Vincent Farnsworth 6:31 p.m., Dec. 4
Had dinner at Flemings Steakhouse last night. It was lovely, as usual. As far as downtown steak places, I think Flemings & Mortons are the tops. I was unimpressed with Donovan's. Flemings now has a Spring price fixe menu. Many restaurants are using the price fixe as a way to lure customers.
The lousy economy has hit the restaurant business pretty hard. Now would be the time for discounts, generous (not measured pour) glasses of wine, extra attention to service.
I have made this suggestion before, but the downtown restaurants should really consider giving a discount to downtown residents. The prices are high due to tourism and conventions. Living downtown is expensive & a discount would go a long way to getting "us" to go out more often. Cohn Restaurants have been using special menus to lure customers. Since I really enjoy going out, I have placed my e-mail address on many restaurant websites, ensuring that I will receive information on promotions. Another good thing is the Downtown (there is also an Uptown version) magazine. This publication is quarterly and contains coupons for restaurants. It has become very popular with local residents. Just recently, I had breakfast with 2 friends and each of us had brought a coupon! Most restaurants offer 2 for one deals and that is a big incentive. There are a few rather innocuous (for the restaurant) "deals". If the coupon is loaded with details, it likely will not save you much.
Richard Walker's is a perfect example. We had a coupon for what appeared to be a free apple pancake (the specialty), with the purchase of another meal. When we got the check, the discount had not been applied. It just so happened that Mr. Walker was there and he came over to the table to explain. He was almost hostile, pointing out the asterisk and advising he would never give away his signature pancake. He refused to change the bill & even pointed out that the other meal should not count as it was not listed as an entree on the menu. Needless to say, we have not returned and that restaurant is on our "Do not go" list.
I also use Open Table to make reservations & I have found that many restaurants use this service. You get points that translate into dining checks (2000 points = $20.00). You get 100 points for each reservation (you must actually eat at the restaurant). There are also 1000 point deals. Check out their website for details: OpenTable.com
On Friday, I will be checking out the new 'value meal' at Petco Park! I know you will be awaiting my review!