The experience

MignonToday we tried another restaurant in close proximity to Mina’s afternoon class.  As you will discover, we did absolutely no research on this restaurant.  Ogre and I have eaten here once right when it opened because a friend of his was a sous-chef here.  Now we’re back with our kids in tow.  Benjamin and Ogre would have to meet us again.  Mina and I arrived at Mignon promptly at 5 o’clock. 

Of course, we were seated right away.  I was a little concerned that it might actually be too hot to sit outside, but once we got out to the patio, I realized that the sun is on the other side of the restaurant.  The patio is also covered with ceiling fans.  Bottom line: the ambiance was perfect.  We were the only ones on the patio, which was nice.  Then our waiter handed me the menu.  GULP!  Oh my, the prices were a little high for a Monday-night-nothing-special-going-on dinner, but I felt like there was no turning back.  There was also no kids menu.  And really nothing that I could fashion into a kids meal.  I was getting a little worried.  When the waiter brought back our drinks, Mina’s lemonade was in a kids cup, so it’s not like they’ve never seen a kid before and I felt a little better.

Checking out the ducksI sang the Star Spangled Banner twice (off key, of course) and Mina and I chatted about school until Ogre and Benji showed up.  Unfortunately, Benji’s chair did not fit on to their patio tables.  Ogre commented that the patio furniture at Red’s was much better.  Ogre got a high chair instead.  We were sitting close to the railing overlooking the pond and since we were the only ones on the patio, we let them wander and look at the ducks.  Benji kept putting his feet on the other side of the bottom railing, which made us very nervous about his beloved “Ba” (or Spongebob) shoes.  Luckily, he managed to keep them on his feet!

Ogre gave the waiter his drink order and we looked over the menu.  I pointed out the prices to Ogre who also raised his eyebrows.  He asked me if I wanted an appetizer and I told him that we could probably skip it tonight.  Unfortunately, one of the salads looked to good to pass up, so I did splurge on that.  When our waiter returned,  he brought bread and butter and we corralled the kids back to the table.  

Ogre put “be” (butter) on his bread and we all thoroughly enjoyed the ridiculously tasty bread and butter.  Our waiter told us that while there is no true kids menu, he could have the kitchen whip up some chicken tenders or a hamburger.  I had a big internal sigh of relief.  We went with the chicken tenders for the kids.  We put in our order for my salad and Ogre also decided to splurge and ordered Lobster Bisque.  While I had the waiter’s attention, I queried him about my conflicting choices of the chilean sea bass versus the short ribs and monkfish.  He actually tried to sell me the special, which was the snapper.  If I loved or even liked snapper, he said this would be the way to go.  I know that I LOVE chilean sea bass, and he told me that he’d definitely go for that over my other choice if I didn’t go the way of the snapper.   When he came back a short while later to get our dinner order, I told him I’d be getting the chilean sea bass.  Ogre told the waiter of his own decision making woes.  He couldn’t decide between a filet, the venison tenderloin and scallops.  The waiter recommended the steak au poivre and told Ogre that he’d get the scallops over Ogre’s other two choices of a filet or the venison tenderloin.  Ogre always worries that he won’t be full if he orders scallops, but our waiter told him that he gets full when he has them, so Ogre goes with the scallops.

Petite Boston Bibb SaladWe did not have to wait very long to get the Petite Bibb Salad and Lobster Bisque.  This came out alongside the kids’ chicken tenders and french fries.  Our waiter even thought to bring out two little bowls of ketchup and two small plates for each of them.  Ogre and I started on our soup and salad.  Mine was wonderful. I told Ogre that this is the type of salad I love.  He replied, “What, with fruit?”  Yes, with apples and pecans and mustardy vinaigrette dressing!  Luscious.  Ogre and I realized that we had not ordered a drink for Benji, but our astute waiter brought it up to us before we could tell him.  He brought out a water for poor parched Benjamin.

Silly Mina is backMina ate her dinner without much prodding and told me that when she grows up she wants to do nails…and toes, too.  I told her that would be great.  Ogre asked me what she was talking about and seemed a little taken aback.  I was taken aback with his taken abackedness.  The person that does my nails is very important to me.  Our dinner interrupted any futher conversation.

I was a little wary my dinner.  I knew it had mint from the description, but it was smelling a little strong.  Ogre was excited to see his scallops -he loves them and I don’t so we don’t have these at home unless it’s his birthday or father’s day.  As we ate our dinner, Mina announced that she was finished with hers so we let her and Benjamin back out of their chairs.  I had to warn Mina a few times to not run around even though we were alone on the patio (I don’t want her developing bad habits or showing them to Benji).  She ended up staying in her little spot but was twirling around and fell into a small puddle and getting her white teddy bear dirty.  She had to sit down for awhile after that.   We let her back up after she tried a scallop. 

