Sunday, July 20, 2008

Restuarant Eugene - guest review

The first time I made plans to eat at Restuarant Eugene, I was so excited about it. Unfortunately, it really didn't live up to my expectations. I ordered their tasting of local vegetables, as it sounded incredibly enticing. When it arrived, however, I was a little disappointed in the incredibly beige and colorless plating. The dish was full of starches. In fact, there was a vegetable that was missing from the dish - I assumed they ran out - and they just doubled up on the mashed potatoes. At a place of Restaurant Eugene's caliber, I didn't understand why I hadn't been told that the dish wouldn't be served as described.

There were a few other shortcomings from that night that left me a little disheartened with my Restaurant Eugene experience.

After my initial visit at Restaurant Eugene, my dad went with some of his friends but did not enjoy his meal, "because the steak I ordered, which had been pre-sliced, had gristle in two of the four slices...which were plainly visible." He decided to give the restaurant another go on Friday evening and sent me his review.

"I expected greater things things this time, especially since we ran into Linton Hopkins on our short walk over from Holman & Finch, his other restaurant across the drive. He wished us good dining, and I expected the same.

Our hostess...ordered Georges Bank Sea Scallops [appetizer], which we all tasted and which were quite good.

Our entrees were...

  • Grilled Bigeye Tuna

  • Dayboat Maine Halibut

  • Sauteed Gulf Black Grouper

  • Tasting of Local Vegetables (me)
I think everyone enjoyed their meals very much...everyone but me, but that's all that counts when you're the one writing the review, right?

First of all, I wasn't blown away by the vegetables. When I eat vegetables, I want the kind I was raised on...the kind you get at Colonnade, Mary Mac's or Cracker Barrel. Spanish radish, green radicchio, grilled eggplant, pink eyed peas, summer squash, baby potatoes, pearl onions, cherry tomatoes and baby carrots, all served up together in a dish, are not my idea of local vegetables. Okay, I admit my tastes are pedestrian and were formed by my mother's...great southern cooking. When it comes to vegetables, I want them cooked - in bacon fat - within an inch of their lives. Example; green beans that haven't yelled "Calf rope!" from being cooked a couple of hours - in bacon fat - aren't worth eating. You can have your crisp green beans, that have been barely warmed over. That's not for me.

Second, I think Linton Hopkins is charging too much for what he serves. Check these prices out.
  • The tuna dish - $35
  • The halibut dish - $32
  • The grouper dish - $36
  • The vegetable dish - $24
  • The scallops appetizer - $15
I'm thinking these prices probably approach Aria's, and Aria's food definitely kicks Restaurant Eugene's ass (and most every other places' too).

There was a lot of wine consumed, and I didn't pay the tab, so I don't know what the final bill was. But, in my not-so-humble opinion, it was too much, based on the parts and their costs.

I think I would have been happier with a meal of souse and marrow at Holman & Finch across the driveway. I know I would have enjoyed a burger at Six Feet Under more. Or consider this; how about a meal at Five and Ten in Athens?

The big question is this: Will the Spruill, who has now registered two strikes at Restaurant Eugene, go back for a third strike? I don't think so!"

My dad and I differ in opinion on how we would like our vegetables prepared and I don't think it is the fault of the restaurant for his complaint there.

But, I do have to agree with the prices. As Besha Rodell once wrote in a review, "Am I the only person left in Atlanta who thinks $100 is a lot of money? Because it blows my mind how little $100 will get you at most Atlanta restaurants these days. And the fact that the diners keep coming, night after night, laying down enough money to pay a winter heating bill, is utterly astounding. Are we all really that rich? Where does it end?"

Restaurant Eugene
2277 Peachtree Road
Atlanta, GA 30309


Lady Rogue said...

I love that your dad is writing reviews! Too cute; my folks just tolerate my picture habit.

Anonymous said...

Sadly, we had a not so good experience at RE as well. Despite the fact that they never turned over the restaurant once, our server left our table empty (without even water) three times for periods of up to 20 minutes. (Our whole meal for two people took 2.5 hours.) I thought we paid way too much as well. I spent a lot of the meal watching the manager pour the chef's tasting pairings for the table next to us while never questioning our situation. H&F looked like so much fun across the way! They all had food and drinks! For $245, we won't be going back on our dime!