Following the advice of columnist Marion Warhaft (column found here http://www.winnipegfreepress.com/opinion/columnists/dishes-dont-have-to-fish-for-compliments-102607599.html), we decided to sample this restaurant.
Never before in my life have I ever been more disappointed or misled about the quality of a restaurant until now. Even while reading her review, which was sprinkled with slight back handed comments about the lack of quality at times, I failed to understand how this restaurant was able to gain the high rating that it had supposedly attained. This was my experience.
We had made reservations for 6:15 pm, arriving at the restaurant a few minutes early. A single waiter stood awkwardly near us during those two minutes, yet did not ask if we needed help or attempt to seat us, even after we had approached him for seating, merely looking at us with a blank expression on his face. We were finally seated by Orlando, who had been previously busy with another table.
Orlando then continued his rounds, talking to each individual table, offering the prix fixe menu listed in your article…every table, it seemed, except ours. The one time we were approached for our menu was by his father, who reluctantly took our order and seemed unwilling to explain the specials as Orlando seemed to be doing for other tables. In the end, we ordered four of the fixed menus, with the exception of my little sister, who substituted her meal selection for the filet mignon.
And so began the waiting. We could see other tables receiving their food, and Orlando taking the time to painstakingly explain every item on their plates. We received our complimentary bread about a half hour after we were seated and our ordered appetizers from the fixed menu at around 6:50 pm. The surly looking waitress dropped the appetizers on our table and promptly left. Orlando, busy with the other tables, did not come to visit us until we were almost done with our appetizers. Then, showing none of the flair and enthusiasm that he had shown to other tables, he quickly told us what we were eating, and left.
We finished our appetizers, which were then replaced with soup about 15 minutes later. While their lobster bisque was quite delicious, it was also lukewarm at best. We continued waiting for our food to arrive, shooting glances at the semi-open kitchen where three men (presumably the cooks) stood; while one man drank beer, the other two argued and pulled orders from where they were clipped on the wire. This continued all night.
At 7:40, our main courses finally came. However, the food was far from what was described in the article. The only reason I knew what we were eating was because I overheard Orlando telling the table behind us. From what I managed to overhear, I figured out that we had received the snapper, the salmon and some other generic tasting fish. The salmon, though tasteless, was cooked to the right consistency. Not cooked well enough to bring out the flavour in the fish, but a major step up from the other slabs found on the plate. The unknown fish on the plate tasted odd, kind of like when dead raw fish is left out too long and starts to go bad. The grilled snapper, on the other hand, was grilled until it was slightly burnt, leaving a subtle charcoal taste in my mouth. The tomato rice on the plate, as stated in your article, was passable. The skinny piece of steak, on the other hand, was overcooked and over-seasoned. The only redeeming quality on this plate was the giant prawn.
What makes things worse is that my little sister, who was starving and so happy to see the food, having eaten so little and so far apart, was told that the kitchen had made a mistake on her order and the food had not been made. She waited another 10 minutes for her food and we received no apology from the kitchen or our wait staff.
Our meal finally ended and when asked if we wanted dessert, my father inquired about which desserts they carried. The waitress, however, did not seem to know their own menu and only told us that they had the Molotov but could not tell us what it was. How does one work at a restaurant without knowing what they serve, especially something that is supposedly considered their specialty? The Molotov, however, was nothing special.
In conclusion, one would assume that having a fixed menu would bolster the restaurant’s ability to produce quality food much more quickly. This is not the case with Orlando’s. Neither does the fact that the restaurant only has about 18 tables (seating approximately 40 people at most) seem to increase food output or quality service. In the end, even getting the bill took about 15 minutes, and the entire dinner itself for four people cost about $170. I will no longer be going to this restaurant ever again, and I will warn everybody I know against it, as this is not the kind of service that I would have expected from a four and half star restaurant, and certainly not from one that extorts that kind of money from its patrons.