Anaheim White House of Flies
Last weekend my wife and I went out to celebrate a special occasion. We were looking for a place with gourmet food and good ambience and decided to give the Anaheim White House (www.anaheimwhitehouse.com) a try. Big mistake.
When we arrived, we were greeted by a valet who charged $3 +tip for the service of parking my car in their empty lot 30 feet away from the front door, a feat I could have easily managed myself.
Once inside, we discovered that the restaurant had lost the reservations under my name. After a brief discussion they seated us anyway.
The waiter came out to take our drink order and I asked to see the wine list, which he didn't have. After my wife and I each made additional requests, we finally obtained their extensive wine list. The Maitre d' or manager then came over and gave us a colorful and enthusiastic explanation of the specials and even recommended an excellent wine to go with my meal.
As we waited for our appetizer, we were plagued by a black house fly that buzzed around us incessantly. While the ravioli appetizer was fantastic, it also attracted more flies. Our uninvited table guests began to irritate us and after a while we killed a few.
When the main course came out, we were treated to excellent presentations of perfectly cooked mixed vegetables and angel hair pasta as the accompaniments to our entrees. My wife had the 'Gauthier Maine Lobster', which was supposedly poached in champagne sauce. In reality, I think the chef drank the champagne and cooked the lobster in a ceramics kiln because it came out dry and flavorless with an anodized shell that could not be breached by our table implements. Unfortunately, the restaurant didn't have crackers or picks and we were left at the mercy of the chef's failed attempt to split the shell prior to serving.
My meal was supposedly a critically acclaimed award winning special that included Filet Mignon and Maine Lobster. My lobster was also overcooked and lacked the customary Maine Lobster sweetness. The steak was unremarkable for a filet mignon (I've often prepared better and have had its equal at casual places like Marie Callenders and The Outback).
As my wife and I gnawed on our leathery lobster, more flies began to arrive. Eventually the five black corpses we left smashed on our window convinced the swarm to leave us in favor of attacking other diners. While we celebrated our victory the couple at the table next to us asked the waiter for better lobster cracking hardware and complained of the lobster being overcooked. Since the restaurant had no cracking tools for the diners, the waiter took the offending crustacean back to the kitchen where they presumably used the jaws of life to crack open the shell.
We also complained about the quality of the lobster to the waiter who merely gave us an "Oh, that's too bad" dismissal and scurried away. My wife then complained to the Maitre d', who gave us a sincere sounding apology. Although by this time we were both thoroughly annoyed, we decided to wait for dessert (a Grand Marnier soufflé that we had ordered at the beginning of the meal since it takes a long time to prepare).
The waiter brought out a top notch soufflé along with chocolate sauce, whipped cream and two glasses of champagne, all of which were free of charge in the hopes of making up for the lobster and to help us celebrate our special occasion.
Feeling somewhat mollified, we proceeded to enjoy our dessert until the bill arrived. Boy, were we in for a shock.
- Ravioli Appetizer: $25 ($12.50/person rather than for the table)
- Dinner Salad: $8
- 2 glasses of wine: $21
Lobster: $59 (listed as “Market Price”) Maine
- Weekly Special Steak and Lobster: $75 (no price was volunteered by the waiter at the time it was described and while we thought it would be expensive, we didn’t expect it to cost more than double the most expensive entree on the menu)
Our bad lobster, lost reservations, black house flies and valet parking would have cost us a whopping $201 +tax +tip had they not taken off the $10 desert.
Looking back on it, we should have raised hell and demanded a bigger discount. At the time we just wanted to celebrate our special occasion and have a pleasant evening so we didn’t make much of a fuss other than complain a couple of times and leave a negative comment card topped with several dead flies as testament to our bad experience.
Let this be a warning to those of you who are considering dining at the Anaheim White House. Unless you have money to burn and like bad seafood and house flies, I suggest you dine elsewhere.