you all think...is Canlis really one of the best restaurants in America?

Traca

Seattle, WA

blog: Seattle Tall Poppy

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I recently went into Canlis for cocktails... what a pleasant surprise!

I've also heard that this is the best way to enjoy Canlis. Wendy & Dayne, have you redeemed your certificate yet?

We did redeem it on a nice wine dinner but have heard good things about the cocktails and plan to stop in soon to sample. but we won't be eating in the regular dining room again- not worth it and so many other restaurants in the area that are!

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Canlis was named in the October issue of Gourmet as one of the "50 best Restaurants in America".  I find that surprising since no one I know has had a particularly remarkable dinner there. 

I'd be curious to hear what you all think...is Canlis really one of the best restaurants in America?

We've eaten at four of the so called top 50 over the country, including Canlis twice while visiting over in Seattle several times in the last four years. I think it is the league with the others named (Grammercy, DaMarcos, Le Reve). Service was consistant and the food lovely.

Cooking is chemistry, baking is alchemy.

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Sorry to hear that Kiliki. But, congratulations on your wedding & lovely honeymoon! We went to Paris for our 1st Anniversary and loved going to all the pastry shops. The few times that I went to Canlis was when our CEO picked up the tab or we were entertaining Japanese clients. We ordered rice and tsukemono with everything and they were very accomodating. This was before the remodel and I thought the food was great back then.

-Moose

We had a good time at Canlis, and I'm glad we went, but I'm in no hurry to go back. The service and view were fabulous, of course. We had the tasting menu with wine pairings, and while it was certainly good, nothing was particularly delicious. There was a crab salad, Australian lobster in veal sauce (that didn't really work for me), beef tenderloin, and a puff pastry-plum dessert (eh). We spent the next couple weeks on our honeymoon in Paris and Provence, and I had so many meals there that were so much more delicious (in places much less expensive) that the food at Canlis seemed less impressive as the trip went on.

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Sorry to hear that Kiliki.

Oh, don't get me wrong, it fit the occasion, and I'm not sorry at all we went. And I should have mentioned that our two guests-the small plate hater and the picky eater-LOVED it. And really it was a thank you for them for flying here and watching us sign our names at city hall. The mr. liked it a lot too come to think of it, it just isn't his new favorite place.

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