Saturday, July 24, 2010

Prickly Pear visit as promised!

So many people know of the Prickly Pear and have still not gone.  As promised, as part of the Restaurant Week promotion, we went to do the 4 course meal.  Our reservation was for 8pm, we arrived early and were seated just a few minutes later.  Nice start.  It gave us a chance to check out the cool decor in this old church.  The leather chairs have custom logos cut out of the metal backs.  These things are really cool.  Considering what it was, they did a good job using the space and making it more welcoming than a big room with a vaulted ceiling.

Our server arrived fairly quick, answered a couple quick questions and asked if we wanted the guacamole.  Hmm?  It's not part of the promotion appetizers.  Why ask?  Well, sure enough, it's done table side and really was fun.  At $7, it was well worth it.  4 of us eating it, with a side of wonderfully made salsa, and we could see why it should be offered to everyone.

Appetizer choices of calamari steaks or a personal tostada, we did two and two.  The calamari had a nice sweet dipping sauce.  It was a few large pieces of the mid-section of the squid lightly breaded and fried with a little spice.  It was fantastic.  The little tostadas were like a poor mans nacho chip - yes chip.  One small tostada chip with "I don't care" on top.  After seeing the calamari, I thought this tostada thing was a joke.

Salads come and they are decent.  Dressings were run of the mill, nothing with a ethnic flair what-so-ever.  I expected a chipotle something, maybe a cilantro vinaigrette, anything to stand out.  Not so much.  This was the turning point in the night.

From here on, timing was a mess.  We got our bread right before the meal, not upon arrival or with the salad.  They make a prickly pear butter - nothing more than a syrup they buy added to the butter they buy.  No wow in that item.  The meals show up after a longer than expected delay, and the two ladies ordered the beef.  It's a filet with shrimp.  Neither were to the temps requested, they actually swapped meat to get something closer to what they asked for.  The two shrimp were a good size and flavor, the filet portions were not.  One was about a 3 oz, the other around 5 oz.  That's just not right at the same table.  There was not crust, no flavor or spice.  I just don't understand the lack of effort on the beef.

Us guys got less run of the mill.  I ordered the pork chop in mole sauce, with a potato side.  The other gent got the snapper (that I wanted) with a rice and special slaw.  The snapper was the best dinner item on the table.  The rice was tasty as well.  We did not see the slaw until he was almost done.  It was under the fish, in with one of the tostada chips and on the rice.  It should have been on top of the fish, or laying up next to it.  It was lost and soggy by the time it was noticed.

The pork chop was ordered medium at the waiters suggestion.  I was great with that.  The kitchen did not agree I guess - it was overcooked and not hot when it arrived.  Something went wrong on the timing of the entrees and mine suffered for sure.  This thick chop was tough, dry and the mole was only moisture in the dish.  The potatoes were better than anything else on this plate.  That's not a good thing.

Dessert took at least 15 minutes to come after our table was cleared from the meal.  No coffee offered to go with the creme brulee, mango cheesecake or tres leche cake.  The creme brulee was warm and runny.  It is intended to be cold and firm inside with the crunch of the sugar crust as a treat.  Unfortunately even it got soggy by the warm custard.  The warming actually made the custard grainy, as if the yolks were not creamed properly.

The tres leche cake lacked everything.  A tall slice on a plate falling over, with no flavor or flare of any kind.  The cheesecake was some pre-made cheesecake that was stiff and tasteless with a mango drizzle (also pre-made).  It was horrible.  I mean HORRIBLE.  I made better cheesecake in middle school.  Anyone that pays extra for dessert would be sending this one back.

I wanted to love it, and Fridays can be a tough night for a restaurant that is not sharp on all levels.  To start strong and fail midway though, that's a bummer.  A slow start with a great entree and dessert is forgivable, this was not.  They were busy when we arrived, but by the time we were finishing entrees, the place was half empty.  The entree and dessert delays were not due to volume.  Sadly, we watched people that came in later eat sooner and leave before us.

Timing is EVERYTHING in this business.  An expediter or a clock might help in this kitchen.

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1 comment:

  1. i have always had impeccable timing at the prickly pear. the servers are wonderful and friendly. the atmosphere is accentuates this family run business. The food is one of a kind.