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Tornado: changes not for the better?

Where are you eating and what do you think? What's opening, closing, succeeding, failing?

Re: Tornado: changes not for the better?

Postby supaunknown » Tue May 04, 2010 2:23 pm

oh Crotchett ...

I've heard good things about Joe's. Like Ruth's Cris, they have locations in several cities.

I love a great steak. Sometimes everything (meat, fire, seasoning, hunger, etc.) just comes together perfectly.

Sorry to hear about the so-so experience at the Tornado. A dining institution like that has to be careful not to grow cocky and complacent. I agree that just a few personnel changes can equal huge differences in service and food quality.
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Re: Tornado: changes not for the better?

Postby Prof. Wagstaff » Tue May 04, 2010 2:25 pm

Crockett wrote:Try Joe's Stone Crab in Chicago and then tell me Tornado and Smokeys are good.

OK, let's talk crab, 'cuz frankly, it's probably my favorite food.
I've eaten at Joe's Stone Crab (it's amazing) and I've also had crab on both coasts and in Europe. The crab legs at The Tornado are easily some of the best I've ever had, which is pretty damn impressive considering the distance they have to travel to get here.

I'm more confused by your characterization that the appetizers are "tired". After all, they're mostly just standards -- a steak house without shrimp cocktail would just be bizarre, doncha think? -- but are you telling me you don't think the Coquille Saint Jaques is fantastic? 'Cuz... jeez... my mouth is watering just thinking about it. Either way, the standard apps. are all very well done at the Tornado and I can't say I've ever wished for something all that different. What do you expect, exactly?


Really, my one complaint about The Tornado (and it's a very minor one) is that ridiculous "chunk" salad. I've had it at other supposedly high-end restaurants too and I'm always struck by the laziness of it all. But then, their French-Roquefort dressing is sublime, so I forgive.

I'm going to The Tornado tomorrow night to celebrate my 1-yr. anniversary with my sweetheart. I promise to report back here as to the quality of the service and food (she'll be getting steak, if I know her.)
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Re: Tornado: changes not for the better?

Postby Crockett » Tue May 04, 2010 2:32 pm

supaunknown wrote:I've heard good things about Joe's. Like Ruth's Cris, they have locations in several cities.


Joe's has 3 locations. Ruth's Cris (sic) is McDonalds.
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Re: Tornado: changes not for the better?

Postby swoon_queen » Tue May 04, 2010 2:49 pm

Getting back to the origin of this thread, I have to say that when I first stumbled upon it, on Saturday morning, I was midway through quickly typing a response when my daughter pulled the plug on my computer so I'd go enjoy the nice weather with her.

(And I did. And it was lovely. And it reminded me that there are far far far more important things than restaurants or online forums. unfortunately office life doesn't remind me of this very often...)

But! I was in the middle of agreeing with mvalfierno. We had dinner at Tornado last Tuesday night. We'd intended to go to Osteria Papavero or Magnus, but there seemed to be an incident involving crazy loud incessant jackhammering just outside their doors. So we thought where better to go than a standby, and we went to Tornado.

Our mains were spectacular as always. I had the perfectly medium rare venison; my boyfriend had the Gulf shrimp. However, the service had definitely slipped from previous visits-- our waitress admitted to only remembering what two of the reds by the glass tasted like and was, overall, inattentive. The bread was stale, the veggies didn't show up, and despite not ordering apps, our entrees took almost an hour to get to the table (they were accompanied by a hesitant apology). Plus the ladies' room was a mess, which surprised me.

We left full and happy, but the conversation we had in the car on the way home was echoed in mvalniero's comments.

That said, I'm sure that the Tornado will continue to thrive. I hope it does-- although I agree that Sardine and Lombardino's are great, the food at Tornado, in my experience has always been more consistent.
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Re: Tornado: changes not for the better?

Postby Ducatista » Tue May 04, 2010 2:52 pm

Crockett wrote:(sic)

sic rhymes with dick for a reason.
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Re: Tornado: changes not for the better?

Postby rrnate » Tue May 04, 2010 2:56 pm

Ducatista wrote:
Crockett wrote:(sic)

sic rhymes with dick for a reason.


I'm hoping for some (hopefully hilarious) elaboration here.
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Re: Tornado: changes not for the better?

Postby Ducatista » Tue May 04, 2010 3:25 pm

Sorry, got nothing. I just think it's just a pompous, toolbag maneuver on a forum.
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Re: Tornado: changes not for the better?

Postby jjoyce » Tue May 04, 2010 3:30 pm

Especially as it pertains to the nonsensical "Ruth's Chris" name.

