Sunday, July 29, 2007

Restaurant Review: 552 Restaurant - Newtown, PA

Jon and I usually go out to dinner every Saturday night. We've been really busy and it's been a few weeks since we've gone out, so last night we decided to try somewhere new -
552 Restaurant in Newtown, PA. We were there a few times when it was the Stonehouse Bistro and the last time was a disaster. However the restaurant is now under new management, has new chefs and a completely different menu, and a few people have had good things to say about it.

Just in case you don't feel like reading a long review, I'll give our grade right now... D. Not even a D+. Just a D. Don't waste your time or money.

Let's get the good parts out of the way since they won't take too long...the bar had a good wine list, a very friendly bartender, cozy atmosphere, and comfortable leather armless bar-chairs. We enjoyed a glass of wine here before dinner, but started to wonder why there were only 6 other people in the bar (the bar could easily seat 30 or more, and it was 7 PM on a Saturday night). One other good thing - the restaurant has a very nice outside deck and dining area. We would have eaten out there if it wasn't so hot and humid last night.

Now I know this part of my review has nothing to do with the restaurant, but I can't let it go. There were 2 couples sitting down the bar from us - I'd say they were in their late 30s - and I couldn't help but overhear their conversation. The two women wouldn't stop talking about their diamonds and analyzing the size of every diamond in their rings. Annoying enough, right? Well then they told their husbands that since they had been married for 10 years, it was time for an upgrade, and that upgrades should occur every 10 years. She came up with this idea because one of her friends got a new diamond for her 10th and she seemed like the "keeping up with the Joneses" type. And one of these women actually said she'd rather have a new diamond than go on a nice, long vacation. I'm sure my husband would love for me to tell him that I'd rather get a new diamond than spend a week on vacation with him.

Ok, back on track. We were seated in the lower dining room where there were only 4 other tables of customers. Again, very strange for a Saturday night. I was seated facing the kitchen which has a large glass window allowing diners to watch the action. Usually these windows work well if they are actually low enough to actually see cooking, but this window cut off around shoulder height of the cooks and staff so you couldn't see a thing except for the occasional waiter pointing at the diners and talking, or the one waiter I saw sneaking food into his mouth from time to time. On the side of the kitchen is a hallway where lots of supplies and linens are stored. This really should be covered up - total eyesore.

Food - here is where the D grade comes in. I started with the special tomato soup described to me as a "tomato basil vinaigrette but warm and like creamy." I'm not lying. Still, I decided to order it. It tasted like Campbell's Tomato Soup with some pepper and cream mixed in. Jon's Caesar salad was soaked in dressing - not good at all.

For our entrees we both ordered the filet mignon, mine well done (I even specified that they could butterfly it), Jon's medium. I was shocked when our plates arrived... I've never seen filet served in thin slices. Isn't that how flank steak or London broil would be served? When I order filet, I want to be able to cut into it. My slices were small and round, and there wasn't an end piece to be found, and Jon's slices were wide and short, JUST LIKE London broil. And medium means pink center all the way through, right? Well at 552 Restaurant, "medium" means gray center, no pink whatsoever. When our waiter finally came back to ask how things were (more than halfway through our meal, too long considering the bus boy delivered our plates), his response to our complaint about Jon's steak was "maybe they switched the plates?" although he could clearly see that my steak was also very well done. No apology or solution offered. The sides weren't any better - dauphinoise potatoes layered with a mushroom mush, and rotten tasting sauteed spinach. How do you mess up sauteed spinach?

We should have called it a night and left, but decided on coffee/tea and dessert. The coffee cups were tiny to begin with, but then they only filled them halfway. My hot water for my tea was lukewarm and he didn't bring spoons. Once we asked for them, Jon was given one, but I was left to use my salad fork which was still on the table (along with the bread basket, butter plate, and bread plate...our table was not fully cleared after dinner). Jon's dessert, the chocolate truffle cake, was horrible. It wasn't sweet, but it wasn't rich either. Usually if a chocolate dessert isn't sweet, it's at least rich.

All in all, it was a disappointing night and unfortunately we wasted a good amount of money on the worst food and dining experience we've had in a very, very, long time.

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