We’re happy to report that we did eat out today at the Old Hickory for dinner.  Will give full details tomorrow…off to spend Christmas with the family…



Merry Christmas!

Edited 12/26/08:

The experience

DSCN1915We actually planned ahead this time.  We were so impressed with all the Christmas lights and decor at the Gaylord Texas, we thought this would be the perfect place for Christmas dinner.  Ogre made reservations at The Old Hickory for 5:45 and we would be joined by my parents for dinner. We arrived at 5:45 on the nose and waited another 10-15 minutes for our table. 


Benji was not in a good mood.  He fell asleep on the way to the restaurant and was not happy to be awake.  Ogre tried to keep him entertained, but to no avail.  He was fuss buckets for sure.  We sat down and they brought Benji a high chair, but Benji did not want any part of that so Ogre kept him in his lap while he reviewed the wine menu.  Mina was busy with the Nintendo DS Santa brought her.  Ogre and I decided that we’d let her play at the table for now since we didn’t want to spoil her excitement, but it actually annoys us to have one at the table.  It would turn out to be a great idea tonight.


Ogre ordered the wine after some discussion at the table and Benji continued to fuss while Mina was occupied by her princess game.  The wine came and Ogre handed Benji over to me so he could make sure the wine passed muster.  Somehow he ended up staying in my lap.  We did get some bread from the bread guy, which was good for Benji.  We decided that we also better order a cheese platter as Benji was pointing to the cheese and crying every time the cheese guy went out of view. 



I picked out three cheeses and we were provided with a platter with Roquefort, Camembert, and a goat cheese, as well as pecans, raisins and a strawberry.  Mina caught sight of the strawberry and asked for it right away, but was kind enough to give Benji half.  Unfortunately, this caused Benji to now want more “staw beh behs” and he would not stop crying for them.  I gave hims some raisins and told him they were “can can” (candy), which my mom disapproved of for “tricking” him, but thought it was funny all the same.  I asked our waiter to bring us a plate of strawberries and raisins.  I was giving Benji the raisins one by one to keep him occupied, but this, too, ran out and there was no plate of fruit for Benji yet.  Nor did we have any more bread.  Benji and Mina ate all the fruit and nuts that came with the cheese so we either had to wait for more bread or just eat the cheese plain.  We waited and waited for some bread.  And waited and waited.

We put in our orders for dinner and may I point out that we CLEARLY asked Mina if she wanted a filet and she nodded her head yes so that is what we ordered her for dinner. My mom went crazy ordering her dinner and asked for the soup, a salad, AND her entree.  I asked the waiter if he would order the lobster bisque or the Caesar salad and he replied definitely the bisque and that is what I went with.  We kept waiting for the bread.

Finally, we asked our waiter for some bread and he said he’d send the guy right over.  So we waited and waited some more.  The appetizers, soups, and salads came out and we were still waiting for the gosh darned bread. Our waiter came by to check on the first course and we told him we still needed THE BREAD.  He acted surprised that the bread guy had not come by yet.  He also noticed that they’d forgotten my mom’s salad and eventually that came out.  Finally, another 5-10 minutes later, the bread guy showed up.  Argggh.  

By this time, we were able to get Benji to sit in his high chair and eat his fruit and bread, which was a bonus.  But, we realized that the high chair they gave us did not come with a belt.  Not good for toddlers that do not want to stay seated.  After he became bored with his food, he stood up and we had no choice but to sit him in our lap again.  I requested a high chair with a belt and they did bring that right away.  


They cleared our first course (and Lala’s second course) and now we had to entertain Benji again.  Mina was fine with her Nintendo DS and was quite happy to be left alone.  Benji tricked everyone into being let out of the high chair and my dad kept an eye on him as he escaped to the front of the restaurant.  It was probably a blessing in disguise as we’d be waiting quite some time for the entrees to arrive.  I think we’d been in the restaurant and hour and a half a this point. 

The entrees finally came out and Mina for the first time pipes up and says, “I didn’t want this, when you said filet, I was just saying, yes, like yes, I heard you.  Not yes, this is what I want.”  I thought I might blow a gasket.  I told her that if she was going to be bringing the DS to the table, when people were talking to her, she needed to stop and pay attention.  Plus, I didn’t believe her anyway.  I think she did want the filet, perhaps forgot what it was and then was put off by what it looks like -she does this.  I told her that we were not going to discuss the issue any further and that she needed to eat her dinner and I was not pleased that we just money on a dinner she may or may not eat just because she didn’t like how it looked. She, of course, started to cry. 


I took a bite of mine and thought that it was not very good and tasted way overdone.  I cut into the middle of it, it was overdone…just the way my DAD likes it.  Ogre looked over at my dad’s…nice and pink, just the way I like it.  Argggh.  I called the waiter over and we had to have some discussion before I was finally said, “I cannot eat this.”  It went back.  My dad decided he’d trudge through his.  I commented after they’d taken mine away that I should have let him try the overcooked (well-done) and the medium rare lamb so he could compare the taste and texture.  My brothers and I have been trying to change my parents’ well-done tendencies for years. 

