Off the Rack

If The Tuxedo Room's food and service don't improve, it'll be curtains.

The wine list includes a few affordable bottles — especially from Australia and South America — but many selections fall into the splurge category. This isn't too surprising, considering that the Tuxedo Room also houses a paid-membership cigar room.

I don't like to mention service unless it's exemplary. Time cures most problems in new restaurants, and St. Louis has few restaurants where the service is meant to be a part of the show. But when bad service impacts my experience as often and as negatively as it did at the Tuxedo Room, I have to comment.

When my fiancée and I arrived before our friends, we were told "to belly up to the bar" while we waited — even though the dining room was almost empty and there were clearly no seats available at the bar. A busser was offended when she realized one of my dining companions wasn't going to finish a good, but large, salad: "What's the matter? You didn't like it?" Coffee was poured from the dregs of a carafe, then not replaced when a fresh pot was ready mere moments later. Upon leaving one night, the valet — a welcome necessity in Grand Center when both the Fox and Sheldon Concert Hall host events — pointed to where he had parked my car and handed me my keys.

Back to rehearsals? The food (and service) at the Tuxedo 
Room lacks finesse.
Jennifer Silverberg
Back to rehearsals? The food (and service) at the Tuxedo Room lacks finesse.

Details

The Tuxedo Room
522 North Grand Boulevard, 314-898-0400.
Hours: Lunch 11 a.m.-2 p.m. daily. Dinner 4:30 p.m.-1 a.m. daily (Limited “Terrace & Bar” menu available 11 a.m.-1 a.m. daily)

Ahi Center-Cut Tuna Tartare "$11
Crab cakes $16
Six-ounce "Tux Cut" Filet $22

I might not have minded had the food been memorable. But the Tuxedo Room seems less interested in being a great restaurant than in exploiting a great location, riding the kitschy trappings of Broadway "glamour" — the costumes, the caricatures, a water tank in which floats a bottle of "bubbling" Champagne — rather than focusing on the fastidious attention to detail in the kitchen and on the floor that can make a diner feel glamorous, if only for a few hours.

As such, the Tuxedo Room made little impression on me. I didn't laugh. I didn't cry. If nothing else, though, it was better than Cats.

Have a suggestion for a restaurant the Riverfront Times should review? E-mail cafe@riverfronttimes.com.

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