Wednesday, June 16, 2010

Good, Great, and Exceptional Restaurants IMHO in Harford County

Last night, my husband and I went to dinner at the Laurapin Grille in Havre de Grace, MD.  We have a lot of friends that have loved it so I really wanted to try it.  As we were eating, my husband and I started discussing the restaurants we love and began to rate them as if we were restaurant critics.  We decided we'd rate them based on a moderate, good, great, and exceptional scale.  Of course there's poor/bad, too.  But, we try to avoid those restaurants.

Our verdict on the Laurapin was that it was good, not great, and not exceptional.  There were a couple of reasons why.  The biggest was that it felt overpriced for the food and the ambience.  It wasn't very romantic, which was what I was hoping for on my birthday.  Our bill came to $75 for 2 dinners (and I had the deal of $20 for salad, dessert, and entree).  If our bill had come to $50, we would probably have a more favorable opinion of the restaurant.  The meat was cooked perfectly.  That was the best part of the meal.  But, mine was served with grilled bread.  And there wasn't any sauce to dip it in.  When I asked the waiter for some butter--I didn't want dry bread--he brought me 2 little pats of butter wrapped in foil.  They actually weren't even on a plate.  He just set them on the table.  When my husband's dish was $24, I would expect a little more than that.  At Panera, they come in little pats like that, but not typically at expensive restaurants.  My dessert according to the menu was supposed to be a chocolate creme brulee.  I had checked it several times when I chose which restaurant, because the dessert was a deciding factor for me.  When my dessert arrived, it was a regular creme brulee.  Unfortunately, we had ordered my husband a regular one for $6 because we thought mine was going to be chocolate.  When they arrived, I was disappointed.  I explained it to the waiter.  I wondered if he would take it off the bill.  But, instead, he told me I was wrong and that the chocolate creme brulee was not on the price fixe menu that I ordered from.

At the time, I wrote on the comment card that I was given good service.  For some reason, I gave it a 9 of 10.  But, the more that I've thought about it (which I need to stop thinking about), his service really bothered me.  I wouldn't go back to the restaurant, nor would I recommend it, simply because I don't think it's the best value or meal for the price.  If you go, you'll get a good meal made with local ingredients, but it will be expensive.

Basically, it's a good restaurant.  It has the potentional to be great and maybe even exceptional, but at this point it is a good restaurant.  If the salad had been included in the price of my husband's dish and if they had taken the dessert off our bill and not told me I was wrong and if they had served the butter in dishes and if they had cloth napkins instead of paper...  I think these changes would have been nice.  At such an expensive price for a meal, my expectations are higher than what we experienced last night.

I hope this entry doesn't sound too critical.  My next entry is going to be the other restaurants we discussed and what we love about them. =)   We love food a lot and when we go out to eat, I know that we do hope to enjoy very good food!

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