So, this dinner was extended ANOTHER 15 minutes or so while I waited on my dinner.  Benji fooled my mom into thinking that he wanted to go “night night” by closing his eyes as he chewed his food and leaning into her.  The minute he was done, he, of course, wanted down and then ran off again.  Ogre and my dad were pretty much done with their entrees, so they were able to occupy him while I ate my dinner. 


When the manager brought it over and asked me to cut in to it, I had great difficulty because of a tendinous patch.  It was also undercooked for medium rare, but I could not add more time to our stay at The Old Hickory and decided I could tolerate rare plus.  When the manager came by again, I told him I was pretty disappointed in the lab and he told me they’d take it off the bill and offered me a complimentary dessert of my choice. 


I finished what I wanted of my dinner and we waited and waited for our dishes to be cleared and for a dessert menu to be brought to us.  I came ridiculously close to just calling it a day, but I didn’t want to deny the kids of dessert, so we waited and waited some more.  Now we’ve been her over two hours.  They finally cleared the plates from the table (dishes were literally piled on the table at this point) and Ogre and I ordered dessert.  They did not have any ice cream on the menu and the sorbet was a cranberry something that I didn’t think the kids would enjoy.


Guess what we did now.  That’s right, we waited some more.  Mina pulled her DS out again (it was banned while the main course was on the table) and continued on with her princess game.  Dessert came out and this was enticing enough for Benji to get back in his chair.  He thoroughly enjoyed the small scoop of ice cream that came with Ogre’s bread pudding and Mina thoroughly enjoyed the chocolate shell the ice cream sat upon.  I thoroughly enjoyed watching them eat it. 

Nearly three hours after arriving at the Old Hickory, we were settling our bill and heading out to enjoy some Christmas cheer at the hotel.



The service

I was terribly disappointed with the service last night.   Absolutely inappropriate for a restaurant of this assumed caliber.  The service was extremely slow, and I realize that in nicer restaurants the tempo is slowed on purpose so we can “enjoy” our meal, but this was agonizingly slow and I honestly don’t believe it was on purpose.  Partly because of hiccups in other areas.  I have to bring up the bread again, but isn’t that this guy’s main responsibility??  Bring bread to people??  The bread was small pieces and at the Phipps table, one piece of small bread is not going to last 45 minutes.  TWICE they messed up who was getting which plate.  We were able to quickly correct the obvious Wedge salad that was to go to Ogre, but not the lamb fiasco before it was too late.  Arggh.


The food

This is described as a high end steakhouse for “elegant dining.”  It’s definitely a high-priced steakhouse for dining in an elegant setting. 

The cheese from the fromager were very good.  Ogre thought the roquefort was one of the best he’s had and I enjoyed my soft cheeses. 


DSCN1898 DSCN1899 DSCN1900


Our starters included a Wedge Salad, a Caesar Salad, the Butternut Squash soup, the Lobster Bique, and the quail appetizer.  Ogre said the Wedge Salad was pretty good and he particularly liked the Blue Cheese, the main drawback was the dressing, which he described as having a ranch-like flavor with blue cheese mixed in.  My mom did not like the Caesar Salad, but she is very picky.  My dad liked it just fine and commented that the anchovies were good.  They did not like the Butternut Squash and commented that it was too sweet.  I thought the Lobster Bisque was great, not the best I’ve ever had, but definitely the best part of my meal tonight.  My dad also said that he liked the quail, and my mom seemed to like it as well.

Ogre ordered the filet (Black and Blue).  He said that it was definitely a black and blue steak, but not the best he’s ever had.  He thought the blackened crust was not very exciting, but the meat was otherwise fine.

My mom seemed to like the lobster that came atop her steak and she ate a good bit of it, which I’ll interpret as her enjoying it since she won’t eat it if she doesn’t like it.

My dad and I ordered the lamb and I have to say I was very disappointed in this dish.  The crust on the lamb was just “okay” and the lamb was very “tendon-y,” which made it more chewy than I’d ever want.  All of the meats came with onion strings, which I never enjoy, I think it just takes up space.  Ogre ate a piece of Mina’s filet and said it was actually very good.

We ordered a side of mushrooms, and these were nice and flavorful.  I enjoyed these more than my lamb!

The desserts were nothing to rave about either.  The creme brulee had a good texture, but was bland.  The bread pudding was “pretty good” but there was no creme anglais on it (it did come with ice cream) so it was hard for Ogre to really know how good or bad it was since the kids ate the ice cream.



They actually do have offerings for kids including chicken tenders, a hamburger or cheeseburger, or a filet.

The kids

I think this place can be kid accomodating, but even with one of the earlier reservation times, we were here for three hours.  Most toddlers just cannot hack that amount of time sitting in one place…quietly.  Sheesh, I could barely contain myself!

I don’t think the food here is worth the price or the time spent here with or without kids!

The total: $292.10 (4 adults, they took off my lamb and my dessert was free, one glass of wine)


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