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Friday, October 9, 2009

Binion's Ranch Butterknife Steakhouse - Part 2

After pondering the somewhat unfortunate occurrences during our pricy dinner at Binion's Ranch Butterknife Steakhouse, I sent the following email to the hotel manager:

My wife and I were guests at Binion's this past Sept. 29 through Oct. 3. I'd been awarded a $200 dinner by my company, North American Veeblefetzer, and we chose to eat at Binion's Ranch Steakhouse the evening of Thursday Oct. 1. Here are the experiences we had.

We were seated and drink orders taken.

I ordered a Gentleman Jack and an extremely generous portion (i.e. tumbler full) of whiskey arrived. So far so good!

Our waiter was Mr. Waiter. I explained that my wife is allergic to lemon and he kindly checked with the kitchen to ensure there was no lemon in the raspberry vinaigrette salad dressing.

We ordered salad and french onion soup for starters, which we both shared. The salad was excellent with a delightful mixture of blue cheese, raspberries, pine nuts, and other goodies. The french onion soup was also excellent.

Service started out as very good, but with the entrees, there was a distinct lack of attention to detail.

Our entrees arrived - we both had the crab legs and filet steak. We both ordered medium rare. We waited for some time but no steak knives arrived. So we started to eat without them. The crab was cold, and so was the steak. And it was really rare, not medium rare. It was still cool in the middle.

Nobody offered us fresh ground pepper so I got the mill and did it myself.

No, I didn't complain about the entrees at that time not wanting to ruin the atmosphere of the meal. I think if I had known how much more downhill proceedings would go I would have.

The cut of filet served was of outstanding quality. A plus. I wish it had been cooked a little more.

Halfway through eating my steak with a table knife I asked one of the staff about steak knives. He said, "We're out of them. We ran low."

No apology, and no effort made to get us proper cutlery.

One of my crab legs tasted off so I didn't finish it. We neared the end of our meal and Mr. Waiter dropped by to see how things were.

"Do you normally offer steak knives with steak?" I asked. He replied that, "We had a lot of folks all at once and there was a run on them."

No apology was given.

I ordered cheesecake for dessert and it was absolutely stunning. Delicious.

The bill came and it included a glass of wine which we hadn't ordered.

I sent the bill back with Mr. Waiter and he returned with a new one.

The second one had the same total on it. Also, it did not itemize the things ordered as the first one had.

I had to get someone to round Mr. Waiter up again and redo the bill.

The third bill came and it was itemized. It still had the glass of wine on it which we hadn't ordered.

I had Mr. Waiter fix the bill a fourth time.

Finally it came back correct. It took almost half an hour to get the correct bill.

We got up to leave and walked by two of the wait staff who were chatting just inside the dining room near the podium. I smiled at them and they said... nothing. I said, "Thanks, goodnight." to see if I was
invisible or something and they sort of grunted something at me. I recall dining at the old gourmet room at Caesars when the entire staff would stop and bid you farewell as you left, and thank you for coming, and invite you to return.

On the way out I encountered the hostess and asked her, "Do you plan to order more steak knives? We weren't given any." She just sort of looked at me.

On the basis of this experience I would not recommend Binion's Ranch Butterknife Steakhouse, and I would not return.

The next morning, I had some personal issues which I believe were from the crab. You'll have to take my word on that, since I won't offer a full description. Believe me it is to your benefit that this
information is withheld.


The next day, I happened to bump into the Executive Chef (according to the stitching on his uniform). I asked him, "Are you the guy in charge of ordering steak knives?"

"I'm not sure what you mean," he replied.

"Last night I had to eat my steak with a butter knife because there weren't enough steak knives to go around."

I think he was shocked. His jaw literally dropped.

"You're not serious!"

"I am. I'm in room 1105 if you wish to discuss it."

We got off at the 11th floor. Sadly, I did not receive a follow up call from him. I would have enjoyed explaining what happened.

My conclusions:

The steak house is overpriced. The ingredients generally are excellent. The crab... not up to par. The wait staff was almost insultingly lackadaisical. I get the impression they've stopped caring
and take things for granted.

And for, if you'll allow me, for goodness steak, when you charge $40 for a top cut of beef, or $68 for surf and turf, you should have enough cutlery on hand to satisfy the patrons needs.

I would be interested in hearing your feedback.

Best regards,

Royal Flusher

I forgot to mention in the letter that the garlic mashed taters were so salty as to be inedible, unless you wanted your mouth to sphincter up.

We shall see if Binion's responds or not.

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