Sharon Wise Eng 110-001 July 20, 2003 Essay #4 Evaluating Lonestar: Not Just Another Steakhouse Lonestar is considered a steakhouse, which is probably why I had never been to this particular restaurant. I generally do not patronize this type of restaurant because I do not care for steak. Usually this type of restaurant, limits their options on the menu for those who do not care for steak. I generally will choose a restaurant with a more diverse menu selection such as Diamond River, Real Seafood Company, or Sam B’s. But to my surprise Lonestar is not just another steakhouse. When dining out the most significant thing I consider is the service.
If I dine at a restaurant and the service was impeccable I am apt to revisit that establishment. Upon evaluating an establishment, the cleanliness and the concern for detail are involved in my decision about dining at a restaurant. The menu selection, the quality of the food and presentation is what I consider to be third on my mental list of things I reflect on when choosing a restaurant. Next is the atmosphere or the environment. Do I feel comfortable in the setting or do I feel the need to eat and leave right away? And lastly is the cost or value of the service and product I received; if the overall meal and service was wonderful I do not mind paying for an indulging night at dinner. The service at Lonestar was adequate but not impressive by any means.
Upon arriving at the restaurant the host was particularly polite and gracious with accommodating our seating request. My guest and I chose the smoking section and when the host seated us we requested something a bit more private and he was very gracious about arranging the request for us. We were seated in a comfortable, cozy corner for two and the host was courteous enough to remove the extra chairs from the table. Our server’s name was Jen.
Tomodachi operates in the central business district with over 10 competitors around the vicinity. However, Tomodachi has been able to remain relatively competitive and active by maintaining its differential advantage as the only modern Japanese restaurant with a world class sushi train as well as an a la carte menu to cater for a full Japanese dining experience. Our service report analyzes ...
She was polite but I feel she could have been more gracious. Because she seemed to rush us throughout the meal as if she was near the end of her shift and wanted to leave. She greeted us with a smile and was professionally dressed and neat in appearance, we ordered our drinks and she asked right away if we were ready to order. My guest and I both said we needed a minute to decide. She returned with our drinks and again asked if we were ready to order yet. Neither I nor my guest was ready to order so we stated we needed a few more minutes.
She again returned after a few minutes and asked again if we were ready. We chose to order an appetizer and I then ordered a mixed drink. We also ordered our meal at this time. Jen returned with our appetizer and then hastily brought our salads, which I believe was a tad hurried between items. Jen then brought our meals and at this time my guest reminded her that she had forgotten my drink. She apologized and proceeded to get my drink.
She did offer to replenish our soft drinks and rolls when emptied and cleared our plates accordingly. Upon finishing our meals we had to ask for a dessert menu instead of being offered one. Granted it was 9: 30 pm which is getting close to closing time of 10 pm but we were still enjoying our meal and wanted to finish the evening with something sweet. Upon being served our desert our bill was placed on the table and she stated she would take it when we were ready. I waited a short time placed the amount in with the bill and informed her to keep the change; she stated thank you and left our table. In all, the service for the night was adequate but not memorable.
I prefer to dine at an establishment in which the server goes out of his / her way to give the guest the impression of being their exclusive client. Granted the host did an exceptional job and the manager did stop by our table to see how our evening and meal was going which I did appreciate, but our server did not do the restaurant justice for first impressions. The appearance of Lonestar was fresh, attractive and aromatic with scents of lingering barbeque basting on an open fire. Accordingly, the d’ecor of the restaurant was rustic, complete from a steer head hung on the wall to natural wood flooring that made the unique sound of cowboy boots walking into an old time saloon. Adding to the rustic theme was the dim lighting that placed a subtle yellow glow about the room reflecting from the mirror hung behind the bar. In addition a soft sound of country music played in the background.
