It's time to be critical and factual of the Sea Glass Restaurant, part of The Inn by the Sea Resort in Cape Elizabeth, Maine. Let me preface my critical review of the restaurant with positive comments regarding the Inn itself. The Inn by the Sea was lovely, clean, and the staff of the hotel were professional. Anthony our double-shift bellman and the one individual that I had several conversations with, was first class. He even made an appearance in the dining room in his bellman's uniform to bus tables! I wish I had ten guys like him working for me.
Other positive notes. The lobster and corn risotto was off-the-charts delicious that evening. Our blueberry shortcake was outstanding. My compliments to the chef on both.
However, the lobster gnocchi was a disgrace. When you compare the difference and care that was taken to cook the risotto perfectly and simply and the succulent lobster in my guest's dish, I wonder who cooked my gnocchi? The liquid settling in my dish was brownish and soupy; I wouldn't glorify this liquid by calling it a sauce. The lobster was tough, the quartered root vegetables made no sense to me, and the gnocchi satisfactory. I'm rarely this harsh, but with a stunning lobster risotto, how could the rest of my dish been so terrible? No, I did not finish my meal. And now for a list of facts:
- Our bottle of champagne arrived at the same time that our first courses arrived at the table. I'm guessing it was a front-of-house issue considering all the service issues I'm listing.
- The Champagne and sparkling water were initially opened and poured by our server, while the remainder of the evening I took care of our beverage pouring needs.
- Silverware was not replenished for our main courses. I grabbed them off another table.
- My soup dish was cleared immediately after I was finished eating, while my guest was still eating her first course. I would understand if this was at a diner, but not in a fine dining establishment.
- The two adjacent tables that we faced, a 4-top and a deuce were not completely cleared of soiled dishes for 45 minutes after their departure. This included from the 4-top menus, plates, and stemware from the adult desserts and the children's main courses. The deuce came in from the outside patio to eat dessert and have drinks. None of their items were cleared after vacating the table. No joke, 45 minutes before the tables were cleared.
- Two valets from the hotel were brought in to bus tables during service. Considering there were by my count at least 6 servers / bussers/ and a hostess total in the restaurant that night and only 8 tables actively eating at the time the luggage valets came to help, which was after our main courses were served but before they were cleared, roughly 8:45. I have to wonder what the restaurant staff was doing?
- Our 7:45 reservation was accomodated without question. We didn't receive our first courses until 8:15. The restaurant was not full at our reservation time with what appeared to be a sufficient number of front of house staff to manage. Our server split her time with us and several tables outside, a large zone to cover.
The hotel is a Four Diamond Award winning establishment. The restaurant, a DiRoNa Award winner. To reiterate, I was very pleased with my lodging and overall property experience. I take issue with my dining experience and food inconsistency. I understand that I am talking about a single night, however the types of issues that I experienced are systemic problems, not one-night failures. With the number of dining options in the nearby town of Portland, the Sea Glass should be concerned.
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