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“Good Service -- Sad Food Preparation” 1 of 5 stars
Review of 50 West

50 West
50 West Main St, Plainville, CT 06062
+1 860-351-5066
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Ranked #6 of 67 Restaurants in Plainville
Cuisines: American
More restaurant details
Restaurant details
Good for: Entertaining clients
Dining options: Breakfast/Brunch, Reservations
Description: Open Tuesday - Saturday, Lunch & Dinner Open Sunday Brunch Monday Closed Tuesday, Wednesday, & Thursday 11:30am - 9pm Friday & Saturday 11:30am - 10pm Sunday Brunch 11am - 3pm
Contributor
12 reviews 12 reviews
9 restaurant reviews
Reviews in 8 cities Reviews in 8 cities
9 helpful votes 9 helpful votes
“Good Service -- Sad Food Preparation”
1 of 5 stars Reviewed October 28, 2013

The front of the restaurant – well-run, attentive, and pleasant – deserved better from the kitchen where the food preparation proved so inept that I felt that we had stumbled into a restaurant that would fit in well those showcased on Kitchen Nightmares. The restaurant, clearly well-intentioned, was effectively sabotaged by seriously inept food preparation on the one night we attended.

Connecticut Restaurant week provides customers the chance to sample new restaurants at bargain prices and the restaurants the opportunity to win over new regulars. Our excursion to 50 West dramatically proved that a cheap dinner was as much a myth as the proverbial free lunch.
While waiting for the course, we tried the cornbread brought to the table along with an accompanying container of garlic-infused oil. The cornbread was moist and pleasantly spicy but was overly sugared for our tastes and rendered the garlic oil an odd companiou. Verdict: The miss of the over-sweetening was somewhat balanced out by the hit of the moistness. So, thumbs to the side.

Both my wife and I went with the same first course -- the Connecticut Corn Chowder. Served luke-warm (about the temperature of pool water on a hot summer's afternoon), the temperature wasn't the only miss. There was no taste of corn, carrots, onions, or applewood-smoked bacon present. All that was present was the one-note taste of some spice that was allowed to dominate the luke-warm chowder.

Well, OK. It was just the appetizer. But, so far, things weren't bad enough to be disturbing or good enough to be promising. Let's see the main courses.

My choice was the duck confit and cassoulet described in the menu as a "hearty southern French stew of white beans, aromatic vegetable & herbs, pork sausage, and a fork-tender braised MarWin Farm duck leg." Under a cover of a soggy dough, was the again one-note stew. It had a smoky, slightly gamey taste which one would either find agreeable or not that, once again, masked the individual tastes of the components. I didn't hate it and didn't love it. It was the food equivalent of an is-that-all-there-is yawn.

As it turned out, my choice was more fortunate than the visually attractive "Stuff Smoked Gouda Pork Chops" described as "bone-in-pan-roasted chops stuffed with melted smoked gouda served with roasted root vegetables, charred leeks, and slow-roasted pumpkin puree." The single large and thick chop was not cut in half and stuffed. That would have, perhaps, made it possible to cook it though without bringing the generous-sized meat to a leathery, tough, and woebegone state. It wasn't merely tough and tasteless. It was bad enough for us to return it – something we’ve very seldom done in over 40 years of dining out together since we realize that most restaurants aren’t operating with large profit margins. So, we allow considerable distance between the meal we’d like to see and the one we’ll accept. (After tracking me down and calling me after the earlier version of this review, the chef provided the defense that “nobody else complained about the pork chop.” If not, some may well have concluded that providing feedback on such a far miss would probably prove pointless – and, from the chef’s response, they’ve been proven right!)

Her dish returned, my wife ordered a chicken sandwich from the regular menu -- figuring that it would come out quickly and be impossible to mess up. Well, wrong on both counts. The sandwich arrived a good 20 minutes after I had finished my entree and the chicken was . . . you guessed it . . . overcooked, dry, and tasteless with the cheese not melted on it but laid upon it at the last minute. It was as ineptly prepared as the pork chop had been.

The hostess came over and offered us a free drink, but we declined. "Thank you, but at this point we just want to pay the check and leave."

"But, you haven't had your dessert. Can we bring that to you?"

"No, thank you. Just the check, please."

