Mimi’s Review

Recently the wife and I ventured out with the family for dinner. Though we live in a midsize city there is not a lot of non-chain offerings to choose from. In addition to this we needed someplace we knew would have something for our three picky eaters to enjoy. So we chose Mimi’s Café located in Orem, Utah. For those unfamiliar with the chain the restaurant is housed in a “French themed cottage” edifice that is brightly painted that invites images of fun and whimsy. The restaurant touts itself with claims of fresh handmade food that will be delicious and satisfying. It is a general rule of thumb not to review a restaurant until you have eaten there three times. So I will begin by qualifying this review by saying I have eaten at Mimi’s only twice and at this particular location only once. Previously I dined at the Sandy, Utah location to a somewhat better result. It has also been suggested, by the great Ruth Reichl, that it’s easy to write a scathing review of a restaurant. However, my experience at this restaurant was so amazingly poor that it begs to be shared. We arrived and found ourselves faced with a possible ten minute wait. Given that it was a Friday night I thought that was a remarkably short time to wait. But with four kids in tow I had to find a way to keep them occupied. So I took the two oldest boys and we crossed the parking lot to Barnes & Noble where we briefly perused magazines before returning. Once we returned the real fun began. Another belief of Ruth Reichl is that children don’t belong in restaurants. This is quickly becoming my belief as well and I did proclaim this our last sit-down dinner outing for quite some time to come. I have been so persistent about it because I want to teach my kids that there is a nice, quiet, polite way to act in public and a family friendly chain restaurant seems the best place to do that. Just not with four kids. Perhaps in the coming months (and possibly years) outings with one or two of the children rather that the entire brood will be more in line with my mission. In spite of several trips to the bathroom, fights over the three crayons in only two different shades, and one kids obstinate refusal to choose something on the kids menu because there were just too many choices and it was “too hard” to decide, we determined what we would eat. The night’s fare consisted of mini burgers for two of the children, one with fries and one with fruit, and chocolate chip pancakes for the third who later remembered he had also been interested in the mini corndogs and nearly had a fit three quarters of the way through his meal insisting that we order him the corndogs. For the adults slightly more sophisticated fare was selected. A current promotion at the restaurant is there Fresh Spring Special Three Course Meal for $12.99. The offerings are from their smaller portioned “Just Right” selections. The smaller portions trend is finding it’s way into more and more establishments and his a positive turn in menu design in comparison to the mountains of food we’ve grown accustomed to in this country. My wife chose to feast upon French Onion soup, Crispy Parmesan Chicken, and the Petite Apple Crisp. My selections were the Dinner Salad, the Maple Glazed Pork Chop, and I finished up with the Petite Triple Chocolate Brownie served ala mode. Unfortunately the meal in writing promises more than it ultimately delivered. Our service was fair and the food was worse. Our server’s area of the dining room was, I fear, drastically over seated. She never seemed to be quite caught up with the crowd. As a result everyone suffered even to the point that we were overcharged for our abysmal meal and I had to return the next day for a refund. The worst part about that is by not catching the overcharge at the table I over tipped our waitress. There is not much to say about the food so I keep the agony short. The soup tasted like something akin to bath water after the bathing of dirty children. The chicken it self was good, however, paired with the tasteless sauce, and bland overcooked pasta it wasn’t worth the effort. The dinner salad did have Spring mix in it which nearly made the iceberg forgivable. The maple glazed pork was overcooked and covered in cheap imitation maple syrup. The vegetable that accompanied the pork was even worse. In case you ever wondered it is apparently possible to have carrots so old they actually have a sort of gray color to them. Never fear the meal was not a total loss. The Apple crisp was wonderful (but then after a meal that bad what wouldn’t be) and the brownie was a warm tasty experience that I would repeat. Overall stay away from Mimi’s or at least the one in Orem, UT. It is not an experience you will be eager to repeat.

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~ by Mel's Boy on Monday, 20 April 2009.

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