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“Not What It Used To Be...”

The Water St. Cooker
Ranked #107 of 482 Restaurants in Burlington
Price range: $20 - $40
Cuisines: Seafood, Steakhouse, Grill
More restaurant details
Restaurant details
Good for: Business meetings, Local cuisine, Romantic
Dining options: Breakfast, Reservations
Reviewed March 3, 2013

The Waterstreet Cooker used to be my family's favourite restaurant to celebrate special occasions; birthdays, anniversaries, etc. I hadn't been there a over a year and decided to go for my anniversary. This restaurant is not what it used to be - it's more rundown, the staff don't care like they used to, and the food is not what I have come to expect over the years. To start, it took over 15 minutes for our server to come to our table to take our drink order. Our appetizer of poutine was soaked in gravy. I got the seafood pasta for my main and I asked for a rose sauce, however the sauce tasted more like a curry and it was a muddy brown colour - not very appetizing.
When we called ahead to make a reservation I told the lady it was our anniversary and she told me she would make a special note of that. However, not once throughout the night was our anniversary even acknowledged. I'm not asking for anything free, but what was the point of telling me a "special note" was made on my reservation when no one seemed to care. In the past there was a lot more attention to detail made by the staff, and my recent visit went to show how much this restaurant has changed.
After this visit I will not be returning, and for those looking for a nice restaurant in Burlington I would suggest maybe trying Spencer's, which is just down the road.

    • Value
    • Atmosphere
    • Service
    • Food
Thank WanderlustBeauty
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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Reviews (84)
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44 - 48 of 84 reviews

Reviewed February 15, 2013

everything. staff was so knowledgeable of whatever question thrown at them regarding menu,drinks,will be back luv it all

Thank Marilyn T
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed January 31, 2013

Good food for the price and a nice view by the water. We had the buffet lunch and the selections were not a lot but the quality of food was very good.

Thank Richard M
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed January 20, 2013

Nice welcoming atmosphere and view of Lake Ontario. Certainly not a steakhouse atmosphere, but a little better than the average medium to higher end dining experience. Good service.

Thank Lorne M
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed November 4, 2012

I booked this restaurant based on a good experience 10 years ago. We reserved for 8:30pm which the hostess said would be good because the main evening rush would have dissipated. This was a special dinner out to celebrate my partner's birthday.

Where do I start? The ambiance - non existent. Paint peeling off the window sills, (yes we had a coveted window table) a couple of token pictures, white table cloths with brown paper covering them (where's the crayons? As far as I can see there's no kids menu included!) Can't see out the window to the lake because the lighting inside was turned up.

The evening got off to a fine start when the waitress brought our drinks and proceed to spill them over the brown paper (ahh that's why it's there).

The came the free appetizer. Cold flat bread? It looked like it had been half eaten (only 3 olives for us). I sent it back and got the proper portion (fresh out of the oven - yay) So indeed we had got someone else's left over half eaten appetizer. Perfect. My partner had a roasted vegetable soup which was luke warm and tasted like bland pureed potato.

Then came the main courses. The food prices reflect a higher standard of food preparation. Unfortunately the food didn't reflect that. The prime rib was cold with luke warm au jus. The rib isn't supposed to be piping hot but the au jus is supposed to be flaming to warm up the rib. No such luck here.

Then came the fish. Cedar planked salmon with maple glaze. Sounds good right? The salmon came with pine plank splints (1 strike), a sprinkling of pre-cooked vegetables, and fries that were in a separate bowl for some reason. Ok how hard is it to screw up fish? Well it wasn't even remotely cooked.(2 strikes). After trying to summon the waitress 5 times, I managed to alert her to the fact it wasn't cooked. She told me it would be 2 minutes. It ended up being closer to 10 minutes by which point my fellow diner was almost finished. The worst part though was that it came back with only half the portion (the one I had eaten a little of) the rest of it I don't know - did they toss it, did they eat it themselves, did it end up on the floor by accident? (3 strikes).

The service. The waitress was friendly and concerned but I was confused. It wasn't rush hour yet we had three people waiting on our table because the waitress was too busy. I guess that's why I had a hard time alerting her to the re-used appetizer, half cooked fish and also why she did a table check before we had even started our food. She made a joke about the brown paper and then processed to spill drinks all over it. She didn't charge us for the meal which I would expect after all the screw ups.

I would say to prospective diners that there is awful dining here in a casual atmosphere. The food preparation is suspect, the atmosphere awful and more indicative of a lousy roadhouse.

We went downstairs afterwards to Emma's Back Porch where we actually got cooked food, better service and a warmer ambiance. Go figure.

Thanks Water Street Cooker. I will never be able to get that night back. I would have complained to a manager but guess what? There were none in sight. Which is not surprising given the state of the place. Maybe the owner is out of the country. He owns Emma's and The Water Street Cooker but perhaps he should just fold the Water Street Cooker into Emma's and forget all the pretension. After all the modus operandi seems to be about economy (giving the diner much less than what they expect).

Don't waste your money here. You can go down the street to Spencer's and have a better dining experience and better view for approximately the same bill. I am just sorry I didn't book there instead.

    • Value
    • Atmosphere
    • Service
    • Food
2  Thank bjc2691
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.

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