Travel Here: What was that about?

Bill and I have been holding on to a treasure. After my friend, Michael Picolo of Ebby Halliday, closed on a real estate deal we referred to him, he thanked us with gift coins to III Forks.  How’s that for a thank you gift?  This was a few months back, but if you read my blog regularly, you’ll understand why I wanted to save the treat for later.

Bill’s trying to express ship me back to normal, so he insisted on an evening at III Forks.  Since our usual dates lean more towards casual dining, this really felt like a special occasion. I put on one of his favorite dresses and intended to have a good time.

We may be more burger than filet mignon in our habits, but this wasn’t our first trip to III Forks, so we knew we were in for some good food.    The denominations on our gift coins insured that we’d have plenty to eat and more to take home.  Thank you Michael.

We started enjoying ourselves from the moment we pulled onto the parking lot.  The red brick building suggests hospitality and the gold dome says opulence.  The entry way to III Forks is grand, in an elegant Texan sort of way.  The floors are covered with large tasteful rugs, but the walls are a little braggardly, sporting signed photographs of multiple celebrities.  The greeting from the host/hostess stand was warm, but thankfully didn’t resemble those gushing welcomes served with sliders and mojitos. They seated us in a side room between the patio and the main dining area, my favorite spot so far.  A lot quieter than the central space, but close enough to enjoy the fun.

Bill ordered up a great bottle of wine and then asked about the dessert menu.  This is a guy who has his priorities in order.  It wasn’t that he wanted to start with dessert, he just wanted to know how much room to leave for it.  Then he insisted we enjoy a first course, rather than going directly to the entree.  I wondered where he’d put that guy I usually go out with, but I wasn’t going to look a gift horse in the mouth.

To start, I chose the Seafood Medley, realizing full well that I’d give Bill the shrimp cocktail part.  That’s not my favorite way to eat shrimp.  When the plate arrived, I dove into the delicious crab cake first, while he raved over the shrimp.  Then I tackled the huge scallop.  The Seafood Medley is a terrific trio.

Next came Bill’s Lobster Bisque and they parceled it out into two cups.  My first two tastes were skimmed off the top and were scrumptious.  Then I dug deeper into the cup and found large chunks of delectable lobster.  Heavenly!  I could have easily stopped eating when my cup was empty, but two more courses waited for us.

With so much food coming, I chose the smallest filet for dinner.  Perfection is the only word I can think of to describe the meat.  As long as steaks like that are out there to be eaten, I will not become a vegetarian.  But I like my vegetables, too.  III Forks may be a little pricier than your average steakhouse, but I like the fact that you get something on your plate besides meat and garnishes.  The best thing is their “corn off the cob.” I swear, I could make a meal with just that.  However, you also get sugar snap peas, mashed potatoes, tomatoes and spring onions.

I didn’t have any of the onions. The tomatoes were a little disappointing – pretty, but lacking in flavor.  The mashed potatoes were okay, but we’re not mashed potato connoisseurs, so don’t let my opinion dissuade you from enjoying them.  Bill adored the sugar snap peas, but I was exhausted by the time I got around to them.  Besides, I’d already filled up on beef and corn.  When we had Bill’s tenderloin tips as leftovers the next day, I knew his meal had been every bit as delicious as mine.

Next came the desserts which Bill insisted we have.  With the exception of cruises, we never get individual desserts.  We always share.  When the creme brulee and chocolate cake arrived, he revealed his plan.  The chocolate cake was for another day.  We’d just share the creme brulee that evening. I can report that both were scrumptious, but I’m partial to anything chocolate.

Were life fair, the rest of the evening would not have required any word count, but fair it’s not.  When the check arrived, Bill’s brows furrowed and he had questions for our waiter.  Now the rest of the evening, we’d had many visits from III Fork personnel, asking if everything was OK, but suddenly there was a dearth of attention.  Our waiter was nowhere to be seen and the rest of those kindly people were not within shouting distance.  We fretted and fidgeted, feeling suddenly invisible.

After what seemed like ages, the waiter reappeared and Bill asked his questions.  Come to find out, we’d been overcharged fifteen dollars for the wine.  The overcharge was not that big of a deal.  That’s the reason you’re supposed to go over your bill.  What ruined our evening was the waiter’s attitude.  He seemed angry that we’d dared to bring up his mistake and we began to wonder if it had been a mistake at all.  A guy who had been our chum all evening long was suddenly giving us the cold shoulder.  I’m still not sure what was up with that.

And that little episode reminded us of our other visits to III Forks.  Hands down they have some of the best food in Dallas, but the service tends to fall short.  Our first visit came along right after they opened.  The suggestive selling was so overwhelming that my husband called the next day to complain about it.  Asking if you’d like a crab leg with your steak is one thing, but our first waiter at III Forks behaved as if we were insulting him personally because we didn’t want a sample from every course offered and the most expensive of each course at that.  (Hint for waiters: If your suggestion for every course is always the most expensive item on that section of the menu we think you’re more worried about the size of your tip than our enjoyment of the meal.)

Then we moved away to California for a number of years.  We’ve been back for a while and not too long after we returned, our nephew took a group of us out for a special evening.  The service was so bad that evening that my nephew disappeared with a thunderstorm on his face. He was gone for a while, but when he returned, it was as if half the staff had been pulled off their other assignments to be sure we had what we needed.

After that III Forks fell from the top of our favorites list, but when Micheal presented us with the gift coins, I forgot all about the service issues and imagined how delicious the steak was going to be.  It was only as we waited forlornly to settle the check that we were reminded that the service at III Forks doesn’t always match the quality of the food – and that’s really very sad.

Should you go to III Forks?  Of course, if you’ve referred business to Michael and are using gift coins.  I’d say the food is worth at least one visit – it’s really that good.  However, be ready for service that’s a little less amazing than the food. I wish you better luck than we had, but the trend we’ve experienced suggests you might have to be somewhat patient with the help.

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3 Comments

Filed under Art &Travel, Dallas, Restaurants

3 responses to “Travel Here: What was that about?

  1. There’s nothing like poor service to destroy a fabulous dining experience.

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    • And you know what, if the service is good enough you’re tempted to return, even if the food was only marginal. My food at home is pretty good. It’s the being served that I go out for.

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  2. Probably he wants to be an actor and start taking steps applying to be a waiter :)

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