Posted by: tonkatsudelights | July 26, 2007

The Everchanging Wine Garage

It has been a while since the last time I paid a visit to Wine Garage.

It used to be one of my favorite place. What’s not to like about it? The ambience is nice. And they don’t charge so much for the corkage fee. Only $10 per bottle. Compare that to most of other restaurants that charge in the range of $30. It’s ironic sometimes. A place where they have so many selection of good wines charges so little, but the other places with limited selection of wines charge higher…

On top of that, I like some of their small plates as well. But… one by one, my favorite dishes were taken off the menu. Until now there is only one left.

First was the french mussels soup with lightly toasted bread. At first they said they were short of mussels. The next time I came, it was no longer in the menu…

Second was the crispy layered chicken (I forget the exact name). The chicken was so thinly layered and crispy that it looked like potato (yeah… I really thought it was potato). At first they didn’t take it off the menu. They just changed the way it was cooked. They said that the dish took a long while to prepare. Too troublesome. So then the chicken was not crispy anymore. Which was still fine for me. But the next time I came, it was no longer in the menu…

And now whenever I come to Wine Garage, I come for only two things. The oysters and the braised pork belly salad. Which were exactly the menu I ordered this visit. So you can imagine my surprise when I found that once again they have changed the way my favorite dish is cooked! This happened to the pork belly dish. It used to be similar as the crispy layered chicken… the top layer of the pork belly was very crispy. But now they slice the pork belly and it looks like they fry it…

 –> Why oh why they have to change the pork belly salad? 

The pork belly is still nice, though not as nice as before. But judging from the trend, somehow I get a feeling that the next time I come, this dish is probably taken off the menu again…

You see… I’m all for restaurants that change their menu for the right reasons. Some change because it’s simply their concept. For exclusivity (Remember the former Lighthouse?). Some change because the ingredients change everyday, depending on the catch of the day (McCormick & Schmick comes to mind). And it is fine, really. But Wine Garage seems to change their menu for efficiency sake. Because the ingredients are hard to come by. Because the dish takes a long time to prepare.

They probably do what makes sense for their business. Because theirs is not a fine dining establishment that can charge so high for each dish. And for this reason, I do not fault them for doing so.

I am just sad to lose yet again another reason to pay them a visit.

The next time I come, it will only be for the oysters.


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