Even Your Meal is a Gamble – The French Quarter Restaurant

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Daniel says…

We eyed this filet and prime rib special early on and knew it needed to be reviewed. Misty had confirmed that she and Brian had eaten a few good meals at the track.  We had tried to get this meal on the calendar a couple of times, but it just never happened.  When the annual “Dinner Party with Those You Like to Luncheon With..” rolled around this year, Cross-Vegas was suggested and quickly approved by the group.

Now I like casinos. They are like Disney World for adults. They want you to smile as they extract your money from your pockets. Remember the house always wins and that was true when it came to the French Quarter Restaurant. Susan hit a home run with the title. Your meal is truly a gamble. We had a few winners at the table, but mostly losers.

Before I tell you about my meal let me tell you about Tri-State Race Track and Gaming Center. The facility must be stuck in a land where time stands still. It has had the single longest re-branding and name change of any business ever.  The Mardi Gras theme was added at least five years ago. They announced that they were going to rename Tri-State after another casino the parent company runs in Florida more than a year ago. So start calling it by its new name already. Second, if you’re going to name a restuarant after one of the culinary capitals of the world you better bring it!

The dining room is tucked into the corner of the gaming floor with only a waist high separation between it and the slots.  It is about as intimate as a hot dog stand.  Then with the constant overhead announcements I felt like I was next door in Walmart. I really wish they would have made the restaurant an oasis from the bells, chirps and whistles of the slots. It is too distracting.

Baked MusselsOn to the meal – The server took my drink order while I reviewed the menu.  I had spied a Dead Guy Ale at the Poker Room bar on a previous visit, but alas it was not stocked in the French Quarter. Now if this was a true full service hospitality zone the server would have sent a manager 150 yards across the building for my beer. I settled for a Samuel Adams. Back to the menu – seven beef dishes with the Filet leading the way, one chicken dish, one duck dish, two fish dishes, and three pasta dishes. Not a vegetarian option in sight.

p1050577I ordered the baked mussels appetizer with chorizo sausage and boursin cheese for 9 bucks.  They were cooked very nicely. The spicy sausage and the garlicky cheese went nicely together.  Add a side salad and this dish is a meal in itself. I had decided weeks earlier that I was going to order the filet special, medium rare. My sides were a salad that was almost too small to enjoy and lobster & cheddar mashed potatoes for a small upcharge.

The food came to the table and I started to have food envy when the prime rib landed in front of Ron and Susan, but I was happy when my 9oz filet was presented.  I worry when several people order the same steak.  I am always afraid that I will be served another’s steak. The last thing I wanted was the puck of tenderloin that Misty got. I asked for the horseradish that I ordered with my steak.  I love horseradish and beef. I think it is the Johnny Carson and Ed McMahon of the food world. My steak was about 1 1/2″ thick and cooked as ordered. Other than the company of my friends it was the best part of the meal.  The mashed potatoes  were unspecial and the salad was an afterthought. Nothing on the dessert menu moved me.  I guess I was wanting beignets and coffee.

The deck was stacked against Tri-State and it was dealt a cooler tonight when the Fork You crew sat down. I would avoid the bad beat at the TWO FORK French Quarter Restuarant and Lounge.

Tracey says…

The vegetarian wife is on Fork You stike until Dan removes an offensive word from the comments on a previous post. She has her principles. Dan does not.

p1050569p1050579

Misty says…

I don’t know where to even start with this review.  Let me get it out now…This place was such a disappointment.  Bryan and I have eaten here numerous times in the past and have always had excellent food.  In fact, now that I think about it, we were even eating here before we had kids.  We just stumbled across the Thursday night special once and kept returning.  It was a nice place to stop on the way home from work on a Thursday night.  Faithfully, we would order the filet for $14.99 and get a side item and a nice sized salad.  Occasionally, we would add a lobster tail for alittle extra.  It was nothing fancy, but the food was always hot and tasty.  It wasn’t very crowded; it was like an undiscovered gem tucked away in the back of the casino.  We even chose this restaurant on the weekends with no special and it was always well worth the money.  On a non-special night, I would usually order something other than the filet- and I don’t remember any of my other choices being bad.

Ok, the night started out great.  We were the first to arrive and Bryan picked out his seat next to the butter.  This is one of my husband’s favorite foods.  Our waitress quickly came to the table and took our drink order.  She was nice- we joked around with her a little- she quickly returned with our drinks.  Once everyone arrived, we started to order.

