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Kitchen Nightmares at Gordon Ramsay

October 14, 2009
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Here’s an idea for the next season of Kitchen Nightmares.

Perhaps Gordon Ramsay can come in and fix his ex restaurant.

To be fair, I never ate at Gordon Ramsay at The London while it was still under his ownership but I had heard very good things. Good enough for Michelin to give it one star.

All I can say is the new management must be relieved Michelin isn’t publishing a 2010 Los Angeles guide as I’d be surprised if they held on to that star.

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There were some positives. The space is stunning. Opulent and romantic and luxurious. All leather and gold and chandeliers and soft muted tones. The service is still top notch, befitting its Michelin status. And, of course, the company of good friends.

But the food. The food was nothing short of disappointing.

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Starting with the pan roasted scallops with caper raisin purée, cauliflower purée and cauliflower beignets, the scallops were, frankly, tasteless. Okay, maybe not tasteless but lacking the sweetness and flavor you would expect of a top quality scallop. These were honestly no better than the frozen scallops you’ll find at Trader Joes, which for frozen scallops are pretty good but, hey, I don’t see TJs proudly displaying their Michelin plaque. The caper raisin purée, for me, was incongruous. The saltiness of the caper and the sweetness of the raisin just didn’t harmonize and it didn’t do much to elevate the scallop itself. The cauliflower “beignets” were really just small pieces of fried cauliflower. Not exactly what I think of as a beignet. The cauliflower purée was good, however. But really, I was there for the scallop, not the purée.

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I followed this with the pork chop with pomme purée and thyme sauce. The pork chop was disappointingly dry and tough. Not inedibly so – some of my dining companions enjoyed theirs – but I’ve had much better pork chops at far lesser establishments. The mashed potatoes were, however, quite good. Creamy and thick. But again, I was there for the protein, not the side.

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I finished with the blueberry cheesecake with dulche de leche sauce. The cheesecake was good. Simple, baked and unadorned except for a few stewed blueberries. But the bottom crust of the cheesecake was delicious. Sweet and just dense enough to feel substantial but still flaky. Probably the single best component of the whole meal. But when the pastry crust is the best part of a meal, that can’t be a good thing.

On the plus side, I do have to say that their wine list by the glass was very good, albeit expensive. I had an excellent Santa Barbara viognier and a very reasonable muscat with dessert. But, in total, the alcohol total for the table was more than the total for food.

On our way home, one of my dining companions wanted to stop at In-N-Out. Perhaps if we’d done that to begin with, I’d have saved a couple of hundred dollars.

As Gordon Ramsay himself would say, “I’ve had enough! SHUT IT DOWN!”

Gordon Ramsay at The London West Hollywood
1020 N San Vicente Blvd
West Hollywood, CA 90069
(310) 358-7788

Gordon Ramsay at The London Hotel in Los Angeles

Gordon Ramsay at the London on Urbanspoon

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11 Comments leave one →
  1. Edgar permalink
    October 14, 2009 11:24 am

    Very funny Linden.

  2. October 14, 2009 2:22 pm

    agreed. came here and wasn’t too pleased with the food. the blueberry cheesecake looks divine tho. and great pix!

  3. October 14, 2009 7:20 pm

    Nice work, sir!

  4. October 15, 2009 5:42 am

    I have avoided it since Elvis left the building. Thanks for taking the bullet and reporting in on its unworthiness.

    • October 22, 2009 1:23 am

      Liz, be fair about this…Elvis wouldn’t step into this building. Hahaha.

      Great job my man on your new blog! Love the entries so far. Keep up the great job as I think the work has been beautiful so far!

  5. French Guy permalink
    October 30, 2009 7:38 pm

    Yea, I watch Gordon be an ass on TV and it is just that, TV.

    But the restaurants that “bear his name” have no consistent quality. I come from a family of 4 M stars and we would not ever deliver less than perfection.

    I agree, I have visited the above restaurants and quality is not top of the list. Worse, when I sent a dish back (Ordered Lamb medium rare – delivered medium well or worse) I was told that I had no pallet and that i DID NOT BELONG in the restaurant.

    I think GR can cook. Frankly so can I, just as well. But, I cannot reproduce success in my kitchen or my business simply by branding.

    Gordon, I would love to be an invited guest next season in LA dining room. It would be great to show a guy like me how I know nothing. Actually, I would consider myself an amateur with skills. So how about that as a subtext in your next season?

    Bill

    • November 2, 2009 1:55 pm

      Bill, out of curiosity, can I ask which restaurants your family runs?

      • French Guy permalink
        November 3, 2009 10:22 am

        I am not inclined to start “Restaurant Wars”.

        But I will volunteer that I have eaten all over the world and in many fine restaurants – some not so fine too.

        Restaurants can have “off” nights. But, when I tell my server that my food is unsatisfactory I am not expecting to be told I have no palate. That is what upsets me.

        GR makes good TV but does not fairly represent the typical owner. I have rarely seen a top chef throw tantrums as he does – I think that the attitude got to front of house. Not a good example of how to show respect to staff or customers.

  6. Thegirl permalink
    November 12, 2009 10:03 pm

    At least Gastronomnom had a full meal. Mine was so tiny that I snacked on bread the whole evening to fill up which wasn’t a success. I was sorely disappointed that our table was served such tiny portions because we ordered off of the DineLA menu while the table to the left of us was getting served food that seemed like it came from another kitchen altogether. Needless to say I will not be back.

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