Dos Brisas has a spectacular setting; however, we were very disappointed with our brunch experience! Despite the beauty surrounding us, the attitude of the host was so insulting that we were compelled to leave. After ordering our fare (at $75 per person WITH a 20% gratuity automatically included), we waited very patiently for our food while sipping on watered down bloody marys garnished with mushy accoutrements (a spicy pickle and onion bulb that were opaque from a lengthy brine-soaking). We drank them anyway, as we are newly engaged and perhaps a bit eager and excited to find our perfect destination wedding locale. Prior to our food arriving, we were presented with a lagniappe of a soup palate cleanser, which normally would be a welcome addition to our meal; however, I was served a cream-based tomato soup that would have made me very ill upon consumption, as I am lactose-intolerant. I quietly brought this to our server's attention and after a very loud and obnoxious announcement to the whole patio that she was "sooooooo sorry that she didn't even consider that I could be lactose-intolerant", she brought me out a replacement soup. I mean, don't they know that not everyone can eat what is placed in front of them...especially if they were not told beforehand what to expect? When our food finally arrived, it looked as if someone had already helped themselves to our meal, as there was very little food on the plate. When I asked the host for some pepper for my eggs benedict, which is NOT an unheard of thing to do, he proceeded to look me up and down, walked away in a huff, and came back with a pepper SHAKER! REALLY?!?!?! At $75 per person, I would EXPECT a pepper MILL, for FRESH GROUND PEPPER...is that too much to ask? Upon this last display of condescending treatment, my fiance and I decided that Dos Brisas was definitely NOT the place for us. We are both well-educated, well-traveled, and furthermore, do not mind the expense of an excellent meal and service. We frequent many of Houston's finest restaurants (Tony's, RDG, Mark's, D'Marco's) and truly appreciate all efforts involved. I have NEVER written a complaint about a venue...but after the host's arrogance, I thought that others should know that our experience was a HUGE DISAPPOINTMENT!!! Please know that the beauty of Dos Brisas is 2nd to none, and we could have easily accepted the brunch if the host would have been as gracious as our surroundings. P.S. After sharing our story with several friends, they, too, said that they had the same thing happen...the host is completely RUDE!
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
June 19, 2012
We are all terribly sorry about your experience at Dos Brisas. Although you have refused our calls to make amends, I feel compelled to shed light on your experience for our tripadvisor readers. As you know, the Inn at Dos Brisas has been the recipient of many awards and accolades, witnessed by the overwhelming number of positive reviews that stand alongside yours. Most of our guests are extremely well travelled and include the finest restaurants in the world in their culinary experiences. I begin my response with our brunch menu of that day. Note, this does not include the basket of freshly baked pastries, or the amuse bouche which on your day would have been a roasted tomato bisque, served alongside of a tartine of sottocenere cheese and spelt bread.
Report response as inappropriate
The Inn at Dos Brisas
Chef’s Spring Brunch Menu
Sunday, June 10, 2012
DOS BRISAS CHOPPED SALAD
“6-10-2012 today’s daily harvest of lettuces, tomatoes, herbs, fruits, nuts, flowers …” lemon-shallot vinaigrette
PASTRAMI WILD SALMON PLATE
potato galette, chervil, early horseradish, pickled beets, fromage blanc, “everything” bagel
“OUR GREENHOUSE VINE RIPENED RED TOMATO SALAD”
lightly dressed heirloom tomatoes with handmade burrata cheese, tuscan olive oil, and basils
BAKED WASHINGTON STATE MUSSELS “OREGANATA”
parcel, miss stephanie’s “brioche ďalgues”, sweet garlic, lemon gratin
F.M. 1155 YARD EGG “CONFIT-DANT”
steamed local egg, “miss lisa’s sweet peas”, ragout of blonde morels, coconut-garlic froth, dandelion pistou
WILD YELLOW EYE ROCKFISH
“our summer squashes”, olive oil poached shrimp, flowering basils, greenhouse tomato coriander sauce
WILD ALASKAN KING SALMON
“polenta crusted”, pickled wild mushrooms, preserved lemon aioli, sauce vièrge
jumbo lump crabmeat, fried green tomato, ruby red grapefruit hollandaise, texas tarragon
low country ham, dwarf sugar snap peas, english muffin, summer truffle sabayon, espelette pepper
“STEAK AND EGGS”
texas akaushi beef
pecan wood smoked, chimichurri, fried egg, black beans, sweet corn, “ranchero style”
“OUR SUNDAY FRIED CHICKEN”
buttermilk hush puppies, eric’s “mac n’ cheese”, pickled watermelon, white sage gravy
SAMPSON’S MIXED BERRIES
mascarpone parfait, pistachio, beaujolais, lemon verbena
“FAUX ALMOND JOY”
toasted coconut, dark chocolate, almonds, griottines
SELECTION OF FARMHOUSE AND ARTISINAL CHEESES
honeycomb, quince jam, greenhouse tomato, pine blossom elixir
Three Course Brunch Menu 75. per person
Prices do not include beverage, tax, or gratuity.
A 20% gratuity will be added to all parties.
