Wednesday, January 20, 2016

The Cadillac Grille is a House of Lies

Part of my day job is letting salesfolks pretend to like me. There are a select few that can pull it off (and some I even consider friends), but for the most part, I think there's a mutual understanding of obligation. I'm sure these dudes actually hate me because I actually hate me. One the easiest ways to pretend to like me (or anyone, really) is sporting events. There's food, booze, and root-root-rooting for the home team. And since it's loud and you need to keep one eye on the action so you can cheer when everybody else does, you only kinda sorta need to pay attention to whatever products or services are being offered underneath that layer of cheese on your free nachos.

Last night was one of these sales calls, and we dined at the Cadillac Grille before the game. There were numerous indicators that this place would be shit: it's in the stadium; it's sponsored by Cadillac; the bartender flat out ignored me when I tried to get a drink; but I'm not one to look a gift horse in the mouth (what an odd, yet beautiful expression), and I couldn't really pull the plug on it since we were already in the stadium. Plus, I checked out the menu beforehand and it actually looked good.

My first instinct was to get the lamb shank, but the place had this whole steakhouse vibe going and the dude I was with ordered a filet so then I changed my mind and got the 30-day dry-aged bone-in ribeye for $55. I have no problem paying (or letting someone else pay) that much for a steak, so long as it shows up as advertised. Unfortunately, what I got was neither ribeye nor bone-in (I'd bet $55 it was a sirloin), nor did it possess any of the opulent qualities I would expect in a $55 steak. The dude who dropped it off must have seen the disappointment on my face, quickly commenting, "Yeah, these ones showed up without a bone this time." Huh? Typically, when a menu says "bone-in," the goddamn thing shows up with a bone, right? Although Serious Eats has debunked the myth that bones don't actually add flavor, how much more badass does your steak look when it's on the bone? That's really what I'm going for when I order a bone-in ribeye. I'm a motherfucking captain of industry and I have conquered the cow! But nope, not this time. It was cooked to temperature, so it had that going for it, but it was underseasoned and was thinner than something you'd get at Sizzler. The sides were another example of mismanaged expectations. The asparagus was as thin and limp as overcooked vermicelli, and the poor maitake mushrooms were cooked into a rubbery stringy pile of "those are mushrooms?"

It's not that the place is bad. The service was great (except for that bartender. He was a dick), as was the atmosphere (it's a fancy restaurant that overlooks the ice/court/stage). It's just way overpriced. Then again, when I'm with the gen pop, I pay $8 for a shitty beer and another $10 for some bullshit chicken fingers, so I suppose I just need to manage my expectations a little better. If you happen to find yourself there, I'd probably steer clear of the steak, however. Buen provecho.

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