Monday, August 13, 2018

Stout Pub & Kitchen, Revisited

Earlier this month, we went to Stout Pub & Kitchen for the second time. Here's what we ate:
Smoked Duck Nuts (mixed nuts fried in duck fat with shallots, garlic, thyme, and dried cherries). I didn't eat any because of the garlic and because I don't really like nuts. SP thought they were excellent.
Roasted Portabella Ratatouille (rustic tomato, squash, red onion, portabella, house made ricotta, lemon aioli, grilled bread, petite arugula salad). SP liked but didn't love this. When we think ratatouille, we think of chopped vegetables all together, not separate on a plate, and we think zucchini, bell pepper, tomato, maybe eggplant. We don't think carrot. This ended up being disappointing for SP with the bread and the "ratatouille" being heavy on carrots & onion. It wasn't nearly as veggie heavy & satisfying as he expected. He expected much more portabella in a portabella ratatouille.
Smoked Amish Chicken & Apple Baguette (open-faced chicken salad with cherry tomatoes, fresh apples, local chicken breast, and smoked heirloom tomato jam served on baguette). I chose sweet potato fried for my side. I really liked this chicken salad. There was a great smoke flavor and lots of cool apple chunks.

I want to like Stout, but I'm just not sure. The day we went, we had been out since early in the morning & spent the day running around. We didn't head out for dinner until nearly 6:30 pm. Before we went, we checked to see if they are on NoWait and didn't see them there. They are on OpenTable, so we checked there and there were plenty of time slots showing availability. We decided to just go - it didn't seem to make sense to make a reservation. When we were parking, we saw several couples/groups leaving. There was no line. There were empty tables. Yet the hostess informed us the wait would be 20-25 minutes. ? She asked for a cell phone number and told us they'd text when a table was ready.

I was pretty unhappy. SP was befuddled. How could there be a wait that long? The last time we went, after looking at their website right before going, it was closed for a private party. But there had been no note on the website (to be fair, they did manage to seat us in the back room, but shouldn't "closed for private party" be posted on the main web page?). This time, with available reservations on OT and obviously free tables, there was a 20-25 minute wait. Since she said they'd text when our table was ready, I asked if they were on NoWait after all, because we hadn't seen them listed there. Nope. Then I asked why they had available reservations on OT if there was a 20-25 minute wait. SP was fiddling with his phone, about to walk outside, make a reservation through OT, then walk back in and say we had a reservation for 6:30 pm. The hostess looked unsure how to respond, especially since we'd been obviously casting our eyes at the empty tables. Another employee who had recently come up to the front ended up responding, telling us they'd get us seated right away. They did. And our server was great.

I'm just so confused about the wait time. Maybe next time we just need to make a reservation, even if we make one 10 minutes before we show up? Maybe I need someone to explain restaurant seating and empty tables? Or maybe we just need to stick with our usual near where we live places when we're not headed into the city?

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