gordon.dewis.ca - Random musings from Gordon


Ordering steaks in Ottawa restaurants

October 10, 2005 @ 12:34 By: gordon Category: General

Over the last couple of months, I have been to a number of restaurants that serve steaks. Each time, I have ordered a steak — sometimes a filet mignon, sometimes a New York strip, sometimes a simple steak sandwich — and I have always ordered it medium. Not well-done. Not rare. Not raw. Medium.

The first memorable occasion was a few weeks ago at a family restaurant at the big box mall in Kanata. My meal arrived and I started at one end of the steak. The end I started at was medium, but the closer to the centre I cut, the rarer it got to the point where it was bleeding. (I’m not sure, but I may have heard it moo, too.)

I brought this to the attention of the server who apologized, took it away and showed it to the manager who showed up at the table almost immediately, apologized and agreed that “something had gone wrong” and offered to remove it from the bill with no prompting at all. No problem, occasionally this sort of this happens, right?

A couple of nights ago, I went to the Kelsey’s in the South Keys big box mall with Kathy and a couple of friends from the US. I ordered a Kelsey’s Steak Sandwich which is described as “a 6 oz. flatiron steak rubbed with house spices and cracked black peppercorns. Topped with grilled red onions piled on garlic Vienna bread, brushed with ancho pepper mayonaise” , cooked to medium.

A 6 ounce steak is usually fairly foolproof. It’s not so thick that it requires that extra bit of time to cook it properly that a rounder cut such as a nice medallion of beef tenderloin.

Well, I was wrong. Our meals arrived and I cut the first piece off and, yes, it was quite rare — mooing and cowbells rare. Summoning over the server, I point this out. She takes it away and returns a few minutes later with the plate.

The first sign that this was going poorly was the fact that this was a completely different piece of meat that the first steak sandwich. Cutting into it, it was ever rarer than the first steak sandwich.

By this point, the other people around the table were about halfway through their meals. I summoned over the waitress, a task which itself took a fair bit of effort to accomplish, and asked her to ask the manager to drop by the table. NB: I did not tell her why I wanted to see the manager.

She passed by the table a couple of minutes later and said the manager would be by shortly. At this point, my friends are just about finished their meals.

A couple of more minutes pass and the manager finally shows up. Without my having told the server why I wanted to see her, she said she knew that I wanted to talk about the steak sandwich. (This leads me to think that the server knew that the second steak sandwich was not cooked properly yet she served it anyways.)

She and I discuss the situation and she offers to bring out something else to eat. By this time, I’ve been completely put off eating anything else from their kitchen. It takes about 14 minutes to prepare a steak to medium, so that’s really not an option. I point out that my friends have pretty much finished their meals and that she can simply remove it from the bill and we’ll call it an evening. One other disturbing part of this is that she was crouched down while we talked and was actually resting her chin on the edge of the table. The thought of her face at food-level quite removed any remaning appetite I might have had.

This is not the first time that I, or people I know, have experienced poor food quality like this at this particular Kelsey’s. In the past, a friend found a piece of glass in his drink and when he pointed it out to the restaurant management we were extremely unsatisfied with their response.

Needless to say, I am not going to rush back to this Kelsey’s anytime soon, nor am I going to recommend it to my friends.

Last night, I went to the Red Lobster on Merivale with Kathy, my aunt, uncle and grandfather for dinner. Not being a huge seafood fan, I opted for the turf part of the surf-and-turf menu and ordered a nice, 10 ounce steak. This time, I ordered it between medium and medium-well. Though not a fan of beef cooked past medium, I decided that this would be a better option than going through the headaches of yet another undercooked steak.

Well, I’m happy to report that the steak was cooked precisely as ordered: slightly more than medium, but not quite medium-well. And it was a very good meal, all-round!

One Response to “Ordering steaks in Ottawa restaurants”

  1. A Squid says:

    Wow, you have braved the broken-glass restaurant 🙂

    Within the last two years, I decided to try south-keys Kelsey’s again, mostly at the urging of my associate who thought that so many years of avoiding the place after the glass incident was time enough.

    This time, they wouldn’t sit us at a table (even though there were tables clearly open – the place wasn’t even busy really) and sat me and my associates at the bar. They got pissy when we wouldn’t rack up the tab with alcohol (ordered cokes), our food was slow coming. One of my associates apparently dropped his wallet, and although we returned less than 15 minutes later, the wallet was nowhere to be found. There’s no way they could remember me from the glass-in-the-drink incident so many years before I should think, so it must mean they’re just jerks at that place.

    Kelsey’s at South Keys has forever fallen off my list of restaurants to patronize. The one in Kanata is quite a bit better, however.


  1. gordon.dewis.ca (June 02, 2006 @ 08:32)