Good morning beaners!
Last weekend my husband and I decided to go somewhere new…somewhere hopefully blog-worthy. A reliable restaurant source told me about Tuck Shop – located “on the bad side” of Notre Dame W. I am told it’s a gem…a diamond in all that rough. I was told that everything was great but that I should try the pork belly appetizer. I was psyched!
I like to look restaurants up on Urban Spoon for another perspective…I’ve come to realize that the restaurants rated below 80% are , in general, justly rated so I stay in the above 80’s. I only have one Saturday night a week and I wanna have a good time! Tuck Shop rated at a high 95% – I was pleased.
So, I make the reservation about two weeks in advance ’cause I hear the resto is a hot spot and is quite small. I made it by e-mail because after a hectic day of work, in which I must repeat things on the phone all day long, I didn’t feel much like talking. Minutes later I get a call back , which I miss so I return it right away. I speak to a gentleman (the owner) and request a table for two at 8PM. I am informed that they don’t do 8. They do 7 or 9 because they have two seatings. I know that in small places this is the norm so that they can maximize but I find 9PM too late and 7 too early. He agrees to 7:30PM and that’s a nice compromise. I also received an e-mail confirmation and I thought to myself excitedly, “Wow, how professional and courteous of them“.
As we are driving on Notre Dame, my husband informs me that we are now driving into the rougher part of Notre Dame. I don’t see it. The streets are snowy and deserted.
My husband drops me off at the door where above it is a very informal sign. It looks like they are waiting to replace it with a real sign but whatever, I get the Hipster style.
I get in and I am greeted warmly and seated. The hostess kindly and apologetically informs me that they had booked me both at 7 and 7:30 so they now had an empty table. I somehow felt bad when I didn’t do anything wrong.
I was excited! Before my husband sat down, I had already picked my wine and I was pouring over the menu. The owner (the gentleman I spoke to) suddenly arrives at our table – says he wants to try and understand what happened with this double reservation. He looks disgruntled. I explain that I sent an e-mail, then I got a voicemail , then I returned the call…then I got an e-mail. I now realize that they were not being thorough, they thought it was for two separate couples. (with the same name). He looks at me with a frown, like somehow its our fault. He simply says “Terrible” and walks off. Not even “ok, thanks” or “have a good evening”…nothing. Even if he realized that it was their mix-up, he should not have shown his disappointment to us. Its customer service rule No.1! It left us with an uneasy feeling, like all the excited air was let out of my body. We both stared at the empty table for two next to us…My husband sees my disappointment and says, “that was ridiculous” with a shrug.
Anyway, we pushed that out of our minds. Our waitress was pleasant, the restaurant noisy and packed. It had a great vibe. The music was really what I like…a little bit of this and that, including the Beatles – familiar tunes. If I had a restaurant, that’s the type of music I would play.
It took very long for us to get our food so we ended up finishing the bottle of wine before the meal. Regardless, we were enjoying the atmosphere and the music. I was secretly worried that since we were getting served so late, that they were going to pressure us to leave during our main course. Who knew at this point, but they didn’t.
We and the people around us were having a good time laughing and talking. Maybe they polished their wine bottles waiting for their food too..lol . My husband and I were killing time by watching the people outside…some drunks walking to and from the only other establishment which was opened on the street – a tavern. Aw, one of them recycled his beer bottle in the outside recycling bin. How conscientiousness of him. lol Please, don’t let this sway you from going! Just don’t walk around by yourself around there late at night.
The appetizer of pork belly was really good but really fatty. Its like giant bacon. The meat just broke apart and like most pork dishes it was super flavorful. We also tried the stuffed Calamari. They were very tender and tasty, stuffed with a sausage mixure. As our main course, my husband had the hanger steak and double baked potato. He deemed it as “good”. I tasted the steak and found it to be tough but properly cooked. I had the braised lamb and it was heavenly surrounded with little gnocchi and vegetables. It wasn’t too saucy – just right. For dessert we shared a slice of apple pie made by the chef”s or owner’s mother. It had a really great crust but tasted too much like cloves. Coffee was good.
This restaurant is worth a try.
I give the overall experience a 3 out of 5 – Food alone was 4 out of 5 and the service was a 2.5 (because of the owner but the waitress balanced it out.)
I would like to return with 9PM reservation, with a small group of friends, where we will not mind waiting while we chat, enjoying cocktails and the music.