Sunday, January 27, 2008

Waitress Makeover?

Six Steps Restaurant- 53-55 Colborne Street

Okay, so it was Day 1 of Winterlicious 2008, and our reservations were for 6 at Six Steps Restaurant...None of us had been there before and had heard that it was on Restaurant Makeover (is that a good sign or bad?), so we decided to give it a shot. It was quite the experience. Let's just say this blog was supposed to start a while ago, and this place made me actually do it now.

This is a great space for a restaurant/lounge/bar. High ceilings, brick walls, big open space. Nice large windows and in a good area...Has a New York-ish feel to it. Yet I am still wondering why the tables are minners and our waitress kept bumping into us trying to get to the table behind us. Nice touch- large mirror over the open kitchen, to watch the chefs plating...too bad their plating was so blah there was nothing to see here. Walls were painted poorly and tables were full of unnecessary cutlery- which the waitress kept coming back to remove and replace. Why not wait till we order to give us the cutlery we need? I dunno.

We did get a great table though...right by the door:
- a nice view of all the people coming in and out
- a nice draft that came with the people coming in and out
- first dibs on coat check- bonus

In a nutshell- sucked. Our waitress had some serious attitude...
1) After ordering our second bottle of wine, she didn't show it to us and began to peel the foil- but by the time she came back we wanted a different bottle. She told us that she had already opened it and couldn't switch it now even though it was barely peeled and was her fault. After some continuous pleading she agreed to switch it up. Strike One.

2) One of our members tried to order the Chicken Saltimbocca (chicken wrapped in ham) sans pork- not happening. Apparently dietary restrictions, allergies and personal preferences are not on the menu at Six Steps. The waitress told us that they could not make it without the ham, and they could not take the ham off it even after it was cooked. So basically they didn't give a shit about us and that's the way it was going to be. So he had to order off the regular menu. When he asked her why she was giving him attitude, she became so astute and defensive that it came off rather rude. Strike Two.

3) After ordering the Shrimp Bisque, I found a piece of plastic in my mouth. Charming. Our friendly waitress was so quick to proclaim "it's just from the shell of the shrimp" like it happens all the time. Not to be a prude, but I'm a freaking chef, and I know what a shrimp shell looks, feels and tastes like. This was a sharp shard that easily could have cut my insides if I would have swallowed it. When the mid-aged Rico Suave Manager came he quickly dismissed the incident as if the waitress had 'warned' him that we were bad customers. He reassured that "oh, its just a piece from our containers that we keep our soup and stocks in". Like that makes it any better. So I get my $25 meal comped...big deal. This place really seems not to care much about their customers, or maybe they have better, non-ethnic, well paying customers that they give their good service to. Strike Three.

- Nice balsamic/ olive oil dipper...too bad the Costco rolls were stale and hard as if they were frozen and then quickly defrosted- we're on to you...we know all the tricks
- Watermelon salad w/ feta and mint- although it was just chunks of watermelon and feta, was probably the best thing on their menu
- Shrimp Bisque- aside from the foreign object, flavours were there. A little too acidic to my liking, but still good.

- Chicken was still dry, even wrapped in the prosciutto. Fine, we know chicken breast is always dry...but then give us some damn sauce!
- Salmon was pretty good, although served skin side up for some reason....still not too sure why.
- Ricotta and spinach stuffed Crepe with Cheese sauce- again, flavours were there. The waitress did warn me that it was really cheesy...I should have listened. Not only was it over cheesy, it was like a cheesy time explosion on my plate. Way too much ricotta, not enough spinach for a thin crepe. The concept was good though, I'll give them that. But it was sooo cheesy that the crepe disintegrated. Not too mention it was doused in another cheese sauce that had a nice taste, but was chalky, like they didn't let all the flour dissolve in the roux, or they just used powdered cheese. Either way it was just okay.

- Steak- Surprisingly tender for $34 striploin, but I think we just got lucky. Fries were the best part

- Chocolate Semi-freddo- moussey/ice creamish dessert...with a boring berry compote...good flavour in the semi-freddo, yet the plate looked so boring, you just didn't want to eat it. Not to mention one of us got a kids' size portion (meaning half of what everyone else got). I got 6 mint leaves on the watermelon salad, you couldn't give us one to garnish the dessert? Come on chefs, basic principles here.

We were not impressed. Winterlicious came about after the business-killing of SARS...It's supposed to help bring people through your doors. It's supposed to promote your restaurant by offering an inexpensive yet creative menu for people who want to eat out yet not pay an arm and a leg. All in all as soon as those people (us) walk in your door, you need to do everything in your power to get us to come back. Not seem like you don't need us.

Ratings (Out of 5):
Service- 1 / 5 Waitress was a bitch, owner didn't give a shit (too busy macking some cougars)
Decor/ Ambiance- 3 / 5 Some weird DOT theme going on...some like it, others Meh
Food- 2 / 5 Nothing really 'Wow'd' us...everything seemed like it was pre-prepared, defrosted and re-heated. Presentation was lacking
Price- 2 / 5 Minus my $25 comp, 4 winterlicious menus, one steak w/ no apps or dessert, 2 bottles of wine- $263

Overall Rating- 1 STAR out of 5

Sorry if we sound like snobs, but this place is bush. I won't eat here again. I can sacrifice service for great food, and vice versa. But this one had neither.
Ironically enough, the next day the episode of Restaurant Makeover was on the Food Channel in which they converted this restaurant Spinello into Six Steps. The two owners paid more money to be allowed to oversee the whole operation, and basically call the shots. By the end the designer and Igor had had it with these two sonts. I'm not surprised why this place is garbage.
Massimo was so taken by the head Chef's meals that he didn't have anything to improve. The food looked amazing. That chef is obviously not there anymore.

This place is one of those "we look good from the outside and pretend to have a high class menu with fancy words but really we have no idea what we're doing" places.

Strike Four, you're out.


Navin Vaswani (@eyebleaf) said...

it's time to send Six Steps down to the minors...

Navin Vaswani (@eyebleaf) said...

this is a beauty of a blog idea...i'm feelin it, alz...

don't forget to add CARLOS AND PEPE'S to the 5th Star approved Mexican restaurants. that place is the illest...where they know you don't speak french when all you say is "bonjour!"

Pree said...

this is such a great idea alz...i just attended a restaurant club in edmonton on friday and was thinking we should create one in the!

Culinarian said...

restaurant club? thats a great idea. we actually have kinda done that with this blog, as it is always a collective and mutual impression that we take in before i write this blog.