That was me talking -- passing up a dessert!!! I don't do that -- even when it's not included in the price of the dinner as this one was. Not until I found myself actually preferring an escape to a dessert did I realize just how miserable the experience had been.

It was a shame -- less for us than for the attentive and eager-to-please waitress and hostess (owner?). The waitress, reluctant to provide the check while we were unhappy, said, "Is there ANYTHING I can do to make things right?" She was too nice for me to give her the answer that I thought of -- which was, "Well, can YOU cook?" But, even if she could, it would have made no difference. The truer response would have been, "Yes, let me outta here!"

They did comp my wife's non-meal and I did leave a good tip on more than the price charged. And, maybe, I just caught the restaurant on a very bad (though not overly busy) night. I don't know and I will never know because we're not going to try again. There wasn't a whiff of promise to be found in any of the dishes tried -- not the cornbread, not the chowder, not the Duck Confit, not the chicken sandwich. So, for me, there is no reason to return.

I wish the owners well. They, too, deserve better than what emerged from their kitchen last Thursday (Oct 17, 2013). Possibly, the night was an outlier. I dunno. I just know that, at any price, the dishes we received were no bargain. Literally, a TV dinner would have been more enjoyable

  • Visited October 2013
    • 1 of 5 stars Value
    • 3 of 5 stars Atmosphere
    • 4 of 5 stars Service
    • 1 of 5 stars Food
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This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
50West, Manager at 50 West, responded to this review, November 4, 2013
Thanks to Tom_richardson67 for this review. We’ve already spoken on the phone at length with Tom, discussing his experience and his critiques, fact-checking some of his errors and hearing a reiteration of his unapologetic opinions about the career choices made by the New York Times’ reviewed chefs who spend their days cooking in 50 WEST‘s scratch kitchen, so the remainder of this response will be directed at other loyal and future patrons of 50 WEST.

We take some small amount of solace in the fact that Tom_richards67’s other reviews seem to be almost as misinformed and rude as the one addressed here. In this review, he swims against the tide of opinions and critical acclaim of The New York Times Sunday Edition, The Hartford Courant, The Hartford Advocate, The Plainville Observer, The Plainville Citizen, Southington Magazine, The Southington Observer, The Bristol Press, and The New Britain Herald, as well as the positive feedback and reviews of all of our cherished and loyal guests.

Of course even with the overwhelmingly positive reviews by all those sources, we seek to satisfy every guest, and any constructive criticism that had been put forward by Tom_richards67 would have been welcomed by 50 WEST, both during and after his visit. Unfortunately, this has been jettisoned in favor of the most personally and professionally insulting review we've ever seen.

After being curt and dismissive in our establishment, and writing a vitriolic review online, Tom was courteously contacted via phone by the Executive Chef himself, the head of the culinary staff that Tom said should find a new line of work. (This is the kind of service we strive to provide to all our customers and was a simple matter of checking the reservation book to find his name.)

After the Chef called to address Tom's concerns -- letting Tom know that there was no sugar in the cornbread or nutmeg in the corn chowder (and that there therefore couldn’t possibly be “too much” of either), and mentioning that while his opinion was valued, no other customers had complained about the pork, among other things -- Tom amended his original review to attempt to invalidate the opinions of all other guests who had an enjoyable experience at 50 WEST: “After tracking me down and calling me after the earlier version of this review, the chef provided the defense that “nobody else complained about the pork chop.” If not, some may well have concluded that providing feedback on such a far miss would probably prove pointless – and, from the chef’s response, they’ve been proven right!”

Fortunately, unlike Tom, we don’t need to speculate on the satisfaction of our other customers. Empty plates and doggie bags speak for themselves, and on other occasions, our patrons also speak up -- sometimes requesting changes to menu items, which we happily oblige as a scratch kitchen, and often declaring their happiness with the taste and value of what we prepare for them.

One wonders what response could have assuaged Tom in this case. Unfortunately, it seems that even as the Executive Chef took the time to get feedback about Tom’s experience, Tom spent that time insisting that the Chef was not interested in receiving feedback, and that providing feedback was pointless. We can only continue to wonder what constructive feedback Tom would have given had his focus been less on personally insulting our chefs and more on improving the experience for future diners -- other than the suggestions that we remove spices and sugar which had never been included in his dishes -- which is what we constantly strive to do.