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Unfortunately, the music did become interrupted for a few minutes leaving an awkward silence in the room. The array of seating arrangements varied from a casual booth to bar seating, to wooden table and chairs allowing for everyone’s preference. Keeping with the rustic theme, the tables were earthy with a natural finish. And the accommodations placed on the table met with the same rustic d’ecor of the restaurant from the numerous spices and sauces to the antique white linen napkins.
As a result, the overall appearance of the restaurant was pleasing to both for the sight and smell of the customer, with impeccable detail and cleanliness to the environment. Thus, while enjoying the rustic atmosphere we begin to wet our appetites. Regrettably there were some disappointments; in the same way there were various pleasant matters also. The first dish to be served was our appetizer of potato skins baked with two kinds of cheese and toppled with bacon pieces garnished with sour cream and chives.
I found this to be an ordinary menu item found on most menus in various restaurants. So why did I order this? It happens to be one of my favorite appetizers. If by chance its not done correctly I am usually very disappointed. But in this instance I was relatively satisfied with the result. The potato skins were baked to a delightful golden brown with crispness on the edge and tenderness throughout the middle, the different cheese flavors blended nicely with a mellow flavor not deterring from the richness of the potato. There was an adequate amount of both bacon and sour cream for all the potato skins.
Place rice in large bowl, fill with cold water and stir with hand. Drain; repeat process 2-3 times until water is almost clear. Drain rice in a strainer or colander for 15 minutes or longer, if possible. Meanwhile, prepare sushi vinegar: Combine vinegar, sugar and salt and stir until sugar dissolves. Set aside until required. Sushi tips and general info on page 14 of 'Japanese' cook book. To cook ...
In the meantime while enjoying our appetizers our salads arrived. Consequently, this is one of the disappointments; the salad was to a certain extent ordinary. The lettuce was merely iceberg lettuce and the dressing was placed directly on top causing the dressing to become watered down. Then small portions of cheese, croutons, and tomatoes were piled on top of the lettuce giving the appearance that there was not dressing to begin with.
On a whole, this item could greatly be improved by simply adding additional types of lettuce, not dicing the tomatoes and placing the dressing on the side. Even more important, is that this would give a more gratifying, upscale presentation to the customer. The dinner rolls arrived with our salads which they should. The rolls were golden brown, warm and tender. Meanwhile, the main course arrived.
It consisted of a delicate bourbon glazed salmon with spicy Texas rice. Although, the salmon was incredibly delicious, the rice left something to be desire. The bourbon glazed salmon was presented with a sweet caramel glaze smothered over a grilled salmon filet, the salmon was flakey and tender consistently throughout the filet practically melting in ones mouth. On the other hand, the spicy Texas rice fell short of its description. The spicy seemed to be left out of the rice and the appearance was moderately boring with only the color of the rice, which was to some extent dingy, white onions and several small peas added it lacked luster and presentation. Though the flavor lacked any substance it was not appalling with the salmon, just insipid.
And was lastly the final course, dessert. Upon viewing the dessert menu we chose the brownie supreme for two. However, due to my neglect I failed to ask the server if the brownie had walnuts baked into it. Consequently, there were and I am allergic to them. And upon taking my first bite I had to excuse myself from the table for a minute. Although I was not able to truly enjoy the complete dessert I was able to savor some of it.
The flavor of the brownie had a rich chocolate taste with velvet vanilla ice cream melting along the sides of the dish. Topping the piece de resistance was a layer of whipping cream, chocolate shavings and cherries to finish it off. Although I did not get to completely enjoy the dessert it was not at all lost. Though there were some disappointments with the meal the evening was enjoyable. The atmosphere of the restaurant is comfortable even though our server seemed to be rather rushed. Even with a few flaws with the meal I would consider dining at Lonestar again, although for the cost of the evening ($60.
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00 for two) seemed to some extent costly for the value, the salmon was delicious and the environment is inviting. If one would choose to dine at Lonestar I would recommend not going late in the evening and I would suggest that if ordering the salad to ask for the dressing on the side. But for a quiet night out Lonestar is a fine choice.