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Re: “Montreux Bar and Grill

I recently made the move from James Island to Summerville (Wescott) because I bought my first home. My boyfriend and I have been looking for somewhere to go for Sunday brunch and came across Montreaux last month. We figured with the lack of other options in the area (and Fat Hen is a little too far to make the drive every weekend) we would try it out. We're both "brunchers" and search high and low for casual restaurants that serve our Sunday favorites.

I ordered the Crabcake Eggs Benedict and he ordered Fish and Chips-- though not something he would normally ask for at Brunch. I'll admit, my crabcake (which was in place of the english muffin/bread) was superb! The cake was VERY rich, but the portion was small enough that it didn't overpower the dish. Could have used some Panko to hold the structure of the cake together, but that's just my opinion. The egg itself, a little disappointing. I'm a snob when it comes to poached eggs. They need to be perfect with just the right amount of Vinegar mixed in with the boiling water. Anyway, I cut into my egg with my fork and expected the yoke to run free, instead it was over-medium. Bummer. Not a huge deal, it is a bar after all and the fact that they even attempt to make eggs benedict is a step above the rest. I also lifted my over-medium egg up with my fork and noticed the bottom had flat top marks (my boyfriend and I both laughed because apparantly someone got too lazy to make real poached eggs... whatever). Overall, the quality of the eggs benedict was mediocre but I give more points for the taste-- they were pretty good. I'd go back and order the Crabcake eggs benedict again, simply because it saves me the hassle of making it myself. The dish was far from a quality culinary representation, but the tast balanced any negative points.

Fish and Chips... don't bother. I wouldn't recommend ordering this dish (and my boyfriend will admit, I told him not to). Anyone can fry white fish and steak fries, but when it comes to ordering Fish and Chips in a restaurant leave it to the real English/Irish Pubs. The dish tasted "fine", but who wants to eat something that is just OK? Next time he'll heed my warning.

We love Bloody Mary's and were happy to see they had a build-your-own bar. I like a lot a horseradish and pepper, my boyfriend likes lemon. Great! We can do our own thing. The only down side, the bar was filthy. There were components spilled all over the table and the presentation was poor. I would have like to see some nicely fluffed linen and tastefully selected bowls. Or if they don't want to launder the linens maybe they could purchase a cart that has specific vessels for each item. I was disappointed to see olive and cocktail onion jars sitting on the table, dirty spoons scattered around, and dried Zing Zang crusted to the table. Yuck. A little presentation goes a long way.

All-in-all, Montreux has the bones to be a great little bar. The staff could use a few lessons in hospitality or timeliness, but the food and atmosphere are on the right track. Summerville is not downtown Charleston, so I didn't expect it to be when I walked in, but I really think the owners/management should take a few Sundays to sit through some off-the-Peninsula brunches and get an idea for what really appeals to the client.

For now I'll give Montreux one thumbs up. We'll try it again and see how it goes, but for the sake of us young professionals who had to move north of the great Peninsula to afford our first home, WE NEED YOU! Do your homework and see what works in other casual restaurants and bars.

We're rooting for you!

Posted by gcmaclaren on June 10, 2010 at 11:07 AM

Re: “Shine spotlights food from around the globe

The last line to state "fabulous looking men". Not menu.

Posted by gcmaclaren on June 2, 2009 at 7:30 PM

Re: “Shine spotlights food from around the globe

The last line to state "fabulous looking men". Not menu.

Posted by gcmaclaren on June 2, 2009 at 7:28 PM

Re: “Shine spotlights food from around the globe

I had the opportunity to visit Shine at the beginning of May. My quartet of successful, young women and I made the decision to try the restaurant before a "girls night out" on King St.

We arrived at Shine around 8:00 on a Thursday evening and were surprised that only a dozen tables were occupied in the fairly new establishment. As we approached the hostess stand we were greeted with a nod (more like a head jerk) and as I spoke to give our guest count the woman began walking away and told us to "pick a seat". My counterparts were immediatly turned off, as we were not sure which side of the restaurant to sit on, whether to take a booth or table, or even if we would be seen by a server.

Once we perched ourselves down at a four top table in the middle of the restaurant we brushed off the fact that we had been mildly ignored by the front of house attendent. Our waitress came to our table, fidgeting and bouncing like a young child, and handed us our menus. She neither introduced herself nor looked at any of us, who longed for some sort of acknowledgement.

