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“Disappointing...”
Review of Laurel Room Restaurant - CLOSED

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Laurel Room Restaurant
Dining options: Reservations
Restaurant details
Dining options: Reservations
Reviewed 7 August 2013

I should have trusted my gut and chosen another restaurant when I looked over the menu JohnnyO brought up to our room at the Green Park Inn. But I liked the idea of having a nice dinner with wine and not worrying about driving so we stayed in and dined at the Laurel Room.

First of all, the dining room you first pass when you walk through the lobby is not the same one you dine in at the Laurel Room. The dining room to the right, when you enter the lobby is what I expected to dine in at a "Grand Dame" hotel. The Laurel Room has been remodeled but it doesn't fit with the rest of the hotel. There are contemporary touches that simply throw the whole vibe off. For such a beautiful hotel, there should have been white table cloths and table settings; not placemats and silverware rolled in napkins like you'd find in a chain eatery. I understand the owners are attempting to make the hotel approachable to everyone but that is done with graciousness and good service. The service was just ok, definitely not "Grand Dame" worthy. By the way: The working man enjoys class and excellent service just as much as the wealthier patrons.

Second, I was shocked to find out after dinner that the chef of The Laurel Room Restaurant is a James Beard Nominee. Seriously? I am a french trained chef turned heirloom & micro vegetable producer and found the food so appalling that I finally left 2 bites into my entree. That said, I am not a food snob but definitely appreciate well prepared, thought out food. Our dinner left much to be desired.

I began with the award winning Watermelon salad. It was plated messily and the flat bread served with it was soggy. It was drenched in so much Balsamic vinegar that the mozzarella was unrecognizable and the lettuce it was bedded on was not properly prepped (it still had the brown stems attached).

Next, was the mixed greens salad. Again, messily plated and way too much balsamic. The lettuce was limp and room temperature. JohnnyO had the Shrimp Cake, which was late coming out because it "didn't turn out." When it did "turn out", it was crispy and brown on the outside and a gooey, wet mess on the inside. The arugula it was plated on was clearly limp and wilted.

On to the entrees: I had the pecan crusted rainbow trout and almondine green beans. Although the fish initially appeared to be well prepared; it was absolutely swimming in what I believe was supposed to be a tarragon-orange butter sauce but in reality, an overly sweet mess that completely overwhelmed both the fish and the pecan. The green beans had a good flavor, but were too oily.

JohnnyO had the oh, so unspectacular espresso crusted tenderloin with chocolate served with vegetable couscous instead of the gratin potatoes simply because JO doesn't do cheese. We were really excited to try this dish. Well, I would have been excited about the gratin but hey, not my dinner... We've had tenderloin prepared similarily to this once before and loved it.

The Laurel Room's Espresso Tenderloin with Chocolate? Notsomuch. It was ordered rare, was served medium rare. The espresso was overpowering instead of accentuating and there were no other flavors to balance the espresso and chocolate out, including salt. Salt would have actually been quite nice, giving it a sweet-saltiness. I read later Chef James' dish was originally prepared with a Bailey's cream sauce. That might have rounded out some of the flavors a bit but as the cream sauce was missing, there's no way to tell.

We completely skipped dessert as we figured it wasn't worth it.

Maybe it was an off night or maybe Executive Chef James is one of those Ex Chefs who doesn't actually do much face time in his kitchen anymore and is relying on poorly trained staff to turn out his dishes.

Overall, my impression before finding out the Chef's name, was that it was an amateur without any real training trying way too hard to be gourmet. Now knowing who's cooking or whose name is attached, I am flabbergasted. What happened? This should have been a foodgasm-worthy meal. This restaurant is just a few short steps from being a really great restaurant in a gorgeous hotel. Start with finding a good manager who will put forth the time and effort to train staff both in the kitchen and out. And for heaven's sake, put some table cloths on the tables! A lady should never show her ankles.

