On Thursday evening, Sweet Cheeks and I dined at Captain and the Cowboy Restaurant in Port Charlotte, FL. This restaurant was recently given a make-over on the Food Network show “Restaurant Impossible“. Chef Robert Irvine comes into struggling restaurants, spends $10,000 over 2 days, and makes improvements. We had watched the episode where the restaurant received a makeover and had looked forward to having a little brush with celebrity, so to speak.
We had eaten at this establishment many years ago and we both recalled enjoying our meal. This new and “improved” restaurant – not so much. We both remembered the old restaurant being dark, crowded, cluttered looking and very casual. The new restaurant had a much cleaner, crisper look. Here’s my take on the dinner.
We arrived and the interior of the restaurant was much as we had seen on the episode that had aired. The subdued colors, clean lines, and understated decorations had a calming, but welcoming effect. The one drawback: the ceiling was absolutely disgusting. Dingy, yellowed ceiling tiles were dotted with rusted vent covers.
We ordered drinks – Miller Light for him (chosen from the list of beers our server recited), a glass of Riesling for me. Uh Oh, out of Miller Light. Fortunately, Sweet Cheeks likes a variety of beers so he chose another. My Riesling was just on the room temperature side of “chilled”. Not cold and crisp like I like it. But I drank it because, hey, it was there and so was I. We tried to order dinner. Sweet Cheeks ordered crab cakes and wanted a salad, but unlike his tastes in beer, he can only eat one salad dressing – Thousand Island. They don’t have it – scratch the salad. He wanted soup, but the soup of the day was cabbage. Sweet Cheeks doesn’t do cabbage. He ended up reluctantly ordering baked beans and french fries for his sides. Our server stated she could not substitute the crab bisque for his soup without charging him the full price of the bisque, but she did not check with the manager as he requested.
I ordered Tuscan Brick Chicken, baked potato and fresh asparagus. Uh Oh, the manager came over to inform us, no chicken and it will take an additional 30 minutes (or so) to have some ready. I chose the sesame tuna instead. The manager offered a free glass of wine for my trouble, but since it wasn’t satisfying to me to begin with, I declined. I requested a cup of the crab bisque instead. He gladly brought our complimentary soup – a large bowl and 2 spoons. It was heavenly. I was afraid to even eat anything after that for fear it would be a let down. That’s how good it was.
Our food arrived. My tuna serving was very small (for $21) but it was cooked to perfection and it was quite delicious. However, I did not get my asparagus and had to ask another server to find our server so that it could be brought from the kitchen. It arrived about the time I was 2/3 done with my meal.
Sweet Cheeks liked the crab cakes – but his baked beans appeared to be pork and beans from a can. He took several bites trying to determine if they were Bush’s or Van De Kamps, and while he couldn’t determine the brand, he did determine that they were definitely pork and beans. From a can.
There were 2 televisions (on 2 different stations) that were on that were visible from the center of the dining room we were seated in. I found that to be a little annoying. I had been looking at the dessert menu and wanted a piece of cheesecake, but I heard another server tell her customers that they were out of cheesecake, as well.
We dined on a Thursday evening – and the restaurant was not at all busy (it is not quite tourist season here in Florida). I can understand not keeping a large inventory on hand, but the Captain and the Cowboy were out of a lot of things. The menu was considerably pared down – 1 sheet printed on plain white paper (I remembered it being multiple pages with a dizzying array of choices before).
Our server, Malia, was friendly and professional. Some of the food was extremely good – and some was simply not up to par. Being out of the limited items that were offered seemed like poor management, and serving canned pork and beans – simply inexcusable.
If I eat there again, I will probably get the crab bisque – and I’ll probably get it to go…
- Restaurant Impossible (ourdinnertable.wordpress.com)