I had a few questions to ask- this is not unusual especially since I noticed the menu was a little different.  For example, there was no asparagus on the menu.  Before, I would order a side of grilled asparagus and Bryan would get the deep fried asparagus (another one of my husband’s favorite foods- anything fried!)  The waitress said, “yes” to the regular asparagus; “no” to the deep fried.  I thought that was odd but didn’t give it a second thought.  But, this should have tipped me off:  if an item isn’t on the menu- maybe there is a reason for it.

Anyway, here is what we ended up ordering:

Misty:  filet- medium well, asparagus, salad with ranch dressing, added a lobster tail

Bryan:  filet- medium, baked potato, salad with French dressing, added a lobster tail

There is no picture of our food because as Daniel was getting ready to snap the picture of my plate, security came busting in and said, “No pictures are allowed to be taken in the casino!”  Dude, we are in the restaurant section…it is a Christmas get-together, we are just taking pictures of the food and people.  Lighten- up.  This guy was pretending to be a member of the Montecito Casino security team from one of my favorite TV shows Las Vegas (BTW, this show was cancelled way before its time).  I was expecting Danny McCoy or Mike Cannon to show up at anytime and confiscate the camera from Daniel.

Let’s talk about the food:

The salad was much smaller than I remember.  It was just a small portion of iceburg lettuce,  two wedges of tomato, maybe two cucumber slices.  The dressing was ok.  In fact, the salad was ok- just small.

There was a small filet and 5 or 6 asparagus spears on this big white plate.  Tip to restaurant:  Get a smaller plate- it would make the portion size look bigger.

I immediately noticed the asparagus…YUCK.  These things were waaaay over cooked and I cannot even describe the color of them.  (You can see a picture of them in Susan’s review below.)  They were like a mustard, green color.  When I cut into them, they were mushy.  The only positive thing I have to say is…they were not woody and stringy at the bottom.  But I am pretty sure, most people could not get past the mush!

The filet, well, I wish I had a picture of it.  It was small and dry.  It was very dry.  It was very, very dry.  Does everyone get the point?  Now this might have been partly my fault, I did order it medium well.  But, I have gotten medium well filets other places and they did not require as much A-1 as I had to use that night.  And, I am sure that I have gotten it that way here, and I don’t remember it being dry.  In fact, I think someone said it looked like a piece of play food from their daughters play kitchen.

The lobster tail- Oh, I really wish I had a picture of it.  It was about the size of a jumbo shrimp.  It was so not worth the price.  It tasted ok- but I couldn’t get past the measly size of it.

What has happend to this place?  Everything seemed small- except our bill!

For this visit, I have to give them ONE FORK!

With that said, I would like to try this place one more time- so they can redeem themselves.  I can’t help to think…maybe they were just having an off night!

Ron says…

LOOK AT THIS PICTURE???

french-qtr-prime-rib-ron

Does the picture not speak volumes????  I’m having to sprinkle. Cover… choose your verb… If I had more I would cover it even more.  Butter, A1, Salt, Pepper the list goes on.  (oops I need to add “…….” for all my fans)

My honest opineis that this place isn’t that bad…  We had heard great things about it… but the hype was never lived up to.

That being the case I won’t knock it…. for that…. but I it will get knocks for being the only game in town, and resting on it’s Laurels. So be it.

X Vegas is one of those places that has to be evaluated on their merits..

Which isn’t good…..

So thus I give you….

ineptetude .  .  .

Three Forks as it was simply just average.

My prime rib was a very good portion size, additionally I ordered a Baked Potato and sauteed Mushrooms.  Look at the picture and tell me what is missing?  I never recieved my Mushrooms, but there was several of us which could have led to some confusion with the wait staff.  But I won’t let them off that easily as we had two persons serving our table.

The service was just average, did it take too long, no it was way more pleasant that eating at the Power Alley Grill.   But was it quick?  NOPE.  Not that either.  I don’t know how many times I had to say… “NURSE!  NURSE!  I’ll have another one of these Bud Lights”.

But you guys want to read about the Food.  My baked potato was cooked to perfection.  But if you can screw up a baked potato, then you could probably “F$#!-Up an Anvil With A Feather” as my old man would always tell me.  So making a good baked potato is no testament to the Culinary World.

Sauteed Onions ~ as far as I know they’re great.   The problem is I never got them.

