Two years ago, Pat and Karan Ziarnik were watching Resturant Impossible on Food Network (see article in North Kitsap Herald). They knew they needed the help as much as the restaurant they saw. They contacted Food Network right after that show, but it took 2 years for them to be featured on the show. The taping took place in the fall of 2012 and the episode first aired on January 2nd, 2013. Could Robert Irvine help save turn around a business whose income is down 48 percent since 2007 or will it join the list of restaurants that failed?
Whiskey Creek Steakhouse | Click here for the restaurant's website
Problems Robert Had to Address
1. The decor stinks both figuratively and literally
2. The resturant is too dark
3. Hard chairs that the owner has been waiting for 20 years to get rid of
4. Service that lacked basic cleanliness
5. Night manager too busy serving to manage
6. Food that is lacking basic seasoning - like salt
One of the biggest issues Robert had to spend a lot of time investigating a problem with their numbers. They should have had tens of thousands of more dollars. It turns out all the staff admitted they have seen someone take food without paying for it. The owners had no one in charge really when they weren't there. You need a full time manager, not someone who is too busy serving guests to be able to fully commit to the job. Not taking the time to train the staff and to have a reliable person in charge is what I think has brought this restaurant from making 1.5 million year to making 40% less than that.
Peppercorn Demi NY Strip Steak with Olive Oil Poached Mushrooms | Click here for the recipe
A New York strip seasoned with salt and black pepper, served with a demi-glace and some green peppercorns. I like the use of two different types of pepper. If you haven't used green peppercorns before, you should give them a try. Take a moment to learn more about the different types of peppercorns
Coconut Walnut Halibut | Click here for the recipe
Pieces of halibut dipped into a batter of breadcrumbs, shredded coconut, and walnut pieces, and then deep fried.
At the end of every show, they also show the happy, smiling customers who adore the decor and love the food. Makes the RI crew look good. To find the real truth I searched online at website like Yelp & Trip Advisor for reviews from customers since the makeover. I found some positive comments but they were few and far between. Several people said they were excited going in and left swearing to never return. The service was said to be extremely slow and unfriendly. I think the owners really could use some training on how to train their staff. Some of these owners need to taught how to give good service so they can impart that knowledge to their employees.
Another complaint I read about was they were charging $25 for the fish and chips that were $15 a month earlier. As for the decor a lot of people said it was better before the makeover. One person complained they had to pull out a flashlight to read the menu! Even after the makeover areas of the restaurant still seemed on the dark side.
As for the recipes Robert featured in the show, I did not see the halibut dish on their menu on their website, but it their site does say they have a new site coming, so maybe the menu on there is outdated.
While this place is still around now, if these kind of comments continue I can't imagine them lasting much longer. If you have been there since the makeover, leave a comment below telling me what you thought.
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If you want more Robert Irvine recipes, here are some of his available cookbooks:
This cookbook contains 111 recipes many with complete timelimes and several that are gluten free. An example of the kind of recipes you will find are Lime-Cured Shrimp and Roasted Corn Chowder, Porcini-Dusted Pork Chops with Cremini Mushrooms and Golden Raisins over Horseradish-Scented Potatoes.
In this book Robert shares his personal stories (including cooking for First Lady Laura Bush) and cooking philosophy. There are also recipes to be had like Black Angus Beef Tartare with Toasted Brioche and Fried Quail Egg, Roasted Duck with White Bean Ragout.
We visited Whiskey Creek, for dinner, after the "makeover" and were not impressed. It was so dark that it was very difficult to read the menu. (Let me interject here to say that I remember what it was like 10 years ago when it was truly a destination place. The food used to be amazing, but we stopped going there, when the quality of the meals declined drastically.) On our recent revisit, I ordered the ribeye steak ($24). We waited 40 minutes after we ordered, for our first hint of food to arrive . . . the restaurant was not crowded that night. Though the flavor of my steak was good, because of the poor lighting, I was not able to see it well enough to be able to cut away fat or gristle and ended up with several mouth fulls of both, which I had to awkwardly remove from my mouth. When our meal was done, I mentioned the poor quality of the steak to our server and she reduced the price by 1/3. We will not be going back again.
Thank you for your comment! Sucks that you didn't have a pleasant experience. Seems like this place needed more help than Robert could give them, don't know if they will survive in the long run.