Last week, Steve Dolinsky published a series of tweets noting his disappointment following his meal at Charlie Trotter's. Today, the Hungry Hound posts a lengthy review of the dinner, in which he goes into great detail as to why he won't ever dine at the once-groundbreaking restaurant again.
A publisher friend from Toronto was coming to Chicago and invited Dolinsky to join him at Trotter's. He said he was initially hesitant, but following Phil Vettel's recent four-star review in the Tribune, he decided to give it another shot. Three courses into his tasting menu, both he and his pal were feeling left wanting more. A lot more. "It’s just not as spectacular as I thought it was going to be,” he wrote. “Everything seems muted, restrained..."
Dolinsky was surprised that the restaurant didn't send out an amuse bouche or even a little bubbly to celebrate the recent four-star praise. He highlighted the amazing chefs who have graduated from Trotter's (Bill Kim, Giuseppe Tentori, Grant Achatz, Michael Carlson, Curtis Duffy) and how many of them have gone on to surpass their one-time mentor.
Dolinsky felt the room lacked energy, save the "din of Asian businessmen chuckling over their trophy wines," and was surprised the restaurant still only offers expensive bottled water. And despite the restaurant's claiming it change the dishes on a nightly basis, Dolinsky was most disappointed in the chef's "utter lack of complexity" in the platings.
In the end, after recognizing that no one on staff, especially his server, asked how the food was, Dolinsky wrote, "'I trust dinner was a success?' the man behind the bar quipped on my way out the door; I assured him it was not." With that, he invited his friend to head to avec, where they happily devoured the signature bacon-wrapped medjool dates.
· Why I Won't Go Back to Charlie Trotter's Again [SteveDolinsky.com]
· Vettel Gives Trotter's 4 Stars, Bruno Digs Barn & Co [~EChi~]
[Photo: Charlie Trotter's]