Tuesday, September 16, 2008

Woes of High End Resto Patrons in Stamford

I had to chuckle at this line in an Advocate article about how diners at high end restos are coping with our troubled economy:
Since the start of the economy's downturn, customer visits haven't tapered off at Polpo, a high-end Italian eatery in Greenwich, but patrons are pinching pennies on expensive items, such as wine... Customers who would typically buy a bottle of wine for about $150 a year ago are now opting for the $75 bottles, he said. Hee hee! I'm giggling. "Pinching pennies!"

Some of the less outrageous examples gave me pause: Area restaurants also are adjusting their menus to cater to worried customers. Ferrante has started offering a reduced price lunch menu and brunch. "Reduced price menu..." yeah. OK. I'm not being mean here; I think it's funny. If I were a regular at Ferrante, I'd appreciate this. I've been once. It was a nice Italian resto, but nothing about it jumped out at me, except for the high noise level and terrifyingly large diamond rings on a bunch of women at the bar. (Parents from a Darien elementary school- no, I'm not joking, I actually asked.)

Bennett's Steak and Fish also has vague plans to adjust their menu: Bennett's wants to make its menu a little more "user-friendly," which owner Bennett Salvatore said will mean adjusting "to the economy and (providing) our diners with as many options as we can." I'd be curious what he comes up with. Pasta? Smaller meat portions?

I'm eating out less these days, mostly because I'm tired of eating mediocre food at high prices. Plus, it just makes sense to save cash if you're not totally excited about what you are spending it on.

Here's what I recommend if you want some Italian food: store-bought pasta with Paul Newman's Sockarooni Spaghetti sauce. It's so good. Or, cut up an organic tomato from Mrs. Green's (swear to Goodness organic veggies taste better) and put some feta on it. I know feta is Greek, but it's easier to deal with than mozzarella and gives you more bang for the calories. That's what I'm eating incessantly this week.

Or, for cheap Italian out, go eat at Capriccio on Bedford. I eat there so much that I'm tired of it, but it's always tasty.

I'm getting ready for the season premier of Biggest Loser tonight! I highly suggest you all check it out if you have any slight interest in exercise, food, or other people trying to lose weight. I'm totally into all of those things, so I am totally addicted to the show.

20 comments:

themommykelly said...

Very interesting. I like that restaurants are taking the recession into consideration. However, let's remember, it's all about them keeping their businesses going, not some unselfish attempt to "help" their customers.

I guess eating out has become a luxury for alot of people these days. I know it has with themommykelly household.

Anonymous said...

You ain't seen nothing yet. Check back in 6 months..many restaurants will be out of busienss. We are in unprecedented times. This has not sunk in yet. Stocks will be down another 20-40%. People will lose nest eggs.

Anonymous said...

Penny wise, dollar foolish

I be the real penny pinching is happening at the end of the dinner (i.e. the tip)

patty said...

It doesn't seem to matter how much you and two of my immediate blood relatives recommend Capriccio. I can't seem to find a reason to go! Tell me, is it kid friendly?

fairfieldcountychild.com said...

yes patty!! capricio is very kid friendly but only if you sit outside (they have cozy heat lamps so you can sit outside well into the cooler weather). they don't have a kids' menu, per se, but plenty of pizzas, pastas, etc that my daughter loves. sitting inside is great for a casual adult dinner for two, but it's very cramped and loud when crowded.

patty said...

Thanks M! I am always on the hunt for places we can go and have a meal that leaves everyone happy. Unfortunately those restaurants are few & far between for us..

fairfieldcountychild.com said...

you're welcome patty. here are some more good ideas from some of my readers....

http://fairfieldcountychild.blogspot.com/2008/04/really-kid-friendly-restaurants.html

Irene said...

And you can probably buy those $75 bottles for $20 in the liquor store . . .

Anonymous said...

was thinking the same thing when I read the article. As for Italian eateries reacting to our current economic downturn, I saw that Quattro Pazzi on Hope Street has a $8.99 lunch special for pot luck lunch.

newcanaanbranch.com said...

Hear, hear on Stamford's proliferation of mediocre expensive restaurants... big, big fan of Capricio though.

Dora said...

I feel the same way about restaurants these days. I used to love to go out and try different restaurants, but now hate the thought of spending a lot of $$ for poor quality food. I've loved Capriccio's for years!! Myrna's in Stamford is also great if you like Middle Eastern food.

Anonymous said...

Been to Myrnas 3X in the past and each time ended up with an upset stomach the next day (not because of overeating)> Food is decent though.

Anonymous said...

What expensive restaurants in Stamford are mediocre? Just curious to hear someone from New Canaan's point of view...since New Canaan the HOME of expensive culinary mediocrity.

newcanaanbranch.com said...

Ah, don't let the user name deceive you. I live in the Springdale section of Stamford and ride the New Canaan Branch of Metro-North into the city (also write the blog NewCanaanBranch.com).

So you’ll get no argument out of me on New Canaan. Though, I would recommend the Villarina’s Italian food store there which is run by a Springdale family who live next to me.

Jeff Herz - My View of the World said...

just goes to show how out of touch this newspaper is with the community

newcanaanbranch.com said...

Hey, that's not fair. The Advocate's reporters and editors knock themselves out for this town for practically no pay and just got destroyed by Media News Group, a rotten corporation that acquires newspapers, strangles them and leaves dead husks behind. It’s a remarkable newspaper for a city our size, they even have a Pulitzer under their belt, and we’re just lucky we don’t have some horrible Gannett monstrosity covering the whole county.

Jonathan "JR" said...

OK, I'm not the only one who got a tummyache from Myrna's "cuisine." Layla's > Myrna's.

Whitemist said...

tummy aches at myrna's might not be what you think. Sadly, many of us think food poisoning, when it is really a reaction to a different blend of spices. True food poisoning will leave you on the toilet and not wanting to eat for several days and may send you to the hospital. The biggest thing I think of when I think of middle eastern food is the blend of raw garlic is their sauces and I love garlic, but raw garlic will get me evy time!

Anonymous said...

Wouldn't be surprised to see many of the high-end restaurants close in the next year. This would include Duo, Market, Ferrante, SWG. The only one I see being immune from this would be Napa & Co., only because I walk by it every night with the dogs and it's always friggin packed. And I guess as long as people are in the hotel, they have to eat somewhere. I assume Napa does the room service?

But for the others, what a shame it would be.

Anonymous said...

Stamford is the king of super expensive ordinary food. Unless you are talking about Remo, which is better than most for 1/2 price.