Who is this Ruth? And does she own this Chris? And why do either of them claim ownership of Barry Alvarez's restaurant? And why did Barry by an RC when he could have just opened a "Barry Alvarez's Steak Joint" and it probably would have done better?
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Re: Tornado: changes not for the better?

Postby fisticuffs » Tue May 04, 2010 3:44 pm

And why did Barry by an RC when he could have just opened a "Barry Alvarez's Steak Joint" and it probably would have done better?


Becasue his involvement in the Ruth's Chris probably ended after he wrote a big check to the franchise. Had he opened his own he would have had to do a lot of work.

Ruth's Chris should contain a (sic) no matter how you spell it. If Crocket wants to complain about rip off steak joints that would be a more agreeable target.
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Re: Tornado: changes not for the better?

Postby TheBookPolice » Tue May 04, 2010 3:53 pm

Chris's Steak House was a NOLA institution, as I recall. When Mr. Chris died/sold/whatever, there was a contingency put in place that it could not be expanded as Chris's Steak House in any market except NOLA. Thus, the woman who purchased it (Ruth) skirted (see what I did there) the prohibition by adding her name to the front.

Thus, the horribly mushmouthed name of Ruth's Chris Steak House.

This is all from memory. A quick trip to Wikipedia would probably remedy any errors of recollection.

EDIT: Had it all pretty much correct except that it was always a singular, non-possessive "Chris": Chris Steak House. And the limitation was all the way down to the original storefront, not just the NOLA market at-large.
Last edited by TheBookPolice on Tue May 04, 2010 4:00 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: Tornado: changes not for the better?

Postby supaunknown » Tue May 04, 2010 3:56 pm

jjoyce wrote:Especially as it pertains to the nonsensical "Ruth's Chris" name.

Who is this Ruth? And does she own this Chris? And why do either of them claim ownership of Barry Alvarez's restaurant? And why did Barry by an RC when he could have just opened a "Barry Alvarez's Steak Joint" and it probably would have done better?

My guess is that he prefers not to worry about the steak house affecting his reputation like it might if his name were on the door. Plus what fisticuffs said - that it would equal a whole lot more work for him personally.

Y'ever see his strange little cigar-smoking room at the west side Ruth's? Like a panic room with football memorabilia.
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Re: Tornado: changes not for the better?

Postby narcoleptish » Wed May 05, 2010 8:38 am

supaunknown wrote: Like a panic room with football memorabilia.


That's funny. I'll have to stop in and use the bathroom so I can check it out. Do you need a UW parking permit to go there?
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Re: Tornado: changes not for the better?

Postby john_titor » Wed May 05, 2010 6:56 pm

I was never much for the Tornado. It seemed decent and dependable, especially when someone else was paying.

narcoleptish wrote:I'm sorry to hear about your sub-par dinner but I'm gonna threadjack this a little... And was it so good that you went home that night and immediately posted about it? It's just a curious human nature thing to me, how anger and disappointment are so much more motivating in certain situations. I do it too.


My current stance is to try and not start a thread based on a negative review. I reckoned if everyone adopted this strategy, the lack of any review would be as bad as those negative.

As the righteousness pours from my behind, let it be known I have tried Smoky's at least four times, including on another's dime and do not have a lot of nice things to say. I did have a steak a couple of summers back at L'Etoile that was awesome. (See, positive!)
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Re: Tornado: changes not for the better?

Postby Stebben84 » Wed May 05, 2010 9:04 pm

john_titor wrote:As the righteousness pours from my behind, let it be known I have tried Smoky's at least four times, including on another's dime and do not have a lot of nice things to say. I did have a steak a couple of summers back at L'Etoile that was awesome. (See, positive!)


I've been to Smoky's about 4 times as well and I can say 3 out of the four times were very good. Not the best I've had, but I liked the atmosphere and the service was great. This, to me, is a big part of the dining experience. I can cook a wicked steak at home for much less than these places charge, but eating out has more to do than the food. If you don't know how to cook, then it's a different story I guess.

Smoky's and the Tornado Room have been around for a while. They've stood the test of time in a town of very finicky eaters. There's something to be said about that.

Ducatista wrote:Sorry, got nothing. I just think it's just a pompous, toolbag maneuver on a forum.


I agree.
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Re: Tornado: changes not for the better?

Postby mvalfierno » Tue Jul 13, 2010 1:57 pm

Going back to Tornado again this weekend. Looking forward to it. Hope everything comes together well. :D
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