Still, there are always improvements when we reach out to hear feedback from guests -- in this case, they were improvements to Tom’s review. The original review listed spices and ingredients in the food that Tom did not like. After being informed by the Executive Chef that these dishes did not contain those ingredients, these complaints were removed from the 2nd draft.

His final change to the 2nd draft was the closing sentence “Literally, a TV dinner would have been more enjoyable.” While not necessarily an improvement, this is the single point on which we are in agreement: it would have been more enjoyable for us as well had he not chosen to eat at our restaurant.

Even so, all guests are welcome here, and as we continually strive to provide the best experience to our guests, we thank every patron who provides us with feedback, regardless of the manner in which they provide it.
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31 reviews from our community

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    16
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Rating summary
    Food
    Service
    Value
    Atmosphere
Date | Rating
  • English first
  • Any
English first
Woodbury, Connecticut
1 review
1 helpful vote 1 helpful vote
“One of the greats”
5 of 5 stars Reviewed October 23, 2013

My wife and I had the pleasure of dining at 50 West for restaurant week. We were pleasantly surprised. I am not usually a fan of such things as duck liver or kale but WOW. the duck liver terrine was very pleasant. Not gamey tasting at all, and the bacon it was wrapped in was a nice touch. My wife ordered the Caesar salad which was done with kale instead of romaine which I think may be the way that I prefer it going forward. For our entrees we ordered pork chops that were smothered with smoked gouda, cooked nicely and we both really enjoyed it. We both loved it and we will absolutely be back. What a great value!!!

  • Visited October 2013
    • 5 of 5 stars Value
    • 4 of 5 stars Atmosphere
    • 4 of 5 stars Service
    • 5 of 5 stars Food
Was this review helpful? Yes 1
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Plainville, Connecticut
Senior Reviewer
8 reviews 8 reviews
7 restaurant reviews
Reviews in 4 cities Reviews in 4 cities
1 helpful vote 1 helpful vote
“I eat here once a week, and I love it.”
5 of 5 stars Reviewed October 22, 2013

I usually get the salad, which is always very fresh and comes with a delicious house dressing -- not too creamy, not too oily, just right -- and often with a hefty portion of grill-marked, delicious salmon on top. The house salad is my standard go-to meal option, but the recently added Pilgrim salad might be even better; it has a sweetness from the pears that doesn't overwhelm, but by the end, I feel I've eaten dinner AND dessert -- and all in one relatively good-for-you meal.

Not that I'm saying don't have the dessert. If you manage to get to dessert without being too stuffed to try it, I highly recommend the chocolate mousse. It comes in a very generous portion and is not too sweet, which makes it all the more delicious.

But despite my delight with their salads, I've had lots on the menu, including the Sunday morning brunch (bottomless homefried potatoes -- if you don't leave full, it's your own fault! I've never even managed to finish my brunch entree, let alone eat the whole platter of homefries, though) and the recent Taste of the Suburbs and CT Restaurant week options.

I had the pork chop during Taste of the Suburbs, and again it was way too much for me to finish eating even after having another dinner from the leftovers. I tried the corn chowder during CT Restaurant week and found it was indeed a lower temp than "normal" soups; when I asked about this, I was told (very politely) that because it's a soup that contains cream, heating it up too much would cause the soup to "break" and separate the oils from the creaminess. (I've witnessed this while trying to reheat the breakfast mac & cheese in the microwave at home, so I believe it; after cream breaks, it looks and tastes oily and gross, so I was glad to know the cooks had their acts together and definitely knew more than I did about how soup should be served.) Because I wasn't very hungry that day, I didn't get the whole menu, but other members of my family party got the pasta special of the day (rave reviews of that -- a cajun chicken alfredo type dish) and the pork chop, which as usual was too much to finish.

The burgers are always great and they have lots of interesting options that I don't see in standard burger places, including a mushroom burger that has a mushroom cap on top of the burger (or you can get it without the burger) and a tasty veggie burger option that's made in house with quinoa and other grains rather than the standard black beans. (I also love black bean burgers, but this was a chance to try something new!)

