Mall Pall

Here we go again with another corporate catch-all food emporium that over-promises and under-delivers in almost all areas.

One word describing the Carmel experience is awkward. It is awkward…

…in a half-empty restaurant to be told to hang around the hostess’s station while they find a table. Real restaurants invite you to the bar to order a drink, from which someone escorts you to your seats.

It is awkward when a guest asks the waiter for a very specific (and readily available) wine recommendation, only for it to become painfully obvious that the waiter knows no difference between sauternes and syrah. You canNOT call yourself any kind of wine establishment unless your staff is all trained or you spring for full-time sommeliers.

It is furthermore awkward when one’s European-born dining companion receives her “Moroccan Chicken” which has, at plate center right, an entire broccoli stalk. Yes, please enjoy your complete, cut off at the main artery, six-inch piece of fibrous trunk, four-fifths of which most people consider scrap.

Remove the clunky iPad bizarreness – which the waiter snatched from us to more swiftly place our order anyway – and you’re left with…a very nice dining room. Which we were savoring after our meal when suddenly all the lights went up in exactly the same way as at the end of the movie.

A bad one.