Thursday, December 24, 2009

St Pete Brassiere - St Pete, FL

**Update: Wonderful experience on a Saturday night, recently. Great food and service. Watch for my new post coming soon.....

I feel like with today's post, I need to explain again about my philosophy when it comes to writing about my dining experiences. I am not a critic or reviewer because I feel that is too presumptuous of me. I love supporting local restaurants and there are people who work really hard to build a business and they are passionate about what they do and I love the choice we have here in the bay area. It is hard work and I really have to applaud people who have chosen that line of work. In my fifty plus posts that I have done I feel that I have put forth an effort to keep my posts positive. If I really don't like a place and I don't feel that it is redeemable, I don't even write about it in my blog. That being said, today I am going to write my first negative post, if only with the hope that it might do some good.

When I first read about The Table restaurant changing their name and going with the concept of a brassiere, I was very excited. I felt this was something St Pete needed and I liked their new lower prices and their menu looked great when I checked it out online. So, on a Wednesday night, my family and I headed over to check it out. When we arrived, the place was quite busy, but after a short wait, we were seated at our table. This is where the first glitch took place. One server comes and takes our order for drinks and an appetizer. Then another server arrives later and says she will be our server. We told her we had already been helped and she goes to our first server and we observe them have a quiet two minute argument about who will be our server. Finally, the second server comes back and says she will our server and we need to give our order again, because apparently the first guy couldn't tell her what we had already ordered. Alas, we gave her our drink order, but forgot to mention the order for the onion tart that we had placed with the first server. After a wait, our server showed up again and we order our appetizer. Sorry, but the customer should not have to witness the infighting and I felt like we kind of felt the fallout all evening for the argument between the two servers.

Our onion tart arrived and this was really one redeemable menu item of the evening and it was quite delicious. The only thing I would have done differently is I should have paired the tart with a chardonnay or Riesling because they would have helped to cut the richness of the tart. Instead, I had ordered a Cabernet, which was good, but didn't necessarily pair with the tart. Oh well, that was my mistake.

After the onion tart, everything really seemed to go down hill. We ordered another glass of wine, which took about twenty minutes to arrive. We waited forever to get our food, which sometimes happens and if the server is good at giving me updates I am ok with that because the kitchen is really beyond the control of the servers. However, that doesn't explain why it took twenty minutes for our glass of wine. She did come and apologize once for the delay on the food, but it was really a strange reason that she gave us. She pointed to a table with a party of twelve and said that the large table was the reason everything was slow tonight. Huh? I had seen that party of twelve there for at least a half an hour before we had ever ordered our entrees. And from what I could see, it took them forever to get their orders, too.

So, we had our wine and our entrees arrived. My son ordered the brassiere burger well-done with no vegetables on it and pommes frites alongside. The burger came with vegetables, which was no big deal because we just scraped them off. However, then he took a bite and it was blood red inside. I know some people are in to rare burgers, but if you are not into them, that can be quite gross. So, we call the server over and she takes the burger back to the kitchen. After ten minutes, the same burger with the bite out of it comes back and it was cooked with ketchup and all and the unwanted vegetables back on top. Oh, and the same french fries came back with it. At this point, my son just ate it. He is young enough that as long as there wasn't blood coming out of the burger, he was happy. If it had been me, I wouldn't have ate it.

For myself, I ordered the steak of the day with pommes frites. My steak was a rib eye and it was just an okay steak. What I had been really excited to try was the pommes frites which I had read were cooked in the traditional way, wherein they are fried for a short time once, and then a second time until they are finished, which produces a nice, crisp fry. However, these fries were more similar to a pommes allumettes, or matchstick fries. And serving the fries with the steak on top of them defeated the purpose of having crisp fries.

Last of all, my husband had the vegetable risotto. Both him and I agreed it was just a so-so risotto and we both tend to prefer a creamier risotto. Also, I must say it would have been nice to see a couple of more vegetarian options on the menu. St Petersburg does have a decent number of vegetarians in there midst and it would be nice to have that reflected on the menu.

I hope that this just happened to be on of those nights, because it still felt a lot like the Table restaurant, only with a different menu. Like I said, the new pricing is great as it reflects the current economy. On paper, the menu looks great, so I would love to go back again and try it and hope that it was just an off night. This restaurant is a great concept and I would love to see it succeed in St Pete and it would be lovely to see new decor in fitting with a European feel.

St Pete Brassiere
539 Central Ave
St Petersburg, FL 33701

St. Pete Brasserie on Urbanspoon

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