A review of Grand Cru

I’ve always felt it to be unfair to completely write off a restaurant after giving it only 1 chance.  I can see the argument I suppose.  After all, people from out of town staying in the Stoney Creek Inn may only be in town this once and wander over to have a bite.  Good restaurants don’t have bad days; they should be “on” all of the time.  Like I said, I can see the argument on both sides.   However, having worked in the business I guess I’m more sympathetic.

Unfortunately, more often than not this philosophy just means that I get burned not once but twice.  I had high hopes for Grand Cru when it opened.  Their location was prime, their atmosphere intriguing and their menu innovative.  I’ve now dined and been disappointed twice; I’ll lump both reviews into 1 giant complaint session here.

Both times I’ve gone, the dining room was basically empty, save for the table next to where I was sitting.  A whole dining room full of empty tables and they sit the only 2 couples RIGHT next to each other.  I’ll never understand that, it’s incredibly annoying.  The live music was terrible, simply put.  A 1-man band singing tired Barry Manilow and Dave Mathews songs blared at full-on volume level 11, singing his heart out not 5 feet from his 4-person audience. Amazingly, requests to turn down the volume were relayed and ignored.

The service was slow and uninspired both times.  It didn’t send the message that we were the server’s only table, it sent the message that we were their ONLY table.  They were pissed that it was empty as it was and I don’t know that I blame them.  However, it was obvious how they felt.  Everything seemed to be in slow motion, from water to wine to food.

Speaking of the food,  I mentioned earlier that when they first opened I thought their menu to be innovative and thoughtful.  After eating there twice I now see things differently.  They’ve worked hard to make the menu sound impressive but upon further review, it’s obvious that it really only sounds impressive. Take their “house signature” appetizer “Poblano pepper stuffed with a duck confit and gruyere cheese blend, tempura fried and topped with our sriracha and gruyere sauce.”  This thing is a train wreck if I’ve ever seen one.  French cheese and duck confit, a Mexican pepper and Asian chili sauce and tempura batter.  Each of the individual ingredients is a big flavor and when they’re all put together it’s a 40-car pile up.  Especially if this bastardized version of a bad chili relleno is under-cooked and soggy.  It’s one of the worst things I’ve seen on a plate.

My steak was over-cooked, the date’s chicken was somehow incredibly over-cooked and yet cold at the same time.  It tasted vaguely as I imagine chewing on rubber bands would taste and feel in my mouth.  I imagine they felt very vogue when serving steamed broccolini, except that it was over-cooked, boiled and and sitting in a large pool of its own cooking water.  Lovely.

On top of this the whole meal was incredibly overpriced.  I did my good duty, gave it 2 chances to impress and left disappointed.

3/10…it was edible.

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2 Responses to “A review of Grand Cru”

  1. wade Says:

    Your experience echoes my two experiences there to a T. Tried both lunch and dinner, and left wondering who this place survives (and expands)! Is it just a money laundering front (half joking).

  2. Scott Says:

    I have never gone and never will. The poblano sounds awesome – I may have to go just to see it for myself.

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