Perhaps the best thing about the food is that despite the single page menu, there really is something for everyone, and all the options are interesting, unique and delicious. If you're an economy diner (like I often am), there are sandwiches and burgers that will suit your budget; if you're up for more of a fine dining experience, there are steak and seafood options and an excellent selection of wine.

The service has also been really good whenever I've come for dinner or lunch. I often sit at the bar and chat with the bartenders when I'm there by myself, but there have been other times when I came with family or friends and sat in the solarium, on the long New-York-style booth, or out on the patio (which I understand is seasonal).

One of my favorite things about the restaurant lately has been the smell of the smoker, which I can smell from the parking lot when I park my car. The kitchen staff smokes duck and pork sausage -- also freshly made by the chefs -- and bacon, and it always smells delicious. Add a Shipyard Pumpkin beer with a cinnamon sugar rim (you wouldn't think it works, but it does), and there's no better way I can think of to celebrate fall.

Also, I hear the apple pie-tinis are really, really good (but dangerous! Lots of liquor, but tastes like pie), but I'm personally partial to the 50 West signature cocktail and can't seem to manage to order other options when that one's available.

  • Visited October 2013
    • 5 of 5 stars Value
    • 5 of 5 stars Atmosphere
    • 5 of 5 stars Service
    • 5 of 5 stars Food
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This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
50West, Manager at 50 West, responded to this review, December 4, 2013
Thanks for the review, AW! We're very happy to have such devoted and loyal guests.
We're always delighted when locals "discover" us, especially right here in Plainville. We believe that we are Plainville's "best kept secret" and we are encouraged by the fact that you choose to dine with us every week.
We also appreciate your understanding and appreciation for our dedication to details. Rest assured, it's guests like yourself who validate us every day. Thank you!
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Winsted, Connecticut
Reviewer
3 reviews 3 reviews
Reviews in 3 cities Reviews in 3 cities
1 helpful vote 1 helpful vote
“Must go again!!”
5 of 5 stars Reviewed September 17, 2013

Food was superb. Best sea scallops ever eaten! Wine was served very cold (as it should be) and was excellent quality. A litle pricey, but worth it. Service was wonderful, just enough, leaving time between drinks and dinner and dessert. New floor manager brought our dinners and was sure everything was satisfactory. Our only disappointment was not having a booth available. More than satisfactory experience - - we will definitely return.

  • Visited September 2013
    • 5 of 5 stars Value
    • 5 of 5 stars Atmosphere
    • 5 of 5 stars Service
    • 5 of 5 stars Food
Was this review helpful? Yes
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
50West, Manager at 50 West, responded to this review, December 4, 2013
Thank you for your wonderful review, Melvalyn! We've done a lot of research to find the best U-10 dry diver scallops that money can buy, and so we're glad that you think our scallops are the "best sea scallops ever eaten" and that our food is superb.
Though we're sorry that you weren't able sit at our banquette, we're flattered at your glowing review of our service. Perhaps next time you join us it can be on a "Tannic Tuesday" night, when our entire wine catalog is half off! It's also more likely on a Tuesday that you'll be able to sit at the banquette. Again, thank you so much for your review, and we'll see you again soon!
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Plymouth, Connecticut, United States
Senior Contributor
25 reviews 25 reviews
10 restaurant reviews
Reviews in 15 cities Reviews in 15 cities
17 helpful votes 17 helpful votes
“Just ok”
2 of 5 stars Reviewed September 8, 2013

Atmosphere was great, service was mediocre, food was good, but not enough for the cost. Had a nice Sunday brunch, but for $15.50 per person, I expected to leave full.

Visited September 2013
Was this review helpful? Yes 2
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
50West, Manager at 50 West, responded to this review, November 5, 2013
Thanks for the review, Bri A! We're very sorry to hear that you left our establishment dissatisfied with the brunch portions (although we're certainly happy that you enjoyed them!). Perhaps a dietary restriction prevented you from diving into the pile of bottomless home fries that come family-style with every brunch, or perhaps it wasn't brought to your attention that the home fries are bottomless! That being said, if you have any dietary restrictions that prevent you from indulging in a significant portion of our brunch meal, please bring it to our attention the next time you are here, and (as a scratch kitchen) we will be more than happy to accommodate you.
Again, thank you for your feedback!
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