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Steakhouse service, menu lacking during special event

Submitted by Melissa Ibbotson on February 17, 2012 – 4:38 pmNo Comment

Couples (especially those with young kids) use Valentine’s Day as an excuse to get dolled up and go out to a fancy, romantic restaurant and maybe some sort of show.

Saturday night, my husband and I marked the occasion by going to The Riverfront Steakhouse.

We were less than impressed. We heard a lot of good things about this restaurant prior to our trip there, and it might not have turned out as bad as it did, but for a few things.

It started out nicely enough. The Steakhouse invites a romantic vibe with black linen tablecloths, low lighting via candles on the table and a nicely-dressed man softly performing with an acoustic guitar.

That night was the Rascal Flatts concert at Verizon Arena, and the restaurant was packed with concert goers. Thankfully we had a reservation, so we only had to wait about five minutes for our table. However, due to the concert, the nights menu was a “special event” menu, something we were not aware of before getting there. It consisted of about half of the regular menu.

Let me explain why we decided to go there in the first place. I love steak and wanted a good filet mignon. My husband, a seafood lover, does not like steak. The menu on the website offers lobster tail as well as a few other delectable seafood options. I saw no mention of a ‘special events’ menu, or any kind of indication that would be the case on our date night.

The only seafood on the menu we got was salmon and something with shrimp, so my husband ended up ordering a prime rib, along with a shrimp bisque first course. I opted for a trip to the so-called largest salad bar in Arkansas, which consisted of a few types of pasta salad and basic salad makings like carrots, cucumbers and tomatoes.

A little under an hour later, with a long-empty martini class and still no shrimp bisque, our food arrives. We mentioned the soup, and our waiter (who up to this point had been by our table 1.5 times), asked “Oh, do you still want it?” Of course we did.

My steak, a 6-ounce beauty covered in peppercorn, was cooked to a perfect medium. It was delectable and exactly what I wanted. My baked potato, which I paid an extra $2.95 for, was huge and exactly what a baked potato should be. However, my husband’s prime rib was under cooked, and he got no side, since the meal does not include one.

At this point, it’s about 7:20 and we have an 8 p.m. show to make at the Robinson Center. We had mostly empty plates and a desire for a bananas foster cheesecake dessert. It was not to be, as we did not see our waiter until close to 7:30, when he walked by our table without so much as picking up a plate or asking if we needed anything. It took another 10 minutes to get our check and leave the restaurant, and this was after another server came by and saw our credit card sitting on the table indicating we were ready to go.

Overall, our date was nice. The show was great, and had we been seated in a different section, with a different server, we might have had a wonderful dining experience. There’s a chance, maybe in the not-so-near future, that we might decide to give The Riverfront Steakhouse a second chance, but that’s not a given. For now, the $113 check (which included two cocktails, a half-bottle of wine, and two main courses), was just not worth it. The worst part is that it could have been.

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