The Prime Rib – the main course of my main meal.  It was good.  Little dry for my taste.  If I had paid $20 bucks for this I would have really considered this down right crappy and a rip off.   But it was only $14.99, so you have to factor that in somehow.  It was very edible, but it just wasn’t that good.  Not tough, but still required a sharp knife.  There was a gristle here and there but not like the current state of Outback fair.  It was bland too, hence why I cover it in butter and A1.  Typically I like to eat my steaks plain, with just a little salt and some butter.  Sometimes I do ruin it with A1, but only after I’ve had plenty without and I just love A1 so I want my cake and be able to eat it too.

This meat was one of those that required the A1.  Average

……………..As I said Three Forks………………

Susan says…

(If Ron isn’t smothering his steak in A-1, he’s smothering it in butter.  eeeewwww…..  I wonder if he even likes the taste of the meat itself.)

Once again my friend Christy steered me wrong. When will I learn??? Seriously, Misty & Bryan had talked about how good the food is at Cross Vegas also so I was excited to try it out.  They were all wrong.

I could live the rest of my life without eating steak except for prime rib.  I love a big slab of prime rib doused in a pool of au jus.  mmmmmmm….  I was definitely going for the prime rib special for $14. I only glanced at the menu and didn’t see anything that appealed to me more.

When I asked about the available sides, I was overjoyed to hear asparagus as an option. I went with prime rib, asparagus and the house salad with Italian dressing on the side.

french-qtr-prime-rib

The salad was smaller than small. The dressing was tangy and tasty but there just wasn’t enough of it. Sure tasted good with my bottle of shiraz. That’s right folks – I wasn’t driving so I had my very own bottle. I figured we’d be there a while between the eating, the conversating, the white elephant gift exchange and whatnot. It was the most economical way to go.

As you can see from the photo, I received a nice sized hunk of meat.  See the little ramiken of au jus? Yummy! I did manage to restrain myself and not lick the container clean.  I was happy to have the jus because the meat was quite dry – I ordered it medium and it was slightly overcooked.  Now, focus your attention on that asparagus. I got 5 spears of the most dreadfully overcooked asparagus I have ever been served. The color was horrid. I should have sent it back when I first laid eyes on it. Liza couldn’t eat hers as it was as limp and lifeless as my serving.  It tasted terrible. But a swig of red wine helped it go down.

We were lucky to get the photos. After I snapped the one of Ron’s plate, I was approached by the casino rent-a-cop telling me that photographs were not allowed.  After a brief pleading on my part, he returned and told me photos were allowed only if they were taken in the opposite direction of the gambling activity. At least he reprimanded me in a pleasant manner.

After the meal and the gifts, about half of our party went home and the rest of us stuck around to play nickel slots (that would be stingy me) and blackjack (Daniel, Phil and Ron). We had a great time!  I noticed a dude that looked exactly like Mario Batali dealing at one of the tables and a Gary Sinise look-a-like playing at another table. Wow – celebrities! The pit boss looked like he came out of a movie, too – a sleezy crime drama character with a rug, a bad mustache dye job and a used car salesman suit from the late 70’s.

For the price, I was happy with the prime rib, but the sides were definitely lacking.  The atmosphere and service was pleasing enough but I cannot recommend it in good conscious.  As there was nothing else that caught my eye on the menu and the entree prices were a bit steep (except for the Thursday special), I don’t plan to come back for another meal. The blackjack, however…..

TWO FORKS

The French Quarter at Tri-State Racetrack & Gaming Center
#1 Greyhound Drive
Nitro, WV  25313
304-776-1000

French Quarter Restaurant and Lounge on Urbanspoon

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29 responses to “Even Your Meal is a Gamble – The French Quarter Restaurant

  1. WTF?! Well done prime rib with soggy, overcooked looking asparagus?!
    Looks horrible.
    And that horrid mess above . . . A1 is bad enough. Must have been a terrible steak to have to put so much garbage on it to eat.
    “not good. . . dry. . . edible. . . requires sharp knife. . . crappy and a rip off at $20”
    But OK at $14.99?! You gotta be kidding me.
    A “medium well” fillet? Would any cook/chef even perform such a recreant act?
    This place sounds like a train wreck.

    Billy’s will be opening with a much improved and slimmed down wait staff, a more finely tuned set of line cooks and other subtle improvements.
    I do hope that Bill does some advertising, but he has always been a mostly ‘word of mouth’ operator. You can get away with that downtown catering to the S. Hills crowd, but not out at S Ridge and the masses.

  2. Is it just me or does the picture in Tracey’s comment look vaguely obscene?

    I can’t imagine ordering a steak cooked more than medium rare and I like my filet and prime rib rare, so I can’t really rely much on the beef reviews. Even high quality beef (maybe especially high quality beef) loses its juiciness and flavor if you overcook it.