Then Benji started walking off and I told Ogre he was heading towards the door.  Ogre got up to get him, but it was too late.  SMACK!  The door hit Benji in the head.  Ogre scooped him up and gave him some bread.  Benji quit crying after that.  I don’t know if he was the manager or the owner, but he came over to offer some ice for Benji’s head and was very apologetic.  We know that it was partly our fault, and Benji was totally fine, so we told him thanks, but that Benji would be fine.  It was now 6:30 and this was just when the patio started to have other guests.  We decided to look at the dessert menu, but Mina had already intimated that she would like Purple Cow for dessert.  The gentleman that came to bus our table told us to feed the bread to the ducks, which the kids loved.  I told our waiter we’d be skipping dessert, settled the check, and we headed out to the Purple Cow.

Benji got smacked by the door


The food

Excellent food, really.  I was surprised that I liked the food so much. My Petite Bibb Salad had Bibb lettuce with chopped apples, candied walnuts, bleu cheese and a stone ground mustard vinaigrette.  I did not think that any of the flavors were overpowering and it had just the right amount of sweetness. Lobster Bisque I am actually a little surprised that Ogre liked the lobster bisque, the bite that I had was very “nutmeggy.”  Ogre doesn’t like nutmeg.  He still says that he liked it; he said that it had a nice peppery flavor to it and didn’t so much mind the nutmeg.  We did not get steak Chliean Sea Basshere.  We got seafood and enjoyed it.  My Roasted Chilean Sea Bass was cooked perfectly -there was a nice buttery crispness to it with very tender meat.  I am probably the only one in the world who doesn’t like mint.  I could definitely taste it and I still thought the sauce was good -Ogre thought that it Diver scallopswas very good.  It came with nicely done fingerling potatoes also.  I tried Ogre’s Seared Maine Diver Scallops, and, I, not being a scallop fan, thought they were excellent.  Ogre did not leave anything behind on his plate.  The scallops were also cooked perfectly and were served with asparagus and a goat cheese polenta.  He noted that they prepared and cooked the asparagus very well.  Ogre even said that his iced tea was tasty!

Chicken fingers and pomme fritesWe tried the kids’ chicken tenders -they seemed to be chicken breaded with panko.  That was some super tasty stuff.  We joked that we should recommend that the parents order the chicken tenders!  Ask about food for the kids since there is no kids menu.  We were offered chicken tenders or a hamburger.  Not reasonably priced though, those luscious chicken tenders cost us 12 bucks!  (Still better than our other plan, which was to order the side dishes and hope they ate it and enjoyed it!)


The service

Our service was excellent.  Excellent, excellent, excellent.  We had our waiter and this other guy that came around to makes sure our drinks were filled, our table was uncluttered and our food was seasoned to our liking.  The tempo of the food service was great also.  No big lags so we didn’t have bored kids.  Our waiter was honest, helpful, and considerate.  In fact, as we were leaving and I was hauling the camera and Benji’s chair, he offered to help me to the car with my stuff.  I declined his assistance, but it was still a noteworthy gesture!


The kids

I would call them child accommodating.  I would recommend this to a family going out for a nice meal or to celebrate something IF their children are well-behaved or a little older.  If you are going to bring younger ones with unpredictable behavior, I would suggest going early and trying to sit out on the patio.  It’s perfectly safe and the kids are enthralled with the pond and the fountain.  We sat out on the patio alone from 5-6:30, but right at about 6:30, 4 other tables sat down in quick succession and I can tell you that I was relieved to be heading out.

They were gracious to offer some kids menu choices when there really aren’t any advertised on the menu.    We’re unsure if there are changing stations in the bathrooms. No crayons here.  In fact, when we sat down, Mina asked me if we were at a “fancy” restaurant.  I asked her what makes it a “fancy” restaurant and she replied, “They have nice pictures on the wall and there’s napkins [she was talking about the tablecloths) on the tables."

The total: 99.81 (yikes!)


Rants, Raves, and Ramblings

We would not have come here tonight if we'd done some homework.  I guess it's a good thing we didn't since we really enjoyed our dinner -my bank account may not be so pleased.

This place would have been vetoed if I'd known the prices.  I'm not saying that the food didn't justify the prices, because I thought for the food the prices were reasonable.  It's just not reasonable for our family who eats out everyday and it's just a normal, no celebrations kind of evening.  In fact, we won't be celebrating anything for quite some time to make up for this meal!

During Ogre's bathroom break with Mina, he realized that this is, in fact, a corporate chain.  Seems that it is a concept of Carlson Restaurants Worldwide.  I wonder what other people's definitions are of "chain" restaurants, but this is mine.  I don't mind if it's a restaurant that has multiple locations.  But my least favorite restaurants to support are ones that seem to have been conceptualized in a board room.  I'm not saying our family doesn't go to these because we do, and as you can see from this experience, we thoroughly enjoy it sometimes!  However, I'd rather give this exposure to those who don't have "a team of experts" backing and deciding each direction they move in and whose delivery of a great tasting product with great service drives their restaurant (and then I hope that they do make money so that they stay open!!)

Feeding the ducks

Mina and Benji feeding the ducks

The ducks attack

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