Monday, August 25, 2014

Where is the Love?: Talisker on Main


I'm Leaving on a Jet Plane

Talisker on Main, we need to talk.

Last year's fling was great, but this year it's like I don't even know you. What happened? Where is that restaurant with the fabulous service, fine cocktails, and well-crafted food filled with locally-sourced ingredients? Where is the restaurant that wowed me?

When we parted I was a zealot for you. I was in love. After one meal I'd put you among my favorites. This year I was presented, as an amuse-bouche, a bowl of unhusked tomatillos that my server called tomatoes. Repeatedly. Same family, dude, different genus. Am I lucky that he knew the difference between duck and chicken? Maybe, but the thing about your "full disclosure" kitchen, Talisker, is that I could see the pre-cooked duck breasts sitting alongside your $34 fried chicken breasts on a shelf. You'd cooked them ahead of time, fine, but at $30+ for an entree you could have cooked and seasoned the breasts evenly. The ends of the breasts were dry and flavorless, and, frankly, the rest of the plate wasn't "wowzers".


Don't Know When I'll Be Back Again
I also have to point out the lone salad on the menu. It's bad enough that the $12 "local greens" was just a pile from your rooftop garden tossed into a bowl on a pinch of dried cranberries and then topped with shreds of unimpressive Gouda cheese. What's worse is that I wasn't even served the Gouda. I was served lettuce in a bowl because my lovely date had informed the server that she was vegan and so he had assumed that the guy who'd ordered duck breast must be vegan too. Seriously? Don't get me wrong, I've forgiven far worse service blunders, and I get it if you were busy, but, being parents, my lovely date and I eat early and the place was half empty. Neither your kitchen or wait staff were moving beyond a snail's pace. I ask again, Talisker, where is the love?

To be fair, before we'd arrived I'd spoken to some locals who'd been up in you the previous week and were still impressed. The experience they'd described certainly mirrored my own from the previous year. In fact, I'm looking at your menu for the current week online and it looks quite like what I'd come to expect from you. Did I show up for "who cares, I'm hungover" week? Where was that pride you claim for your "passion for food"? Did it take the week off?

Consistency matters, Talisker, especially at your price point. In the end the cost of what passed, barely, as our meal and the 20% tip (because that's how we roll) felt like a rip-off. I'm sorry, but we won't be back and we won't be recommending you to anyone anymore.


Oh, Something Something Something!