I couldn't help but internally criticize our server by her physical appearance that evening. She was dressed in skinny jeans, chuck taylors, a scarf head band, and an untucked shirt-- much more reminisent of a skateboarding, wannabe hippie. I rarely find how a person dresses to affect their attitude or performance, but that night, she wore the "I'm terrible at my job" package right on her sleeve.

My girlfriends and I took a couple minutes to look at the wine and cocktail list. The four house cocktails looked the most appealing to myself, while two of my friend opted for a bottle of wine, and one for simply a beer. Before we placed our drink order we made it very clear to our server that we were just stopping in for a drink and a small bite to eat, possibly something to share. Considering the lack of diners in the facility one would think this behavior would be relatively excusable mid-week.

Moving on. Our server came back to our table some 15 minutes later to take our drink order. We were already squirming in our seats because the still water at the table had been gone for over 10 minutes. The two ladies across from me ordered a $30.00 bottle of wine to share, I order a house cocktail off the menu, and my neighbor to my left ordered a light beer. Oh, but wait, they do not carry domestic beer at Shine (not even one) and our waitress was not familiar enough with their inventory to reccommend one to my friend. Instead, she opted for a martini and asked the simple question "what is your house vodka"? Our server had no idea, nor did four, yes four, other servers in the restaurant. Finally, a chef in the kitchen told the woman. (I have to admit, after our server asking the first person who didn't know, my friend opted for Grey Goose-- though she could not order it because our server disappeared on a mission.)

Once the fiasco of order a starter beverage was over, we realize our night of discomfort and disappointment had only begun. Our drink never came. Before we receive an alcoholic beverage we were given a b&b plate of fried pita and hummus. I know few people who would complain about any kind of free starch at the beginning of a meal, but this starch, no thank you. I have worked in F&B as an event planner for several years. The idea of frying pita bread is something I saw briefly two years ago when I was working for a top catering company up north. The concept came and left so quickly that I never expect another establishment to pick it back up. I would like to know who in their right mind decided that grease from a fryer and hummus that far to closely resembles that of a grocery store processed food was an appetizing starter to any meal. No thank you. Grilled and lightly seasoned pita would have been a much better start to an underaverage dinner.

Well, by the time we had finished our lackluster tasting of grease we still had not received our beverages. Finally, just as I saw our "snacks" (I will call them this because, as stated above, we told our waitress when we sat that this is what we were planning) in the pass-through window to the kitchen, our server brought our cocktails.

One positive statement, I had a phenomenal cocktail. I can't remember the name exactly but if you MUST go to Shine for some reason do order the business man or something close to that name.

On to our food, my neighbor and I decided to split the Shrimp Curry, which was a special on the menu that night and the (vegetarian) ladies across from me order the Falafel.

Another 30 minutes later...

I will give MAJOR credit to the kitchen who gave my neighbor and I our own divided portions of Shrimp Curry on seperate plates. We had not planned on the convenience of this, so thank you! As for the taste, EXCELLENT. The shrimp was tender and the curry not overpowering. However, far too rich. The Shrimp Curry was on the menu as an entree. My neighbor and I could barely finish the 1 cup portion on each of our plates. The selection was $16 and it was the only thing you receieved. The price was reasonable but I would highly reccomend that Shine turn the Shrimp Curry into a small portion and add a salad, fresh vegetable, street noodle, etc., to ease the curdling taste of heavy, heavy cream in an otherwise sinfully delicious dish.

Not much to say about the Falafel. Fried. Possibly a frozen product. Not risky. Strait forward. You have a better chance of a more flavorful product from a mall food court Greek stand.

We ate quickly, as we were already running late for our next adventure. When it came time pay our bill the waitress kindly split the receipt into two parts without us even asking. My neighbor and I paid cash (thank God) while the two across from us paid Credit. Needless to say it took our server another 10-12 minutes to run the card through the register. To make a long story short, two days later one of our guests checked her bank statement online. She was not charged once, not twice, but three times. Ouch.

So, after our disappointing attempt at opening our eyes to every establishment in the Charleston area my friends and I left thinking we would never go back-- at least not soon. The decor in itself was nauseating to the senses. I counted 11 different types of tapestry on the walls. I am all for infusion dining, but nothing about Shine screamed infusion. The walls, floor, bar, and restroom were a gaudy, failed attempt, version of French Regalness. The tables and chairs, ultra chic meets IKEA-cheap.

In all, the experience was annoying. I've never rated or defined a restaurant as annoying, but Shine hit it right on the nail.

Though, as we left the restaurant a flood of fabulous looking menu in their late twenties came walking in...

Posted by gcmaclaren on June 2, 2009 at 5:21 PM
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