Friday, May 26, 2017

Worst Meal Ever: Chart House Waikiki

Chart House Waikiki is without doubt one of the worst meals we've ever eaten at this price point, probably the worst. It is criminal what they are charging for this food. I don't care if the restaurant is on the water with a view (if you are seated next to a window). I left so incredibly disappointed, and hungry, looking for a Subway on the walk back to the hotel. I was in fear of some kind of stomach revolt because the food was that revolting. We should have eaten at the Red Lobster next to this place.
We were not seated next to a window, but at a far back table next to the server station so we had the pleasure of listening to the professional and personal chit chat all evening. Lovely. We have eaten at Chart House restaurants before, so I was shocked at the dated and shabby-feeling decor. Even the menu seemed very old school compared to other Chart House restaurants at which we've dined.

**IMPORTANT TIP** Turns out that's because this Chart House Waikiki is NOT part of the Landry's Chart House chain. It is not related to the Chart House restaurants in Monterey & Cardiff, where we've dined, or the other ones at which my parents have dined (Las Vegas and Marina del Rey). I wish I'd realized this before we made the reservation and went.**

I can't believe they can even use the Chart House name.

We each had a glass of wine and decided to go with the Special Menu of the Month: appetizer, soup/salad, entree, dessert for $56/person.
Kimmi’s Firecracker Unroll. I don't know what this is supposed to be. A deconstructed sushi roll? With 3 servings of rice on the bottom? SP says it was unspectacular.
Fried Calamari. This is a crime against calamari. The worst fried calamari I have ever been served. It was so tough and rubbery. It took me forever to chew a piece enough to swallow it.
SP chose Caesar Salad. It was salad. It just isn't presented as nicely as what we're used to at this price point.
I chose New England Clam Chowder. I've eaten a lot of clam chowder in New England. When my parents lived in NH and I'd visit, my mom & I traveled around so I had clam chowder from a lot of different states and restaurants. We had clam chowder when we visited Texas SIL when she lived in MA. I also ate a lot of clam chowder last summer in San Francisco and Monterey. This Chart House clam chowder was disgusting. Bland. Thick. Seemed like if it sat much longer I'd have to skim a skin off the top. I had 2 spoonfuls and was done. It was not even the right color for New England clam chowder. What did they do to it?!
For his meal SP chose Mahi mahi (the menu says "fresh tasty and delicious, this is a favorite of Kama’ainas in the know! Your choice, grilled, oven sauteed or cajun style").
SP would never ask for well done fish. Clearly, they did not prepare it as he requested. He ate it and said it was tolerable but not worth the price point.
I chose Baked Stuffed Shrimp ("Jumbo Gulf Shrimp stuffed with Dungeness Crabmeat, baked golden brown and topped with hollandaise"). I've eaten a lot of shrimp stuffed with crab. It's one of my favorite dishes. I've even eaten it at a Chart House (in Cardiff). These shrimp were overcooked. The hollandaise looks like melted American cheese draped on top. The crab tasted funny. Even SP thought it tasted off. There was no way I could choke down these overcooked, tough, tasteless shrimp with their weird tasting crab and suspicious hollandaise. Worst stuffed shrimp ever.

So I complained/explained. They offered to replace the dish. I didn't want to try the shrimp dish again, and the other options didn't appeal to me, so I asked for the short ribs, which were listed as an option on a less expensive fixed menu.
Braised Shortribs ("Braised Boneless Prime Grade Shortribs with Tomato Red Wine-Cort Sauce"). Does that dark brown sauce look like it has tomato and red wine? No, and it didn't taste like it either. It was gross. The meat had a lot of fat. It seemed like every bite I tried to take had a blob of fat. Ick. When SP asked me how it was I looked at him and said it was like they'd used a canned stew. I'm not going to name the canned stew I mentioned because that's probably an insult to the canned stew.

I ate the asparagus.
Next up, dessert. New York Cheesecake for SP. He took one bite and said it was warm and starting to get soft/melty. He thinks they prepared it for the table, anticipating bringing dessert, then let it sit out while I was, unexpectedly, served a replacement meal and therefore, the cheesecake sat out too long. Warm cheesecake? No thank you.
I chose Crème Brûlée. I was pretty disappointed and irritated at this point. I took my spoon and pierced the surface, expecting to get a satisfying crack. Nope. No crack. Just plunged down into slightly runny creme brulee. We get a better crackly sugar topping at home when we make creme brulee.

At this point, the servers were ignoring us. No one wanted to deal with the obviously displeased customers. It took a while to flag someone down. That person went off and got a manager. I explained my issues with the meal and how disappointed I was.

In their defense, he did offer to take the cost of my meal off and charged us only for the wine and the cost of the mahi mahi. So the meal cost us half what it would have cost. But this does not change the fact that the food quality does not at all reflect the price point or the name of the restaurant.

I cannot suggest this restaurant to anyone. If we are ever again in Waikiki, we will not be dining here. Not even for the view - which, for us, was simply a different angle of the view we had from our hotel room balcony. Even paying just half of what it would have cost was too much.

Chart House Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

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