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“Another gem on our trip north”
Review of Matthew's

Matthew's
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Ranked #120 of 2,057 Restaurants in Jacksonville
Certificate of Excellence
Price range: $10 - $80
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Restaurant details
Good for: Business meetings, Special occasions, Bar scene, Romantic
Dining options: Dinner, Private Dining, Reservations
Dining style: Fine Dining
Cross street: Alford Place
Description: For over a decade, Matthew's Restaurant in San Marco has been one of Northeast Florida's most distinctive, innovative and elegant restaurants. Chef Matthew Medure has set the standard in fine dining with his unique menu options, impeccable service and attention to detail. The staff is at your service and prepared for your every need. The menu is carefully thought out each day to surprise and entertain your palate and to satisfy every distinctive taste.
Reviewed September 18, 2013 via mobile

It is rare that you find two great restaurants in one day in two separate cities when on a 1400 mile trip. So, imagine my surprise when we pulled in Jacksonville late, another story all together, and we discovered Matthews. I was overjoyed to see the well dressed crowd, open kitchen, and beautiful decor. The service matched our desire to just sit & relax our way through our meals. The food presentation was amazing and the food itself excellent...though I do agree with one reviewer who mentioned the hunk of fat in the pork shoulder. We had an excellent bottle of wine for a very reasonable price. We were overall very pleased with the experience and will put this restaurant in the list if we should find ourselves doing this north-south trip again.

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Thank cparker1771
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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95 - 99 of 193 reviews

Reviewed September 3, 2013

Ate here while in town with friends and enjoyed a wonderful night out with amazing seafood, appetizers, cocktails along with great service. We tried a variety of things and nothing disappointed. Make reservations as they fill up fast and you may not get a table on the weekend without them!

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1  Thank TXMARTINS
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed September 1, 2013

We have been long-time patrons of Matthews, and have noticed a decline in the quality and uniqueness of the entrees. Our most recent visit was disappointing. While the serivce was very good, the food was not up the the high standards we had come to expect. My wife's pork shoulder was fall-off-the-bone tender, but you can imagine her surpeise when her first taste was a mouthful of fat. We took the remainder home, where on the next day we discovered that a large corner of the meat was pure fat. Such poor quality was inconceivable in years past, but now...

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Thank NewAdventurer2
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed August 22, 2013

Definitely the place for special occasions!!! Food is unbelievable, service is excellent BUT it is quite expensive. One of my favorite restaurants in town!!!

1  Thank lovemytravels1124
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed August 15, 2013

What is it about Matthews? In the six or seven years we've been dining there, it's slipped in core dining parameters while remaining, "The only game in town" because of its aspirational goals rather than actual performance on the plate. That is, Matthews began by offering impeccable service and top-notch food in a tasteful setting. It now offers so-so food and adequate (well, maybe adequate if your standards aren't too discerning) service while all the "cues" (price, fancy menus on 200-pound stock, beautiful flower arrangements) are telling you that you're in a top-flight joint, are paying good money and entitled to the very best experience on all parameters.

Food is, at least nowadays when standards for dishes no longer exist, a subjective area so I will be brief on this count. In the distant past of my jeunesse, top-tier restaurants had a large lexicon of classical dishes, their general composition known to the industry and to the upscale diners who formed the core clientele, and one could endorse or disapprobate the Oysters Rockefeller or Lobster Thermidor based on a familiarity with the menu item. Today, there's not much left of this Edith Wharton world. Every dish is new and unique, every combination a spin of the roulette wheel and therefore in the absence of gross negligence ("My quail was raw" or "The salad was made with iceberg lettuce,") what really can one say about "The Food"?

What I can say about The Food we were served is that all of it sounded good on the page, and none of it was bad or defective, but unlike dining at Matthews during its golden age, I note that no one at our table actually said, "Wow, this is terrific!" or felt the urge to pass a tidbit around. Food at this price point should be outstanding and I am not able to explain in any detail what might or might not have been done to make it really sizzle.

On the service score, it's a bit easier to point to the defects, and doing so does not mean that we were abused by any of the pleasant, helpful and willing staff. The defects are, as with the food, something that has to be laid at the door of the management for failing to train the help to proficiency at managing a dining room. That is, the waiters (oops, "servers" is the new nomenclature") assistant-servers (these exist and actually so identify themselves) and busboys (are these now called table-support-personnel?) were uniformly pleasant and eager to please. But a random desire to make nice does not excuse the lamentable state of their training and preparation.

I have pointed out in an earlier review that Matthews appears to have abandoned the provision of valet parking and of having someone on hand to open the door to the restaurant and greet diners. On that occasion I thought it might have been a random oversight, I now believe it is a new policy. Why anyone would pull back from this modest exercise of civility I cannot imagine but they ought to rethink this new indifference. I've had more effusive greetings at Bono's.

In the selling and handling of wine some training are needed. Our waiter took our order for a bottle of 2009 Puligny-Montrachet. After a lengthy delay he showed up at the table with a bottle of Mersault. When challenged on this he seemed entirely unfamiliar with white Burgundy. He retired to consult the wine list at the bar, then disappeared for another interlude and reappeared bearing the sorry story that the wine we had ordered had just been sold to another diner so it would require a delay while he chilled a new bottle.

This is baby stuff: he should, of course, have brought the bottle to the table at once, verified it was as ordered and then set it to chill at the table assuming they can't afford a wine cooler. I suppose they have one of those instant chiller gadgets backstairs, but the point here is simple: the time to present the bottle was at once not to mention "get it right the first time."

We had brought a bottle of vintage red wine and asked to have it decanted. Our server showed up with a decanter that looked like one of those flasks from Breaking Bad, uncorked the wine and poured it in. Poured is the operative word here, gurgle-gurgle.To make sure he didn't miss a a drop he upended the bottle over the decanter to make sure nothing remained behind. This is not how to decant a bottle of wine and had this wine been burdened with sediment, it would have all passed to the decanter. Obviously no one trains these nice young people on this basic task. It will be a long while before I bring a good bottle of wine to this joint. Yet, in fact, sharing the wine with some friends had been the reason we decided to dine there. But again, the point is not that he ruined my bottle, happily he did not, but that no one seems to care how these things are done.

Finally our main courses arrived in two shifts (more or less at the same time). Now we were a party of four and had encountered a "server" and an ":assistant server", would it have been too much for the dining room manager to train these folks to team up and carry the four plates at the same time? This is "fine dining" basics. I am not even asking that they be brought by bewigged and liveried footmen with silver covers to be whisked off all four plates at once, but the arrival might have been worked out to be simultaneous.

Again: none of this is a critique of the service personnel. How food is presented, how costly wines are to be handled, how much or how little the help know about the wine list itself, are issues of training and supervision.

Last but not least: I did not see a single table with salt and pepper provided. In any case, none was on our table. I believe this is a kind of arrogance that one finds all to often in fancy-schmantzy joints like Matthews where some "chef" feels it an outrage if a diner might wish to adjust his calibrated seasonings. But to me this is a basic and one should not have to ask for it. Oddly, we were never even offered the usually obligatory, "Would you like some fresh pepper". I would be glad to sacrifice this usually pointless exercise in having one's food seasoned for one by the waiter, but I vote for a salt and pepper mill on each table. What say you Matthew? Is that a step too far?

This will probably not be the last meal I eat in Matthews, but they would be far more frequent if Mr. Medure would get back to paying attention to this flagship of his little culinary empire.

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1  Thank buybeach
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.

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