This is a copy of an email I sent to Mike and Jimmy's Chophouse on March 6, 2008. I have not heard back from them yet and at this point do not expect to. This incident was basically the reason Brian and I began this blog.
My husband and I recently moved to Florence, KY for my job and the one thing I like about Florence is the great selection of restaurants. We found a place we like to get BBQ, a place we like to get Mexican, a place we like to get finger food and a place we like to get Chinese... but after a few months of living here, we still hadn't found a good steak house. We went to Lone Star with low expectations and had a worse meal than we had even thought we would have, we went to Texas Road House and had a great meal, but we had to eat it while a couple let their toddler roll around on the floor yelling ten feet away... and the one thing I can't stand is that in order to get a steak at most places you have to do so with cow skulls and mexican blankets hanging all over the walls around you. We kept thinking, "Is there really no place around here to get a good steak where we don't have to be subject to the pitfalls of chain restaurant complacency and crazy cowboy themes where everything has the word cactus in the title and weird southwest seasonings? Can't we just go someplace that looks nice, has good service and serves us a good steak?"
We found Mike and Jimmy's Chophouse by accident one night. We were driving around town aimlessly, trying to find a place to get a good meal and just happened to drive by. I saw the sign, thought it looked very nice from the outside and we went in. Our waiter told us about the specials, described each one, told us how the food was prepared and answered all of our questions. He was great and when our food came out, we were very excited. We like to order our steaks medium rare and for some reason, this is an issue with some restaurants. It seems like the steaks are never cooked just right. I feel like if I ask for medium rare, it should come as described on the menu. Let me tell you, both of our steaks were the most perfect steaks either of us have ever seen. Perfection. It was like a work of art. From the front to the back, from the edges to the center, these steaks were a perfect medium rare. We were very pleased to have found our new steak house.
I went to work the next day and told all of my friends that this was the place they needed to go. We even told some of our friends from where we moved from in Ohio that they would have to drive down some time so that we could all go out to eat there because it was the best steak we'd ever had.
Last week, we went to Mike and Jimmy's again. I have waited a week to write this letter because I wanted to make sure I would still feel the same way a week after the experience and didn't write something out of haste. Unfortunately, I do feel the same as I did when I left Friday night.
I had just gotten off work, and it had been a long week. My husband met me at my job and asked what I wanted to do for dinner. I told him I knew exactly what I wanted and we headed to Mike and Jimmy's to get a fabulous steak like the ones we'd been craving since our first visit. Our waiter was great, again he was very nice, had great knowledge of the menu items and was very very personable. He took the time to talk with us a bit and made us feel good about our choice to come to the establishment that afternoon.
We ordered our steaks, the same as the last and he made a point to take down the note that I would prefer my plate without garnish, something most waiters tell me they will do for me, but overlook when the time comes.
Our plates came out, and the presentation was lovely, as it was the first time we ate there, but when we cut into our steaks, they were overcooked. They were certainly not medium rare. Our waiter was very apologetic and said he had never seen a steak come out cooked wrong there. I made the remark that the last steaks we had there was amazing and that I was sorry to complain, but they had set the bar pretty high with our first visit to then serve us an overcooked meal.
Our plates were whisked away and a few moments later were returned with new steaks (same side dishes, however). The waiter asked us to cut into them to make sure they were better this time, he and I both looked at mine and were sort of unsure that it was good enough, he commented that the lighting in that section was poor and that maybe it just looked odd because of that. I said I didn't want to be a pain and send back a second plate and that it would be fine. We started to eat and a gentleman who appeared to be a manager walked up and just kind of stood by our table for a moment. Then he asked if these steaks were better. We made a comment that they weren't as good as the ones we had the first visit we made to the restaurant. He made no attempt to apologize and in a very rude way seemed insulted that we would suggest the food was not good. He barely said anything to us and just kind of walked off. It was kind of awkward and made us feel unwelcome. Shortly after this our waiter came out and apologized again, telling us he would bring us a free dessert.
To be honest, our steaks were bland. They didn't seem perfectly cooked and as I said before, the bar was set so high by our previous experience that this was a disappointment in comparison.
I suppose my biggest issue is that I hate going someplace if I don't know what I'm going to get. I have now had two experiences at the establishment. One good and one bad. This tells me that I have a 50/50 chance of having an amazing meal or a sub par meal. My husband and I work very hard for our money. He runs a recording studio and manage a music store. We work hard all day and rather than going home and spending more time and energy cooking, we like to go out, sit back, enjoy a comfortable environment and have a good quality meal where we know it's going to be good. I don't like to gamble with my dining experiences. I like to find a place and stick with it.
When my corporate managers came into town they asked me if there was a good place in town to get steak, I told them there was a Texas Roadhouse down the street from our store, they looked at me and said "Please, a REAL steakhouse." and I told them to go to Mike and Jimmy's... best place in town. Now if they go there and have a bad meal, how does that make me look?
Like I said, I waited a week to write this, just so that I could be sure I wasn't writing to hastily, but my opinion hasn't changed.
I wanted to bring this experience to someone's attention.
Have a good day,