Review: Mission Beach Cafe

Ah, where to begin? I had walked by the Mission Beach Cafe several times, always thinking it looked nice with an interesting menu. And it's close to where I live. Why hadn't I eaten here yet?!

Cut to last night.

R and I made reservations at MBC through Open Table for 9:30pm. We arrived about 5 minutes early.

My first impression: wow, this place is busy. Several people at the "bar" and nearly all the tables full.

My second impression: where the hell do I check in for my reservation?

The layout is a bit odd with a counter for the selling of pies and other desserty items and a computer next to it where the waiters enter orders and/or arrange seating. Finally, we had to approach them, and found out that they were "a little backed up at the moment," but he would bring us a glass of wine.

Okay, fine. I personally understand the vagaries of seating people at a restaurant. It must be part art, part science, with a dollop of voodoo. The offer of a glass of wine seemed a reasonable panacea for my impatience.

Cut to 10 minutes later.

"Greeter"/Host happens by and asks if we would like to order a glass of wine while we wait. Um, didn't you offer us a glass for basically not honoring our reservation? Nevertheless, we ordered a couple glasses. I tried the Albarino (I can't type the N correctly with the little ~) and R ordered the RRR Pinot Noir. Wait, they might be out; he'll have to check. So, R said the other PN would be fine, too.

He brought us our wine. We still don't know which pinot R got. Both of our choices turned out to be pretty good, though.

After about 30 minutes, we were seated. Having had plenty of time to look at the menus, we proceeded to look at them some more. We ordered the Flat Bread with prosciutto and goat cheese--the Flat Bread of the Day. When it arrived, I swear it had diced ham on it. Whatever it was, it was NOT prosciutto.

We also ordered our entrees: Rabbit Pot Pie with a side of potatoes for me, and the lamb burger for R with a side of the vegetable of the day.

First the burger: the waiter "warned" R that the burger would be full-flavored. Is this a good tactic? He ordered it medium-rare, and it came medium (which is what he wanted--thanks Yelpers for that tip!). And it was, indeed, full-flavored. R didn't love it; I thought it was okay, but would rather have a real burger. Lamb should come in chop form. His plate of asparagus looked appetizing enough, but I didn't try any for the following reason: TEMPERATURE

I don't know if they're trying to save energy or simply lack a thermometer, but all of my food was tepid--as were the vegetables. I'm a firm believer in hot food. And pot pies fall into that category. As do, I think, mashed potatoes. But these were far, oh so far, from hot.

I also believe that food sent back to the kitchen is tampered with, so I bit my tongue (at least IT was warm).

It was a shame, too. The pot pie had a good taste. The rabbit was tender and the crust was good.

To top the meal off, we decided to try some pie. That seems to be their forte. We ordered the apple-cranberry--no ice cream because they were out, so we got whipped cream.

Would you believe the pie was lukewarm at best. So much for hot apple pie!

All in all, not a pleasant dining experience. I would neither recommend nor return, and I'm shocked by all the 4 and 5 star ratings.


Their side of the story:

"My name is Bill Clarke and I am the owner of Mission Beach along with my partner Alan Carter, the baker . I am sorry you had a disappointing experience at our restaurant. . . . In regard to the wait...we had four tables that had three hour dinners which threw off the whole evening. We would like to seat all reservations on time and would never purposely mislead a customer. After taking care of the customer I was working with I came over to you, told you about the wait and handed you a wine list so that you could order wine while you waited. I came back to take your order, checked wine storage to see if we were indeed out of the RRR pinot, poured your second choice(the Tolosa pinot), and was back with your wine within 5 - 10 minutes. I believe I seated you at 9:50. . . . .I wish you had sent back your lukewarm food to be reheated as well - it is such an easy correction. In regard to the ice cream..we ran out at 11:15 after a busier than usual "a la mode" evening which can happen at the end of busy nights. Also, we don't advertize "hot" apple pie. All our pies are served room temperature because heating further cooks the dough and fruit, but we are happy to serve it hot if a customer specifies. Again, I am sorry that your experience was less then enjoyable . I would like to offer you a 25% discount on dinner for two hoping that you will give us a chance to win back your patronage."

Thanks for the message, Bill. However, I just don't think I should have to send back food to the kitchen.


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