Archive for the ‘Re-visits’ Category

Corndance Tavern

Friday, July 31st, 2015

Corndance Tavern
4725 Grape Rd
Mishawaka, IN 46545
(574) 217-7584

Good Food : 3.5/5 | Good Service : 3/5

The hubbie and I decided to take his parents here after a day spent in Mishawaka. We had first stopped here back in 2012 and decided this would be a good choice for us and his parents & to re-fresh our opinion.

One of the 4 dates that came in the Medjool date appetizer.

Disappointing is a polite way to describe our visit.

We started by ordering the Medjool date appetizer. Described as stuffed dates with smoked almond, blue cheese, an aged basalmic reduction & wrapped in Nueske bacon, they sounded great. What we got was 4 pieces of stuffed Medjool dates. Sure they were wrapped in bacon but each date was no more than 1″ in length. At $9 this was $2.25 per date – a pricey amuse bouche for our party of 4. And where was the smoked almond? was it hidden in the date, or supposed to appear as crushed almond pieces on top?

The Corndance salad we ordered had wilted lettuce pieces and was swimming in a pool of salad dressing. Yes there was balsamic in the dressing, but that was all that we tasted.

Kitchen coordination also fell flat in terms of dish presentation and composition. The roast chicken dish that my mother-in-law got (pollo rico) was described as an inca spiced rotisserie chicken, accompanied by wood roasted garlic steak fries, and a vegetable medley. What showed up was half a roasted chicken on top of 4 (we counted them – only 4!) french fries in a pool of au jus – no side veggies.

Note the lack of onions or garlic fries - just a lonely steak w/ a smear of BBQ sauce.

The flat iron steak dish listed on the specials menu sounded great Рa dry aged steak with truffle oil, saut̩ed pearl onions and wood roasted garlic steak fries . I was told I got to choose 2 side dishes, which I thought odd for a special but did not turn this opportunity down. When I got my plate, the only items present were a lonely steak topped with some julienned green onion, next to a smear of chipotle BBQ sauce. No sign of the truffle oil, onions or fries that drew me to order this dish Рjust a bare spot where these items should have been. The coleslaw and broccoli that I choose as my 2 sides also fell flat Рlarge pieces of flavorless cabbage and broccoli that still tasted raw with no salt or seasoning.

When we got the bill, we figured out what had happened – our waitress did not realize I had ordered the flatiron steak special, but assumed I was ordering the regular flatiron steak offered under their steak menu. So we weren’t charged the price of the special version – a small saving grace – but our impressions of the steak weren’t that great either.

Since Corndance touts a rotating seasonal menu, this is a big faux pas in the restaurant’s level of customer service training for their wait staff. Our waitress should have known what specials were being offered that night, and should have asked if I was ordering the regular flatiron steak or the flatiron special.

Service was also lacking – while we understand going to a restaurant on a Saturday evening on a busy road near a major shopping area can result in slow service, we had to wait a significant amount of time for our waitress to take our order. And this was before our dining area was full, and before a large party got seated next to us.

While I am all for supporting local businesses, these multiple gross oversights were inexcusable. The fact that the kitchen staff was blatantly sloppy or intentionally skimping entree components is an affront to the customer, as the menu pricing is supposed to reflect a higher level of food preparation and the locally sourced ingredients. Corndance touts a rotating seasonal menu, so our waitress should also have known what specials were being offered that night and should have confirmed if I was ordering the regular flatiron steak or the flatiron special. Not catching this tells me that the restaurant is not setting aside time to prep/educate their wait staff on what is actually being offered that day.

What made our experience worse is that the owners boast of their experience working in various Chicago restaurants before opening 4 businesses (including this one) in Indiana. I understand that Northern Indiana is not known for high-end restaurants. But that doesn’t give a restaurant an excuse to dumb down their level of service for a perceived lower clientele expectation. The local private Catholic university brings in lots of high-dollar spenders during the football season, so we do see a fair amount of educated out-of-town diners in this area. And our proximity to Chicago brings that population to our area during the tourist season.

A restaurant should never assume that diners will tolerate a lower level of customer service or food quality & presentation because of their geographical location. What matters at the end of the day – a dedication to delivering well-prepared food and good customer service, no matter whether you are a Michelin-rated restaurant serving 5 course menus or a simple mom & pop restaurant offering local specialities.

Unfortunately, our 2 visits to Corndance have shown that they are not able to consistently deliver in either area. We won’t be going back.

Baadshah Revisit

Monday, December 5th, 2011

Baadshah Revisit

Good Food 4/5 | Good Service : N/A

I’ve been back a second time to Baadshah since I didn’t feel like going very far for dinner. This time, I decided to try the Chicken Tikka Masala and the onion paneer kulcha bread.
You could tell that the kitchen actually has & uses a tandoori oven, as the kulcha exhibited that char that only comes from being cooked on the inside sides of the tandoori oven. Diced sweet onion and Indian cottage cheese were mixed throughout the dough. The bread went well with the pickled onion relish, cilantro chutney and plum sauce. And it also ended up going well dipped in the chicken tikka masala sauce.

The Chicken Tikka Masala was great – a medium spice level provides a warm bite without overwhelming the dish. The sauce has a nice blend of sweet tomato and green pepper taste with the curry spices. This time, my dishes did not have the overwhelming saltiness that seemed to plague my previous visit, and I was pleasantly full at the end of my meal.

So, I would definitely go back to Baadshah again, as it seems that my previous salt-heavy experience may have been a fluke night.

Tortas Frontera Revisit #3

Friday, October 21st, 2011

Tortas Frontera Revisit #3

Good Food : 3.5/5 | Good Service : 4/5

A cool fall day traveling back home through Chicago O’Hare’s airport had me craving warm soup, so I decided to try one of Tortas Frontera’s soups instead of going for a full torta. Despite the long afternoon line, my 1.5 hour layover gave me enough time to order and enjoy my soup before hopping on the next plane.

There are 2 soups offered – a classic tortilla soup on a chicken broth base and a vegetarian corn chowder. I chose the corn and poblano soup as I wanted something light & didn’t want the Chihuahua cheese mentioned in the tortilla soup description.

TortasFrontera_CornChowder-bowl TortasFrontera_CornChowder-spoon

This soup is vegetarian, using a vegetable broth base and contains sweet corn kernels, slivers of poblano peppers, cilantro crema and queso cotija crumbles. The cilantro crema adds a subtle layer, which you don’t taste and seems immediately lost by the heavy poblano and sweet corn flavors. The poblanos are only mildly spicy, and the sweet corn helps balance the poblano peppers. Crumbles of the cotija cheese give some texture, but overall this is a smooth chowder-type soup. Slivers of sliced red onions are sauteed and also help support the sweet/savory flavor profile.

If you don’t like any type of spice then this is not the soup for you – even though the mild poblano peppers don’t provide an up-front kick, there is a slow build of spiciness the more spoonfuls you eat. But, it is the type of spiciness that does not linger & dissipates quickly.

My disappointments with this soup is that unlike the tortilla soup, this is served ‘naked’ without any crispy tortilla strips or other side accompaniments. You can purchase chips if you need something to go with your soup, but I think that at least some tortilla strips would have helped finish the soup more nicely. And compared with being priced the same as the tortilla soup, I didn’t feel you got your money’s worth of ingredients compared to the tortilla soup considering that this came in a small 3″ high container.