Went to SCCC a bit ago for dinner with my girl Phairhead & Sexybeast, Daniel B, Albany John, and Panda. Rezzies at 7:30, and Sue, SB, and Dan were already waiting for us!
Panda kind-of-sort-of knew someone who he planned on saying hi to over the course of dinner at SCCC who ended up walking in and sitting down. SCCC only allows 6 reservations per table and no one else knew he was planning on walking in and joining us, but the management team were very polite and let him stay.
I’ll be blunt – the experience this time was not as great as last time. Food wasn’t as good, and the service was really spotty. Still, a good experience overall, but not as awesome as the first.
We got the Spain & Portugal menu. Here’s Albany John’s soup – Olla Podrida. Dan also got this soup. I tried a bit and it was okay, but the flavors were kind of weak and flat. It could have used more flavor from the pork components (ham & chorizo) and less garbanzo beans. There were a lot of garbanzo beans.
I got the tapas sampler appetizer. The shrimp were supposedly in some garlic sauce. I didn’t taste much garlic – mainly paprika. The shrimp themselves were overcooked, tough, and mealy.
The olives were a pleasant surprise. The green ones looked like they were popped just out of a jar (pimento strips and all), and the kalamatas looked mushy, but they were both pleasantly brine-y.
Bunuelos de Chorizo are the poofy fritters you can kind of see to the right and had zero chorizo flavor. I saw teeny bits of them, but basically it was fried dough with pretty red bits on the inside. It was well fried, but if it’s called a chorizo fritter it should have more chorizo in them.
And finally marcona almonds were pleasantly warm and crunchy, but definitely could have benefited from the addition of some salt. Not much flavor though – more of a texture thing than anything else.
I think SexyBeast really hit the winner with his empanadas. They were tiny, but man they looked good.
Our meals took a long time to come out, and I was wondering if Panda’s guest was ever going to leave. It was weird. He didn’t order anything, and then Panda didn’t eat anything, so it was like sharing a table with two people on a date. I know it wasn’t expected that this guy would come in and sit with us for the entire dinner, but a “Hey, I’m going to enjoy dinner with friends, I’ll call you when I’m done,” wouldn’t have hurt. So I’m not sure if they took so long because the good folks at SCCC were pissed with us (which I really doubt), or because we ordered paella.
Like minds think alike, and Dan and Albany John both ordered the Valencian Style Paella. I didn’t like this dish. The rice was why I don’t like rice – gummy and bland, and none of the other food really stuck out. It was kind of like bad fried rice. It was also HUGE.
However, Phairhead & I hit gold with the veal chop. A gigantic chop with a delicious sear on the outside and cooked to a nice medium, medium-rare on the inside.
The blue cheese sauce was a perfect match for the chop. I loved it. Definitely a stand out dish. The meat was very, very tender as well.
The menu listed “wrinkled potatoes”, but these were just some fingerling potatoes cut in half. The mixed veggie ball on there was mostly red bell pepper and onion. You know how much I love bell peppers, so I nixed that one. The potatoes could have used a little something to season them – they were just boiled, halved potatoes. Maybe some sauce over them, too?
Check that center. Our waiter didn’t ask us how we wanted it, so I was wondering how it would turn out. Nice.
SexyBeast’s monkfish serving was 3 small circles of fish. I’m glad I didn’t order it – not enough food for me! In comparison to the massive serving of paella it looked down right tiny! But he said it was really good.
Our waiter was also… really casual in comparison to the service we had the last time. A lot of “You guys”, and seat touching/leaning. Maybe he’d waited tables at The Outback or some other corporate chain since he wasn’t nervous, but it was oddly informal given the types of meals and setting of the restaurant/school.
We also couldn’t figure how the logic behind his order taking – ladies first (okay, good there), and then he’d sporadically pick one of the guys to order.
He also kept asking us if we needed anything else, like water. Just from a service point of view – keep the waters refilled. That one I really don’t get. At the end of service, maybe, but not during appetizers.
The person in the manager role for the night also kept clearing all of our silverware. That made no sense and was a real hassel. After our appetizers, she helped our waiter clear the table and took all of the steak knives from everyone. Then when dinner came out, our server said the knives were all getting washed and it would be a few minutes. The “manager” also came over to check if we needed anything and didn’t acknowledge that she was the one that took our knives and also said it would be a few minutes. Maybe she was pissed because of the extra person at the table? This was annoying though, because then Phairhead and I couldn’t eat our veal chops until the knives came out. And they looked so good!
I had a cup of chamomile tea with dessert. I’ll admit it – I obey the rules, and when a they say they can only accomodate 6 people at a time… well, I was stressed at that point because I felt like I was being rude to SCCC. And hoping they wouldn’t blackball me from any future dinners (“Oh, that’s the lady that had too many people. … Sorry, we’re full.”).
Hopefully they saw it as a learning experience, and we didn’t throw a wrench in the gears too badly. I know it wasn’t ideal for them, and I appreciate their graciousness.
I had the dulce de leche ice cream with anise wafer cookie for dessert. The ice cream itself was great, except once again we ran into the no-silverware problem. We had to mention this to our server, who got us silverware. Still, who clears *everything* off of the table? Just take what’s on the plate. It makes no sense to clean the clean silverware.
I loved the ice cream – a nice and deep dulce de leche flavor. The cookie though… blek – I don’t like anise, and this was like a black licorice cookie. Dan said it was good, though, but more a cracker than a cookie. Savory instead of sweet.
So that was my interesting dinner at SCCC. Sometimes things happen that aren’t in your control with dinner, and you have to roll with the punches. Some dishes better than others. Still super psyched that I got to hang out with two of the area’s finest bloggers – you guys are always a treat to hang out with!
At $22 per person (tax and tip included), dinner is definitely worth a look-see.