Emeril Lagasse, one of the nation's most famous chefs, is particularly known for his outrageous cooking flair. This restaurant is named after the ... More
Emeril's Tchoup Chop
Emeril Lagasse, one of the nation's most famous chefs, is particularly known for his outrageous cooking flair. This restaurant is named after the first Emeril's outlet at Tchoupitoulas Street. Tchoup Chop's menu features Cajun/Creole specialties, such as Andouille-Crusted Texas Redfish and Grilled Veal Chops. For an appetizer, try the knockout Louisiana Oyster Stew. All these Creole delicacies and more are served in a dining room dominated by the large show kitchen, where you can watch chefs prepare your dinner.
I have spent a lot of time on the road, and have dined in many nice places, but I can say I had the best meal in 21 years in the Tschoup Chop about 1 week ago. The Hawaian Plate was simply superbly prepared and presented. The Waiters were superb, and even the parking was excellent. I plan to go back when I'm in Orlando....
Perhaps this was an off day for the waitstaff, but my dinner at Tchoup Chop was one of the most horrendous experiences in my dining life.
First, to get this out of the way, the food was good. Maybe not exactly worth the price that we paid for, but this was better than, say, Red Lobster. Just barely. I will add that the macadamia-crusted salmon was delicious.
To move onto the actual meat (no pun intended) of my review: The service. We arrived to a table that was lacking in tableware -- eventually, about 30 minutes in, I had to point out that I was missing a spoon and fork, and my companion was missing a fork as well. Second, the waiter talked in such a low voice that we could barely hear the offerings. (We were also told that we were going to be waited on by 3 other waitstaff - this later causes some confusion between the head waiter and the others about our food.) We shrugged it off and made our order which included appetizers.
40 minutes pass, and we did not ever receive our food. A waiter asks us if we've eaten the appetizers yet; we tell them no and they said they would bring it out right away. About 5 minutes later, we received our entrees. I was a little baffled at this point and said that we never got our appetizers. They quickly yanked the plates out from under us (it stayed on our tables for seconds, quite literally) and took it back into the kitchen. After witnessing more talking amongst the waitstaff, the manager comes over and apologizes about the mishap and says that the appetizers will be right out and that "they'll be taken care of." Another 8 minutes and our appetizers finally arrive. We eat. The waiter then comes over and cracks a joke about how they hoped that the appetizers were "worth the wait to eat." What a ridiculous statement to make, after we've waited for almost an hour for our food! The entrees then came out -- this was probably the only part of the meal that went right.
When we received the check, it included everything that we ordered. Perhaps we shouldn't have been presumptuous, but when the manager said that he would have "taken care" of them, we assumed that they would have been comped or discounted. We told the head waiter that we weren't sure what was going on, but 2 out of our 3 appetizers did come off the bill. We thought the was better than nothing and paid it and left. On the way out, the manager said nothing to us as he held the door open for people to leave -- not an apology (not that we were expecting another one), not a goodbye or goodnight.
Other things to consider: refills of sodas and teas are NOT free and this is not indicated anywhere on the menu. They'll try to upsell you the water; if you're okay with drinking tap, say so, or else they'll serve you bottled at $6 a bottle. As well, it was my birthday, and although the cute touches to my dessert and the complimentary amuse bouches were nice, they certainly did not override the poor service that I experienced. Many people make threats about never going back to establishments, but Tchoup Chop is indeed, a place that I won't be missing if I never go back.
We dined at Tchoup Chop about 3 years ago and were looking forward to our next dining experience. We were disappointed.
I ordered the crab cake appetizer as a starter. It was not the best I have had. The crab was not lumb crab but more of a shredded creamy consistency. The flavor was average. For the main course I ordered the Hawaiian Plate. It consisted of smoked ribs, grilled chicken, saute'd noodles with vegetables and brocolli with bacon. The protions were fair. The flavor was too overpowering. Everything on the plate was very sweet and very salty. It all had the same taste. There was nothing to neutralize the palette. After a few bites you wanted to just munch on a plain piece of bread or something. The ribs were definitely the best part of the meal. Unfortunately they were just 4 tiny ones on the plate. The other plates order were the chicken salad (fair-small portion), the calamari (good-big portion), and pork loco moco (fair-too salty). The best food we were served were the fried rice thingys with the peanut sauce.
The overall dining experince was fair. Definitely not what we were anticipating. The food was definitely much better the last time we were there. However, you can't beat the atmosphere. The place is simply breathtaking!
Will we go again? No.
My wife and I share amazingly similar tastes in food. We probably spend a bit more than average eating out. Bottomline: we're not cheapscates or penny-pinchers. We're white collar professionals earning good salaries.
My wife, mother and I went here to celebrate a birthday. The atmosphere, service, and location were all nice here. The food? Well, each of us picked a different entree. Mine was good, but nothing I would rave about. My mother and wife both picked entree that were even less satisfying. I tried both and agreed.
It comes down to this. Tchoup Chop is OVERRATED! And while I have enjoyed watching Emeril's show, I must say that HE IS OVERRATED. It may be worth noting that we have eaten at his other restaurant at Universal Orlando. It's a little better, but same criticism applies.
If your a shallow person and enjoy name dropping, impressing people, throwing lots of money around -- this is the place for you. If you like very good food at a REASONABLE price ... keep looking!!!
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