Were it for the food itself, the place would certainly merit 5 stars. But, as heard numerous times from Chef Ramsay himself, a dining experience is a tricky combination of food, ambiance, and service, each of which contributes to either a positive gastronomical encounter or its opposite.
But let's start with the food. Arguably, Gordon Ramsay Pub & Grill offers the best fine-dining cuisine in the entire AC. Our appetizers included the Roasted Duck Poutine (a heavy Quebecois dish) and Escargot (aptly translated for the unenlightened as Burgundy Snails). What to say, both appetizers were excellent, with the snails easily beating some of the best specimens we got to taste in France and French restaurants all over the world.
The main courses were a Sautéed Scottish Salmon; it came with caramelized onions to die for, the cress salad was mouth-watering. Our other main course was Ale-Battered Fish & Chips which was equally superb, especially its chips, perfectly crispy outside and angel-puree-soft inside.
We also shared a dessert, a Vanilla Crème Brûlée w/Cherry Compote. It was very light, cooked and served to perfection. Overall, all the food we got to sample was terrific, which is a feat considering the pub nature of the restaurant.
So, why 4 stars? The service was decent, but overall quite impersonal and indifferent. Both hostess and our server were averagely all right, but not for an establishment of a chef whose dining institutions over the world hold 19 Michelin stars with his flagship Chelsea (London, not NYC) restaurant proudly keeping its 3 Michelin stars for 15 years. We were given a survey at the end of our meal, to be filled on a small smartphone device built in a restaurant leather folder. All the questions were thoughtful and attentive. "Did your server discuss with you the food you ordered?" No. "Did the manager stop by your table to inquire about your dining experience?" No. We even spotted a disgruntled customer who kept arguing with the restaurant's employee, which, according to Chef Ramsay is a huge no-no, the customer being always right.
If the Chef sent in there his "two secret diners" they would have quite a few things to report. That felt like a disappointment. But for the food itself, we would surely visit it again, next time in AC.
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