Our vegetables are hand-picked certified organic, harvested daily from our own organic farm. The effort spent in this time consuming and very expensive endeavor ensure that our guests will be safe from the pesticides and inorganic fertilizers that currently pollute our food supply. Our meat products and eggs are also either certified organic, or in a very few instances, grown by trusted sources in an organic environment. Our meats are field raised, never utilizing hormones or antibiotics in the process. Our fish is always wild, most often caught by day boat and shipped directly to us. The few restaurants that you mentioned, indeed the overwhelming majority of restaurants in Houston, do not follow this rigorous and expensive process in acquiring food product. I would encourage you to review their menus for even a passing reference to organic, wild, or even locally grown. In most instances, their fish is farmed, and fed antibiotic laced feed from Asia. In the case of salmon, farming involves the ingestion of a food dye into the feed, to permit this otherwise grey fish to emulate the pink color of wild caught. Finally, many studies have shown that farmed fish suffer extremely high levels of PCBs as compared to their wild alternatives. Sea lice, a common occurrence in farmed fish, are dealt large servings of insecticide. Those fish farms that utilized netting also employ copper sulfate to contain algae growth on the nettings. Periodically, the feed and other chemicals from this toxic mix escape to the wild fish population, creating havoc. I would encourage you to taste both farmed and wild fish to develop a palate that will enable you to distinguish between the two approaches. In a nutshell, wild fish and crustaceans taste like the sea, whereas farmed fish taste like the spices and seasonings meant to mask their lack of flavor.
Similarly, their land based proteins are either genetically modified or fed hormones for growth. Antibiotics are aggressively used for control of diseases in feed lots and pens where these animals stand shoulder to shoulder until remaining upright becomes difficult at an early age. This is why most conventional beef is slaughtered before fourteen months. I, for one, prefer to have any hormones and antibiotics prescribed by my personal physician, not fed to me unknowingly in my food. The reason most restaurants pursue a farmed fish, conventional feed-lot beef, or mass produced conventional eggs and produce is purely to save money. As a population we spend only a third of what we spent thirty years ago on food as a percentage of our income. The resultant impact in our national obesity and cancer rates has been alarming. The need to add taste in the kitchen to inferior raw ingredients has become a standard for restaurants in the U.S. The cheaper the food, the more likely you are slowly poisoning yourself. I don’t fault restaurants serving food with cheap ingredients, as economic pressures and a naive customer base continue to support them. I won’t eat there, however.
Now if I can address your experiences with our service staff. As you know, reservations are required at Dos Brisas. During the reservation process, and again at seating, guests are asked about foods preferences and allergies. As your party simply showed up at our gates looking for a tour, this important step seems to have been overlooked. After an extensive complimentary tour of our grounds by golf cart, which should only have been offered in with an advance booking, the “host” graciously offered to include you in a late brunch. He should have shown you the menu prior to your seating, and we could have circumvented your “sticker shock”. A quick look at the menu details the fact that the service fee is 20%, and pricing is clearly annotated. Our servers are all salaried, or on hourly pay scales that are consistent with a sustainable lifestyle. Their income is increased by periodic assessment of their food, wine, and service knowledge and performance. We decided years ago that a server shouldn’t fret because of a quiet night, when their car payment was due the next day. Nor did we want to have them pressured to “up-sell” the menu and wine list, just to make ends meet.
Your complaint about the “host” mentions several points to ponder. First is that you seemed to imply that portions of your food were eaten before you were served. This is both ludicrous and undeserving. Our kitchen staff consists entirely of graduates of recognized culinary colleges, with extended training at the finest restaurants in both the U.S. and Europe. Your “host” has over two decades of fine dining experience, and holds a coveted “advanced” certification from the Court of Master Sommeliers. Do check your other haunts for this certification in their servers.
Your “watered down” bloody Mary has been written about several times by experienced food critics as sublime. This beverage was created with organic tomatoes harvested from our farm, probably the same day you consumed it. The vodka was infused with these tomatoes in a time consuming process to create a perfectly fresh experience. Our drinks are NEVER watered down, I assure you.
I offer my further apologies for the lack of discretion by another server in their “announcement” of your lactose intolerance to a virtually empty restaurant. As you recall, you were seated following the end of our brunch after most all other guests had concluded their dining experience. Also, as neither your host nor your server was made aware of your lactose intolerance until you were served, this can often lead to delays in food preparation. As to you other allegation about your friends claiming that our “host” has mistreated them in the past, I would encourage them to step forward and contact me directly, as we have never before had such claims surface. Perhaps the eye-rolling that you suggest happened occurred because of his frustration with his own oversight. Salt and pepper shakers are considered part of our standard table setting, and this was seemingly overlooked. Although we didn’t in the past provide a pepper mill we will now do so. Although we strive for perfection, errors do occur. We are human.
We recognize that Dos Brisas is not for everyone. Discriminating taste, experience, and demand for high quality organic foods tend to be trademarks of our average diners.
Although perhaps you are not one, cyber-bullies have become prevalent restaurant critics in this day and age. At the click of a few keys, they relish in their apparent new found power to drive the masses. Hiding behind anonymity, and pumping their own culinary authority with unverifiable qualifications, they often trade barbs to derive financial settlement of their trumped-up grievances. Usually they just fade into the winds of cyberspace, occasionally surfacing with another handle. Now and then, these people become “critics at large” finding fault in in everything that surrounds them for a month or so. Sometimes, they realize that they themselves can become victims of these attacks. In your case, you have shifted from public service to sales. Your own image may someday tarnish from such an unwarranted attack.
We probably won’t be seeing you again at Dos Brisas. I do apologize once again for any omissions and errors that took place during you time with us. I also extend my condolences to your soon-to-be husband and best of luck in your wedding.
This response is the subjective opinion of the management representative and not of TripAdvisor LLC.