We widget factory workers were “blessed” this year with two holiday parties, and as usual this gave me an opportunity to check out some local hot spots I normally wouldn’t frequent.
First up was Café Bernardo/R15, the latest venture in the Paragary empire. Our luncheon was served in an upstairs room, one of the areas set up with XBOX 360s with wireless remotes. The fare was fusion, which if you have ever read this blog before you can probably guess is not one of my favorite styles.
For some reason I had ordered (weeks before) a Quesadilla, which is not an easy thing to screw up but is a difficult pitch to hit out of the park. It was boring but passable–Grilled chicken, Jack cheese, black beans, Poblano chiles, tomatillo-avocado salsa. I think I remember all of those things. Mostly I remember tortilla. The other dishes looked much better, like the pan-seared chicken and the stir fry noodles, but stir fry noodles always look good.
The main problem in the room was the XBOX 360’s complicated interface. What’s wrong with: insert game, press start. Anything beyond the NES is too complicated to put in public like that. (Although when I arrived one of the gals in the office was tooling around on Burnout: Revenge, so maybe it’s just me.) The pool room was comfy, with little alcoves for ahem, smaller gatherings. But in general, what’s with the fusion aesthetic? The bathroom had big framed photos of baseball heroes like Ted Williams, but then it had artsy non-intuitive sink fixtures. Nothing striking, just a personal peeve with modern clean lines.
And then yesterday we enjoyed lunch at The Melting Pot. Is it too much of a stretch to believe, after reading that I hate fusion cuisine, that I also hate restaurants where your first encounter with a server starts with “Have you ever been here before?” No, but I have extensive experience with dipping things in other things and with putting food in my mouth and drawing nourishment from it. Do you need to see references? Shall I leave my firstborn at the front desk?
If you think fondue is just cheese, you’re sadly mistaken. It is also other types of sauces to dip stuff into. I’ve never been to a restaurant that so flamboyantly disregards the reality of Salmonella. On of our party had the bright idea toward the end of the meat course of just dumping all the remaining ingredients into the pot of sauce and just making a stew. The dessert course contained pineapple. Should pineapple ever be dipped in steaming chocolate? Not after yesterday.
All in all, fondue and fusion cuisine and CoolDMZ do not mix. If you want to know more stuff that I’m crotchety about, give me a call and I’ll complain your ear off…
2 thoughts on “Office XMas party reviews: R15 and Melting Pot”
I’m not a big fan of the Melting Pot either. I wouldn’t mind going there for appetizers or dessert or to take hostages, but having to cook my own dinner one miniscule piece at a time and to worry about crosscontamination and then get totally bored by the process two dunks into it and have to worry about burning myself and loved ones and not being able to rip into a good loaf of garlic bread or the swiss equivalent is just a drag.
The Melting Pot is pure genius. You get your customers to pay between $80 and $90 for two people – before they order a drink – and then they cook their own food. All you do is provide about $10 worth of ingredients chopped up by a guy who barely made it out of his ROP fast food class. I only wish I had thought of it first…
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