Blackbird or a CHIC Experience

7 03 2008

At the CHIC Café, the service in my opinion is a cross between American and French. Depending on the amount of students in class, any service can be pulled off. We have had a various number of parties and switched up the services for that evening. The server would run food, take orders, clear and reset the table’s utensils. The host/manager would also run food, clear tables and reset utensils. We had a bartender that would take care of all drinks. Pops, coffee drinks and even wine service. This made the job a little easier. Even though it was three students and our teacher (who stepped in a lot) we made it the most of this experience. Anyone would basically do what was needed. We all helped each other out.

We had a chance to do Russian service. This particular service is something that I would not choose to do. It wasn’t as easy as some people may think it sounds. Balancing a big platter of food on your hand and serving from the left with your right hand isn’t easy at all.

At the end of the night, the students would prepare what we call family meal. It would be big bowls, plates or platter of food in which we all would serve ourselves. This is another style of service. Family service is where you are serving yourself food; and this is what we do every evening.

The front staff at the CHIC Café had a chance to go out to eat a fine dining restaurant. We visited the Blackbird establishment. My first impression of the place was cozy. I liked the mood that the restaurant placed me in. I felt like I was able to just relax and enjoy myself, which I did.

By it being so late into the evening, the restaurant still had a nice amount of people in it. I was really impressed with them taking our coats and hanging them for us when we first entered the place. I’m actually glad it wasn’t crowded because the seating arrangement wasn’t good. I liked the cushion, wall lengthen couch, but the tables and seats were to close together. They’re tables had to be physically moved so that the person sitting on the couch could get out. The place was small so I can understand the reason for that set-up, but it seems like it would be a bother to keep moving the table to get up.

Since I’m on things I wasn’t crazy about let me talk a little about the uniform. I understand that this is a small place, but I wasn’t able to tell the customers and the staff apart. They didn’t have on nametags, shirts with logos or something distinguishing them from the customers. They just wore whatever they wanted. I don’t know if that’s how they dress all the time, but they did it that night and I didn’t like it at all. I want to be able to tell my servers apart from myself.

The type of service they used by definition would be French style. I guess it was a more moderate French style, but it seems like that was the one they were going for. The Captain was our main person. He was always in view for us if we needed him. He knew the menu very well. He was able to answer questions we had. He even did a little wine paring with the food. The front and back waiter was also noticeable to me. They brought out each dish. The back waiter actually came out only when all the food was being delivered. The front waiter kept the glass full and the table clean. They either don’t have bussers or the bussers were gone for the evening. But the front waiter did mostly all clearing and resetting utensils when needed. Everything was always in uniformed regarding the table set up.

The food there was excellent. We had five of each courses. I’m just going to discuss my favorite items of the evening. Even though everything was excellent, I still was able to pick out what I really liked.

From the appetizers list the best thing we had was the sweetbreads. This was my first time having them. They were tender, seasoned well and fried lightly golden brown. I would recommend this dish to anyone. It could have been a little more than one, but it was just an appetizer. My least favorite was the fish appetizers. The only reason I say that is because I’m allergic to fish, so I can’t eat it! So I’m just speaking out of anger because my fellow students said it was really good and I couldn’t try.

The entrées were all good. The lamb was tender and it didn’t have that wild or game flavor to it. The flavors accompanying the lamb really worked well with it. The grilled short ribs were the best I’ve ever had. (Even my own) They were very tender. I have never had short ribs that were as tender as the ones I had that evening. Between these two items I have to say that both of them were my favorite.

Another entrée item that was very flavorful and tender was the organic pork belly. This is a cut from the pig where bacon comes from. This item was very tasteful. You can never go wrong with pork and beef.

Desserts were pretty good. My favorite was a toasted gingerbread item. My teacher said that his was a chocolate item that I order. I liked that one as well, but the chocolate tasted like a 3 musketeers bar. It was good, but the gingerbread item was full of flavor. In my opinion, don’t get the roasted pineapple dessert. I know pineapples sound real good, but the hibiscus in the dessert over powers the whole dish. I believe I can safely say that this item was the least liked among us all.

Everything we had was very good. I would definitely go back to this place for dinner. I was told that the lunches are just as good. One day I’ll go there and see. Happy eating everybody!

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