  3. I prefer a warm red center over a cold red center. My fillet was fine.

    People will disagree on how beef (and tuna) should be cooked until the end of time. Generally the eat it how their parents ate it. You’ll never convince them otherwise.

    Phil – Do you have a preference between wet aged and dry aged steaks?

  4. For the most part, it seemed like we were satisfied with our steaks. I ordered mine medium but received medium well. I am sure Ron ordered his rare (he always does) but that’s not what I saw on his plate. If ours had been cooked to order, we may have enjoyed them even more.

    As for Misty- well, she admitted that it was partly her fault for asking them to overcook her beef.

    I have to disagree with Daniel – at least in my case – my parents prefer their steaks cooked to resemble charcoal briquets. To each their own.

    I wonder how Tracey will respond to the alleged bread porn?

  5. Mr. Hillbilly-

    I agree with your confusion about Ron’s comments and subsequent rating – they don’t jive. I’d like to hear how he can justify that extra fork. (sound familiar? it should, Ron.)

  6. Unless you go to a high end restaurant dry aged beef unavailable, at least around here. Most of my beef is purchased at Johnny’s and eaten at home unless I am traveling, so 99% of what I eat is wet aged.

    I do think dry aged steaks are great but, to be honest, I’m not sure how much of that is the dry aging and how much of it is that places that serve dry aged meet simply have access to the best prime beef.

  7. Susan I am sure you ordered it medium well to well until your awakening. The question is when was the awakening? Did it happen in Atlanta? When did you start to sow your culinary oats?

    Or did your grandparent model proper beef ordering?

  8. Daniel-

    I did not care for steak until I tasted it at a lesser degree of doneness. I have never witnessed any family member order a steak below medium well.

    As for an awakening…you’re trying to make it sound dramatic like an oscar-winning film or something. It wasn’t. When you were typing that comment, were you reciting it in your mind using a phony British accent?

    It happened like this: my father is EXTREMELY picky. So my mom only prepared the foods he liked which stuck me eating the same things every week for my entire childhood. I never had lasagna, brownies, tacos, baked chicken, asian food or quiche in my parent’s home. The only veggies served were corn and green beans. (and, yes, they were either canned or cooked all day with some type of pork thrown into the pot)When I went to college, I began to realize there were a whole helluva lot of other foods out there to enjoy. Upon returning from college one semester I was told I had become a “snob”. Thanks for the compliment.

    It has been a long process, but I am getting there.

    Perhaps that’s why I am so averse to home cookin’ now???

  9. Well, I know it is a long process….Your still eating at Olive Garden! 😉

  10. Good comeback.

  11. demosthenes.or.locke

    Now I can’t tell which grammatical/punctuation/spelling errors are real, and which have simply been made to bring me out of the woodwork. Thanks, Ron!

    The food looks like crap, and it sounds like the service was garbage too. Steak well done is like tofurkey at thanksgiving- not real food!

    sagacioushillBILLy seems to have some inside information.

  12. Phil – Tracey won’t comment because I haven’t edited my comment on the last post, but she told to say:
    “sometimes a loaf of bread is just a loaf of bread”

    But she is holding a carrot in her avatar…

  13. It’s my rating. I don’t have to justify it.

    Three forks is average. I’ve had better but I’ve had worse.

  14. Wait. Back up. Billy’s is re-opening??

  15. About Billy’s: they say no decisions have been made but they are thinking about it. I wouldn’t mind eating some more of those onion rings. I think a more intimate, downtown location might suit them better. We don’t have anything reportable at this time, but we asked to be notified if something transpires.

  16. Yes, Billy’s is reopening soon. Besides the above mentioned, I hear he may be making better use of his bread guy.

    Gosh, I don’t know. . . Locke certainly spoke to individual freedom and against central power and Demosthenes believed in the accountability of leaders to their subjects. . . do I have to chose one?

  17. demosthenes.or.locke

    You had to go all wikipedia on us, didn’t you Sag? My name isn’t based on philosophers, its based on a children’s book I read with my son.

    The details of Susan’s culinary heritage is the most interesting thing in this post. Background like that is priceless when you are reading someone’s critiques of food, and interesting to boot.

  18. DorL, The background of my or anyone else’s critic is impertinent. Would you seek to know the background of your medic if you were lying on a gurney bleeding to death? Or the background of the person who impaled you? Useless trivialities all!

    Wikipedia is unacceptable as a scholarly citation, therefore it is not a part of my sagacious world.

