Saturday, May 1, 2010

Restaurant Review: Water's Edge Restaurant

Water's Edge Restaurant
1750 State Park Road #2
Oregon, OH 43618
(419) 836-1466

Main Lady and I dined at the Water's Edge Restaurant, which is a part of the Maumee Bay State Park in Oregon, Ohio.  The place has an excellent view of Lake Erie, fine landscaping and an adjoining lodge.  So, if you've had one too many (or not, as the case may be) you can get a room with a view.  The atmosphere is casual, which I consider to be a major mistake as it encourages friends and families from the local trailer park to get all dressed up in their best crotch dragging cut off jeans and ball caps before going out to eat high on the hog.

We were greeted promptly by the hostess and given a table with a nice view.  The waitress was pleasant and took our drink order immediately.  I ordered a dry martini up with Bombay Sapphire gin and Main Lady had  blush wine.  The drinks were slow in coming, which should have triggered a warning signal but didn't.  The wine was excellent, but the martini had a vague watery taste to it and wasn't cold enough.  I suppose at this point I was trying to give the staff the benefit of the doubt.  The drinks were slow, but not that slow; the martini was a little watery, but not that watery.

The waitress ceased to make her presence known.  She vanished without a trace and refused to reappear.  Since the hostess was available I caught her eye and asked her to summon our waitress, which she did do, and I note that the hostess was not only available but alert and responsive to our needs, as were several other servers.  During our time at the restaurant I resorted to this method four times.  Our waitress either ignored us or was no where to be found.  I couldn't even get another drink because the waitress was absent.  I should have left, but I was determined that poor service was not going to ruin our evening.  Besides, Main Lady seemed content.

I summoned our waitress via the usual method - asking the hostess - and we ordered.  I elected to get the Chicken Carbonara at $15.95, described as Grilled chicken breast, sun-dried tomatoes and mushrooms tossed with penne pasta and a pancetta cream sauce.  Main Lady chose the Asiago Crusted Chicken at $14.95, described as Tender chicken breast coated with asiago cheese and bread crumbs and pan fried until golden brown. Served over a bed of penne tossed with a tomato cream sauce and a choice of one side.  Dinner was late in arriving, so I again summoned our waitress through proper channels and explained that we were ready to eat our dinner now.  The waitress vanished, and reappeared shortly thereafter with the manager and our dinners.

The manager is a young man in his twenties and struck me as being somewhat clueless.  Being hungry, I ignored him in favor of surrounding a few calories.  I should have asked him why we weren't being provided with decent service, but again I was asleep at the switch.

Main Lady's dinner was excellent, and looked it.  Her chicken was cooked perfectly and the sauce was well above average fare.  My Chicken Carbonara was good, and had several of my favorite foods in it; sun dried tomatoes, mushrooms, cream sauce and pasta.  About a third of the way through my meal I realized there was something wrong, but it took me a minute to identify just what the problem was.  As delicately as I was able, I removed a substance from my mouth and deposited it on the side of my plate.

There is raw chicken in my dish.

I stopped eating and sat in stupefaction for a minute, looking at my dinner carefully.  No mistake.  Raw chicken is raw chicken and nothing else.  Color, texture and flavor (and trust me, if you don't know what raw chicken tastes like, you don't want to know) all indicated raw chicken.

I took a firm grasp on my temper and managed to wrestle the little bastard to the floor and pin him, twisting his arm until he yowled for mercy.  I then choked him out.  Serves him right.  I looked over at Main Lady and explained what was wrong.

"The chicken is undercooked."  I said calmly.

"Oh no!"  Main Lady is upset.

"Yeah.  I hope I'm not going to get sick."

"Mine is delicious."  Main Lady is probably trying to put a good light on this situation.  My temper, who was just playing possum, jumps to its feet.

"So this is what, my fuckin' imagination?  My chicken is really cooked, I just don't know what the fuck I'm talking about?"  I'm a little hot.  I'm likely to get food poisoning and she's in denial.

"No, I didn't mean anything like that.  I just meant that if you wanted some of mine, I'd share with you."  Main Lady looks apologetic, concerned and somewhat holier than thou, which mollifies me but which also doesn't help.  I fight with my temper and get hold of it.

"Thank you, my dear.  I think I'll send it back and maybe get a bowl of soup or something."  I summon our waitress, again using the jungle telegraph.  Why fight it?

"There is raw chicken in my dish - " I start to explain, and the waitress doesn't let me get any further.

"Oh no!"  (I'm not kidding, that's what she said.  I'm guessing it's a woman thing and I wouldn't understand.) The waitress snatches my plate faster than a crack head after a loose rock and sprints for the kitchen.  I sit back and wait.

Pretty soon out waitress comes back to tell us the manager will be right with us.  I wait some more and the manager shows up.  The manager begins by asking if there is a problem, which is another warning signal ignored.  He knows there's a problem or he wouldn't be here.  I explain that there is raw chicken in my dish.  The manager goes into denial, then tries passive aggression, then returns to denial.  The manager claims that he, personally, tests each piece of chicken for temperature before it's served.  When I ask him how raw chicken appeared in my food, he admits he hasn't a clue.  The manager assures me that the cost of my dinner will be removed from my check, which is the bare minimum of what he should be doing.  In truth, if the manager took a meat cleaver to the chef (who may be terminally ill anyway) then offered us a $100 gift certificate and offered to take responsibility for this mistake, I'd give him another chance.  If I didn't get sick and die, that is.

We paid up and left the restaurant with me still hoping I wasn't going to get sick.  We took a turn around the resort to admire the view, which as I said before is excellent.

On a scale of zero to 10, I rate the service at the Water's Edge Restaurant as a solid zero with the caveat that your mileage may vary.  Other people were not having the problem with service that I was having, so I think my waitress may have been under the influence of a controlled substance or is mentally challenged, or something.

I rate the ambiance of the place as a 5, and if they instituted a dress code which would keep the riff raff out the ambiance could be an 8 or 9.  The place has a scenic view and the restaurant is built to take advantage of that, with large windows and plenty of tables next to the windows.

Again on a scale of zero to 10, I rate the food as a -3 (negative 3).  Main Lady's dinner was very good, so I feel justified in moving my rating up from a -10, which is where it would be otherwise.

In summary:
  • Ambiance: 5
  • Service: 0
  • Food: -3
Overall rating: Zero.

Having no desire to play russian roulette with a demented chef, a waitress who is out to lunch and an obstructive restaurant manager, I'm not likely to return.  If anyone reading this review decides to patronize this place, make sure your affairs are in order and that your health insurance is current and detailed.


Tracy said...

I love ambiance, but an ambiance of five does not make it worth the risk, or the drive. Thanks for taking one for the team.

Unknown said...

So, hopefully you did not get sick?

Unknown said...

Jacko, never let the evidence (in this case the undercooked piece of chicken) escape. When the waitress whisked away your plate, she did so to terminate the offending morsel.

Mad Jack said...

Yeah, I lived through it and have not fallen victim to some weird disease involving my digestive tract and a massive infection that penicillin won't touch. Should anyone be curious, raw chicken (when eaten) is identified primarily by texture; it's a cross between okra and over-used bubblegum. It's fairly tasteless and has a translucent color.

You're right about the evidence, McCaskey. I was slow the entire night, and it caught up with me. I suppose I'll write to the Health Department for all the good it will do me. Still, something is better than nothing, and if the Dept. of Health receives more complaints about raw chicken they'll be likely to investigate.

Unknown said...

I haven't had a great meal there yet. I live a few miles away and sometimes we go for the ambiance. But your writing is horrible even though it's accurate.