Two days ago, Sunday night, I had the pleasure of having dinner with Monorail Man and Shocker Batman at Disneyland. Looking for something new, Monorail Man suggested trying out the new menu at the PCH Grill. Collectively, we were not fans of PCH Grill but decided to give the new-ISH menu a chance.
My background: Customer service since I was 16, food and beverage for 8+ years.
We walked up to the podium and were greeted by no one. Shortly, a cast member walked up and ignored us, busy with paperwork. Not a problem; he was probably busy. But a nice, "I'll be with you shortly," would have been customary. Not even a hello was offered. The manager walked up after a minute, greeted us and said we'd be seated shortly. We were seated at our table then promptly ignored for quite some time. Ten minutes plus? Our server eventually walked over and looked bored and uninterested. He made it seem like it was a chore to take our order.
Monorail Man ordered the Shrimp Macaroni and Cheese with a side of french fries. Shocker Batman had the cheese pizza and I ordered the Santa Maria Tri-Tip. When it came to my sides, the menu said seasonal vegetables and chef's choice potatoes. My sides for that particular night were mashed potatoes and squash; I dislike both. I asked for replacement options and decided on green beans and french fries.
The food came out promptly, brought by a server who was not our waiter. My plate had french fries and squash for sides. I immediately told the server, who was not our server, about the mistake. The manager VERY QUICKLY brought over a plate with green beans on it. (Where was our real server?) Monorail Man and I both bit into our french fries and discovered REALLY old and stale fries.
Now, I know what you're thinking. We are being too critical. They are theme park french fries. I gotta tell you; I've eaten a lot of french fries. Frozen, fresh, truffle oiled, simply salted...I don't discriminate. These fries were AWFUL. They tasted like they had been sitting under the heat lamp for an hour. Monorail Man and I were really disgusted.
Shocker Batman, who slings french fries nine hours a day, took a taste and agreed that the fries were awful. He said that it can take less time then an hour for them to taste like that, but they were absolutely stale and sat out of the fryer much longer then they should have.
Our server swung by our table and asked us how everything was. Monorail Man shared his and my thoughts about the french fries. Our server said he would "tell the kitchen." As the server didn't indicate he was actually going to do anything for us, such as replace the side dish, Monorail Man asked him to see if we could have some fresh french fries. A few minutes later the manager brought us two new plates of fries. He waited for us to try them (classy) and they were MUCH, MUCH better. The manager said he was happy the fries were better and left.
Regarding the other food items, Shocker Batman said his pizza was "as expected, mediocre." Monorail Man liked his Macaroni and Cheese. I tried it; it was tasty with a strong garlic flavor. But the texture was weird. Usually, when you make a sauce based mac n' cheese, you make a roux (flour and butter) and add milk and cheese after the flour cooks off. PCH's had a gritty, sandy texture with a strong flour taste. My guess is that there was additional flour added after the roux phase to thicken the sauce. This is undesirable as adding the flour late in the process means that the flour doesn't cook properly and leads to undesirable flavors and textures.
Or. I could be wrong. And there is some other reason it had a weird texture.
The tri-tip was surprisingly delicious. Really nice carmelization on the outside and it WAS medium rare like I ordered. Good flavor and didn't even need the A-1 sauce I asked for. The green beans were completely unseasoned. Cooked well, not mushy or undercooked. But no salt, lemon, olive oil, nothing. Monorail Man pointed out that they were probably the kids' vegetable and purposely unseasoned. I added salt and pepper from the shakers on the table.
Our waiter wandered by later on, not heading to our table, but I called him over and said, "Thank you for the french fries. They were much better." He seemed mostly uninterested, but said, with no sincerity at all, "I'm glad your happy." Well, I tried. :\
About fifteen minutes into the meal, Shocker Batman told us all to try the FRESH french fries again and see how stale we thought they were in comparison to the ones that were originally brought. Yes, fifteen minutes in, the "fresh" fries were slightly stale, but not NEARLY as stale as the first round was. That disturbed us greatly as we then immediately mused on how old the first round must have been much older then 15 minutes. Shocker Batman agreed.
My tri tip plate cost $19. Was it worth $19? No. I'd put it around $14 with the quality of the sides and the size of the meat. Shocker Batman's pizza cost around $10. He wouldn't eat this pizza by choice, only if he was with a group that wanted to eat at PCH. Monorail Man wasn't too specific but declared he didn't feel a need to come back.
I have to agree. The customer service, despite the manager's best efforts (major kudos to him), was a disaster. The sides were not up to restaurant quality and the price was too high for the overall dining experience. We will not be going back.
It's too bad. The trip tip was quite good.