    Sagaciously yours,
    Hillbilly

  19. Sag…

    Demos is all talk and no bite… refer to the Billy’s review (just to beat that dead horse one more time… I give soho a good review and he shuts down in two weeks….. THATS CULINARY CREDIBILITY… or lack there of, I can scare potential chefs into closting. “if Ron thinks we’re good we’re doing something wrong” PAUSE)

    I put the meet up out there. Hell even said I’d sit on his knee and talk about the first thing that pops up. Keep in mind I hope he / she doesn’t have bone problems as I’m pretty fat, and I don’t want to break any Osteoperosis…….

    had to add the “…….”

    legs.

    Demo, have we met….not officially, but maybe passed in a hall or on the street?

    😉

    Plus he gave a great hint.. Isn’t that right?… but of chorus Achilles never did conquer Earth. I’ve read a couple of those …. 2

    Come on lets have that beer, if you don’t drink, hell I can drink enough for both of us. We can discuss sabitinos, but if you insist, we can go to Ryans, Mickey D’s or somewhere else that we can wig out.

  20. “closing” not “closting” whatever the hell that is. I”m sure the Bud Light got in the way of that post.

    lol

    YES BUD LIGHT, not any SEIRRA NEVADA granola lover’s Pale Ale.

    Cheap Pounding American Beer.

    Anybody guess as to what is a true American way of making beer?

  21. I have to say, I’m glad I read this review. My husband and I have been dying to try this place but I’m glad we didn’t waste our money. That food looks horrible. We ate at the restaurant on the other side, First Turn, and it was disgusting. I’d rather skip dinner and spend my money on the blackjack table and that’s saying a lot because I like my food. If you’re looking for the perfect steak, and I know I’ll get criticized by some food snobs for this, go to Longhorn in Southridge. We ate there this evening and the filet abosolutely melted in my mouth. I’ve never had better service or a better meal in the area.

  22. Well, got roped into going to the “Seafood Buffet” at the French Quarter Rest. It was worse than the food in the pictures above looks.
    They had some decently cooked pealneat shrimp, a nice layout of smoked salmon and that was about it. Snow crab legs like you can get at any Chinese buffet, NO oysters, clam, mussels, etc., some bad seafood newburg, little deep fried crab balls made of cheap crab meat, some breaded mushy fish nuggets that were REALLY bland tasting. I asked the waitress for some extra horseradish and she came back with creamy horseradish sauce and said they didn’t have any regular horseradish. . . WTF?!
    At $22 it was a complete rip off. A $7.99, a deluxe platter at Captain Ds would have been a better representation of seafood and made me happier.
    Luckily I was there to be with good friends so it wasn’t all about the food.
    Scratch this place.

  23. demosthenes.or.locke

    All bark but no bite? How exactly am I supposed to “bite” over the internet, you halfwit?

    If you are again referencing my refusal to meet with you at mcdonalds, rally’s, or one of your other pathetic haunts, you can forget it. You have had one too many flavorless american see through american macrobrews if you think I’ll be seen in public with someone that puts cheezits in chef boyardee and actually calls that food.

    😉

  24. demosthenes.or.locke

    My repeated use of the word american was not a typo, but to emphasize my disdain.

  25. Great pictures…even if they almost got you thrown out. I always wondered how people would react to people taking pictures of their food.

    Celebrity look-alikes…the best we’ve got going for us in Charleston.

  26. Pingback: Beautiful Atmosphere but Disappointing Entrees – Aubrey’s Yorkshire Pub and Eatery « Fork You…

  27. Hello ALL!! I am the new Executive Chef at the French Quarter – Chef E Blackhursrt, and have been for the last 6 months. I have a brand new kitchen crew with many years of combined experience, and fresh ideas running rampant. I have a great current menu, all now made from scratch and house made. AND…a new menu in the works. I invite any and all of you to come down and give us another try. I personally promise that you will not be dissapointed. I appreciate your time! Sincerely, Chef E

  28. Yeah, I suggest trying the FQ again. The food in general has improved recently, and the seafood buffet has increased in quality even more.

  29. I’m sorry EVERY ONE had such a horrible experience there. I eat there several times a year when returning to WV to visit family and always have excellent food and service. Perhaps you need to step outside of WV to expand your pallet? In your blog description you say something along the lines of “only our opinion matters.” That is very off putting. But what makes me laugh is where you said you worry when several people order steak at the same table as you are afraid you will get the wrong one. Are you 2 years old and can’t bring it to the attention of your server? WV is a beautiful state but the people…lol…the want to be more than they are people.

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