December 8, 2009

Seven Glaciers

This is something new for me, but at the Husband's urging, I am posting my first restaurant review!

Seven Glaciers is a restaurant at the Alyeska Ski Resort located on top of the mountain and accessible by tram. It takes its name from the seven glaciers visible from its perch way above sea level - there's one in the upper right corner of the picture, but it's covered with snow so it's a bit hard to see.

Last weekend I stole the Husband away for a surprise get-away to Alyeska. Our finale was lunch at the Seven Glaciers. Lunch is definitely the way to go - this time of year it's dark by dinner time and what's the point of hauling all the way up a mountain to dine if you can't see anything?

Tram tickets are included with any Seven Glaciers reservation - thumbs up! The nice tram people even gave us tickets for complimentary hot chocolate up at the restaurant. That's another plus. The tram runs every 10 minutes, making it easy to get up there in time for your reservation. Be warned - it is chilly and icy. If you are wearing heels, beware!

The restaurant is, quite frankly, gorgeous. You have to climb an additional flight of stairs to get there, but once you do the first thing you see is a lovely wine room with glass walls. The wine shelves have a modern feel to them, playing with shapes and arches. Almost all of the tables have a view of the ski slopes and surrounding mountains. Those on the southern side also get a great look at Turnagain Arm. The decor and settings are definitely aiming for upscale and modern.

As the hostess checked our coats and escorted us to our table, I was getting pretty excited. With decor like this, service like this, the food must be quality, right? The first thing I got was my free hot chocolate (I was wearing a skirt, okay?), which did not disappoint. Fresh cream on top and all! Unfortunately, things started to go downhill from there.

First, our waiter did not tell us about the specials today. When we overheard another waitress telling the table beside us about the rib-eye special, he hurried back and apologized. He then told us all about the 8oz prime rib special.

Huh? So is it rib-eye or prime rib? He assured us that it was prime rib, but we weren't convinced. Either way, one of them was wrong.

The waiter proceeded to explain to us that the portions were designed so that a full meal would be one or two from the "Appetizers and Salads" side and one or two from the "Sandwiches and Entrees" side, plus a dessert. With this in mind, we ordered an appetizer to share. I ordered a sandwich and the Husband ordered the mystery-cut steak special, for which he was never asked how he wanted it cooked.

When the appetizer arrived, I was reassured. Small portions - we had corn and chicken fritters, which came with an array of sauces, all artfully plated. On the plus side, the chile-honey sauce was the most fantastic thing I've eaten in a long time. Unfortunately, the other sauces were boring at best and my fritters were not properly cooked. Almost burned on the outside, but still gooey on the inside. Blech.

When the entrees arrived, I was shocked at the quantity of food. It turns out that the Husband's steak was prime rib, but that mountain of meat was definitely not 8oz. It looked more like 16 to me! It was also slightly overcooked and no steak knife was provided. He did approve of the arugala salad that came along side it though. My sandwich of beef tips and gruyere on a garlic baguette sounded delicious, but when arrived it was clear that it should have been advertised as an open-faced sandwich. No way could I pick this thing up - I had to ask for a knife. The beef tips were tough, if there was garlic on the bread I couldn't tell. Nor could I tell if the little cheese shreds were, in fact, gruyere. In fact, all I could taste was this sauce which had been liberally poured over it. And it was not a good sauce.

Now, had we received this entree course at a different restaurant, I would have had a more favorable view. But the Seven Glaciers is clearly trying to be an upscale restaurant - I expect small portions, cooked well and tastefully plated. The appetizer followed these lines, but the entree just subscribed to the Alaska motto "Bigger is Better!" and was really quite shocking to me. I believed I described it as "Alaska trying to be fancy."

Still, we were up here, and decided to see what dessert had in store for us. We ordered the apple dessert. An apple-flavored brioche bread pudding, topped with roasted apple ice cream and rum sauce. Alongside, a mini apple tart and a miniature caramel apple.

With dessert, we were getting closer to the small portions and thoughtful plating (though I thought the tart was unnecessary from a portion and visual perspective). So I dug into the bread pudding, making sure to get some of the rum sauce. Now, I love rum sauce. I love rum, too. But I don't want my rum sauce to taste like I'm downing shots of bacardi, people. And that's what it tasted like. I don't know what they did to this poor sauce, but man. The only thing you could taste was raw alcohol flavor. And it wasn't even good rum!

That said, the bread pudding was fantastic, but the roasted apple ice cream was the star of the show. I could have eaten bowls of both. The tartlet was dry - unneeded in all aspects! The Husband proclaimed the caramel apple to be better looking than it tasted, but I can accept that in a garnish.

So, the bottom line for Seven Glaciers - they try too hard to be something they are not.

That said, I would absolutely come back again. But only for lunch. And then only for soup and salad - and that apple dessert, but no rum sauce, thank you.

1 comment:

  1. Now for the moment of truth: whose brioche was better - yours or theirs?