Dry Creek Kitchen, Healdsburg
you can do better within a short walk
Posted on: September 27, 2009 at 11:52AM
Our experience at DCK was uneven and at times odd.
We had the chef's tasting menu and some of the items were fantastic - we were very pleasantly surprised by the farro "risotto" and the mushroom soup amuse bouche - both were about perfect. The snapper and filet were both extremely tasty but needed to be much warmer. The snapper's consomme was bordering on cold. Which brings us to the service....at times it was attentive and efficient, and at times it was just the opposite - confused and oblivious. Three times during the dinner we had to call out to passing staff to ask that our wine be brought or our wine order taken. We tried to create our own wine pairing, and it really seemed to flummox and annoy them - not sure why it would annoy, we spent a lot more dough than if we'd done their pairing, but they sure didn't make it easy for us to enjoy the wines we wanted when we wanted them.
The service seemed really out of tune with the food delivery, like they were a few steps behind it, and yet some of the food items arrived barely warm, as I mentioned. I can't figure it out. Oh and no one asked how we'd like our filet prepared. I have to admit, I forgot to specify myself - when it was delivered, it suddenly occurred to me "uh-oh, how will this be cooked?" It was extremely rare. I don't mind my meat that way, but it's extreme enough that you'd think they would ask if people are ok with that temp. Or perhaps it wasn't intentional... There were many things that didn't feel intentional or in control, as a matter of fact. The guys delivering the food in some cases didn't know what they were delivering. We asked a question about something and the kid had no idea whatsoever. Then 10mins later, another guy stops by "because he was told we had a question" and gives us an answer that made no sense - I can't remember what the topic was, to be honest, so it obviously wasn't that important - but the encounter definitely confirmed our sense of confusion.
But the restaurant itself is quite lovely - beautiful actually - and much of the food was extremely tasty. So not a disaster by any means, but at that price, with the Charlie Palmer name and with such steep competition in the area, the service needs to be much, much, much better.