Thursday, December 27, 2007

where's the beef?

Steve did a ton of work around the house today that was long overdo. So instead of having Christmas leftovers for dinner I suggested that we go out to his choice of restaurant. He chose the Keg. Awesome! I love a good hunk of cow any day. So we set out for the Keg in Burlington and were greeted to the usual packed parking lot and 1 hour wait. You'd think that this was the only restaurant in town! But we were not in any rush so we decided to wait it out. We sat in the bar, enjoying a beverage and an appetizer. Although very busy, the waitress was very friendly and attentive. So far, no complaints. However, by the time we got a table, well over an hour later, our bill was already $50. You have to wonder if this is why the Keg is always so busy and the dining room is never big enough. But I digress.

So we headed to our table and were greeted by Barb, our waitress. Before I go any further I have to tell you that Barb was fantastic! Friendly, helpful, efficient & attentive. Everything you want in a good waitress. We ordered our meals and more drinks and everything arrived in good time, given the fact that the restaurant was packed. Steve ordered the sirloin and I the prime rib. Now the Keg is usually one of those chain restaurants were you always know what you are going to get. You could dine in a Keg in Vancouver, one in Regina, and another in Halifax in the same week, order the same meal and get the exact same thing every time. That's probably the main reason this restaurant chain is so successful.

Well tonight was the complete opposite. Steve's steak was smaller than their usual sirloin cut and a little too charred than the usual Chicago style. My prime rib was raw. Seriously. I have never sent back a meal in a restaurant in my life, no matter how bad it was. I took a polite bite but realized that there was no way I could eat this meal. I like my steaks medium rare. I can even handle rare beef but this was pushing it. As Barb approached our table to check on our meals, I could tell that she knew exactly what I was going to say. She had practically picked up my plate to take it back to the kitchen before I even said a word. She explained to me that they were out of prime rib so instead of giving me a new order they would just grill this piece. That was fine with me, as long as it was actually cooked. I would rather that then they waste a perfectly good piece of meat. She brought my plate back very quickly and at least the beef was edible this time, even if it was still a bit underdone for the medium rare that I ordered.

We ordered coffee and desert and ended up spending about $150 on the meal. Now I don't mind spending that much on a good meal once in a while but this was not a good meal. We waited over an hour for a table, were served poor quality food and were never offered apologies or concessions for the long wait or crappy food. The only positive part of the experience was the staff. Brianne in the bar and Barb in the dining room were excellent. Everything else about the Keg in Burlington, completely sucked.

Burlington is not a small town and it has a good number of restaurants. But for some reason, the residents of Burlington always flock to the chain restaurants, The Keg, Milestones, Jack Astors, etc. These establishments are always busy with long wait times and sub-standard food. Almost a year ago, I went out for dinner with our good friends Mia & Peter. Mia had just signed a contract for a new job and wanted to celebrate with steak. The Keg was packed as usual and we didn't feel like waiting so we headed to the Landmark Steakhouse in downtown Burlington. The restaurant was about half filled and we were seated immediately. We were treated to an excellent dinner of wine, mussels in a cream curry sauce, beautifully done steaks and amazing creme brulee. The dinner was about $15-$20 more than the Keg but the quality was leaps and bounds what I experienced tonight. So the moral of the story? The next time I'm craving steak, I'll be heading to the Landmark and not the Keg.


Pel said...

Landmark good. Keg bad.

Always horrible to have a poor meal but it's even worse when they don't do anything about it :( Hope you're next meal out is miles better than that one.

samantha said...

Shared you post with Corey as he and Steve are such big "Keggers" when they are on the road. Of course his solution is to speak with management.
The Landmark sounds like it is worth the extra $.

vivian said...

We did have a great dinner out at a local, family operated, Vietnamese/Thai restaurant a few nights later. It totally made up for the bad Keg experience.

I did submit a complaint on the website and got a message from the restaurant manager but I haven't had a chance to talk to him yet. I'll let you know how it goes when I do.