Cheers!
Mrs. JohnnyO

    • Value
    • Atmosphere
    • Service
    • Food
Thank Renee O
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviews (23)
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1 - 5 of 23 reviews

Reviewed 24 November 2012

We went here for a over priced, not that good, Thanksgiving dinner. We knew we were in trouble when we walked in the front door and it smelled like 1 week old fish. The Turkey was so over cooked it was like saw dust, how can you screw up turkey on thanksgiving? The balance of the meal was not that good as well. And back to the fish, it was terrible! This is a situation where the management thought they could stick it to you because it was a holiday $130 for two adults and a 8 year old with no drinks! If it would have been good, well Ok, but it was not. Shame on them.

Thank LovinithereinNC
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
GPIOwners, General Manager at Laurel Room Restaurant, responded to this reviewResponded 4 December 2012

We're sorry that you apparently don't enjoy fresh fish, prepared by a true gourmet chef, in fact, a James Beard nominate chef. The fish on our elaborate and extensive Thanksgiving buffet was excellent (as was our freshly roasted turkey) and was delivered by Fisherman's Catch on Wednesday. We served well over 200 dinner guests on that day and yours has been the only complaint. As to the cost, you were informed of the price of the buffet when you reserved, as well as of the automatic 20% gratuity (plus sales tax). We will always include an automatic gratuity on holidays, when our staff give up their holiday with their families so that others can enjoy the day at our restaurant with their own families. Perhaps you should have chosen a different restaurant. Golden Corral, maybe? We're pretty sure that if their buffet offers fish, that it wouldn't smell, at all, since cardboard really doesn't have a smell.

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This response is the subjective opinion of the management representative and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 17 November 2012

We just wasted our tenth anniversary on a mediocre meal, a waiter who mumbled, hostess who couldn't take the time to notice us because she was on her phone texting, a bread lady who thought that a piece of bread was enough (how cheap not a loaf of bread, but a small piece), the specials we had were not special and very I mean very small portions, while the next table over receive twice the size of meals. We called and even told them that this was our anniversary and what did we get for that....riped off. Note this is an expensive meal plan on spending over 100.00 if you don't listen to this review and go. Nothing award winning here worth trying , not even the award winning halibut which we had. We have eatin at 50% of the restaurants in BR and this one is in my bottom 2.

    • Value
    • Service
2  Thank Erik R
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
GPIOwners, General Manager at Laurel Room Restaurant, responded to this reviewResponded 4 December 2012

You are quite right about the hostess having been on her cell phone. And, she has been reprimanded. This will never happen again in our restaurant. As to the balance of your review? Dear Ma'am? "A loaf" of bread is not what is served in fine dining, anniversary or no anniversary.

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Reviewed 13 November 2012

Chef James was so nice and warm made us feel like family taking care of our every needs, likes, and dislikes. We ate things we would not have ate before. It was that good.

Thank Kimberly P
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
GPIOwners, General Manager at Laurel Room Restaurant, responded to this reviewResponded 5 December 2012

We're so glad that you enjoyed your meal, and experience! Sounds as though you must have dined at the Chef's Table, inside of his 3500 square foot kitchen, where all of the action takes place. That's a special, and unique experience, for sure. Thanks for joining us!

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Reviewed 12 November 2012

Breaktast food was excellent. Seemed like the staff was a little "under"? Waiters/waitresses were also serving as bus-boys, so many were entering with tables uncleared. This didn't happen to US, but we saw it happen to a lot of guests who entered after us. These guests were told to take a seat and that their tables would be cleared shortly, but needless to say this is very unappetizing. Suggest getting 1 or 2 dedicated bus-boys.

Thank Lincolntonretiree
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
GPIOwners, General Manager at Laurel Room Restaurant, responded to this reviewResponded 5 December 2012

Staffing is sometimes a problem, so we apologize to anyone who was not seated at a fully cleaned and set table. Seems as though, on this day, the hostess may not have been here, which is unfortunate. Generally, on busy weekends their is a breakfast hostess who will stay on top of directing staff as to when guests have left tables, and also assist in clearing, etc. We'll try to stay more on top of that aspect of our breakfast service, and thanks for bringing this to our attention.

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This response is the subjective opinion of the management representative and not of TripAdvisor LLC

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