Last night, Tina and I met up with five other friends to eat at Grass Fed, in the Bucktown neighborhood of Chicago.
We made our reservations over a month ago, as this is a group that we try to meet up with as frequently as possible to try out new restaurants and enjoy a few hours together.
From the way it was described to me, I thought the menu was prix fixe, but it turned out traditional, a la carte dining. Even the web site says it’s fixed price, but I must confused.
I mean, sure the menu is limited, like a table d’hôte might be. But if the meal is broken down into entree $25, $19 or $22, appetizers $6 to $8, sides $6 to $7, and desserts at $6, there ceases to be a fixed price now doesn’t there?
Just because a steak comes with frites and a salad, hardly makes it qualify. Yes, there’s only one cut of steak to choose from.
But then I would call it, choix fixe, not prix fixe.
Maybe one of you can straighten me out on my erred thinking.
The only thing that made the dinner feel like a prix fixe was how long it took to serve us. The time it takes to serve a Parisian dinner, we waited for our first drinks.
While our server was incredibly friendly, she was very inattentive. We waited a long time for a bottle of wine, and when my friend Miles and I ordered a cocktail, we waited 15 minutes to make the order.
When our waitress took the order, she said she’d be right back, but then went into the specials descriptions and other info, delaying our drink orders more.
I mean, you can’t toast to your friends if someone doesn’t have their drinks yet.
Between arrival and a sip of a first drink, 25 to 30 minutes passed.
The drink was good. It was a buffalo flavored bourbon.
Between our first drink and an offer to order appetizers, there passed another 20 to 25 minutes.
When our waitress asked, one of our party complained that since it took so long to get drinks, we’d order both entrées and appetizers and let them come out as they may.
Between ordering and delivery of any food, another 50 to 60 minutes passed, which equalled one and a half cocktails on an empty stomach.
That, dear reader and food connaisseurs, is not good.
Before we were served dinner, one member of our party looked around the room and noted, “There isn’t one person in this room who has food in front of them.”
One good thing about the restaurant is there is parking in the rear. The neighborhood is bustling and crowded, so that option is great.
Almost everyone ordered the steak dinner, except one person, who ordered chicken. And while everyone was served their entrées except the chicken, I think another 7 to 10 minutes passed before he was served and we all started eating.
The wait rendered my steak and frites cold. And I was the last person to receive my steak. The first person waited much longer to eat.
As for taste, the sirloin — while cooled considerably — was okay. Tina noticed that there was a green sauce on one bite I took, and she said, “I didn’t get that sauce.” I said it’s under your steak. Once she found it, she said, “Hmm, I wish I didn’t find that sauce.”
I thought for a second and said, “Yeah, me too.”
I’m not a dessert guy, but Tina said the dessert was hardly worth it.
But, we did get a round of shots to apologize for the wait. I’m not sure that was a sincere enough apology. Over half of the table didn’t drink theirs.
What did they think? They could get us to forget the service for a shot?
With the holidays coming and so many opportunities to get together with friends at local restaurants, I don’t recommend Grass Fed.
But if you’re looking for an experience that seems like it would be fun, go to Grass Fed. Don’t show up hungry. You might be waiting awhile.