Tag Archives: Trotters

Bryan’s Surprises with Great Service!

One of the most common criticisms of Merida restaurants by the Casual Restaurant Critic is the deplorable service in most places (with a few notable exceptions), especially at the higher end of the price range where it seems like everything has been invested in except waiter training and selection.

So, on a visit this afternoon to the newest of the Trotter’s restaurants, it was a joy to be able to finally receive good – no GREAT – service from a young man who looked after the Critic and his Better Half. After being ignored by the hostess on the way in (she was talking to some folks so she could be forgiven for not being able to multitask at the door although that should be in her job description) the Critic was not expecting anything better but an older gentleman who one could assume is the capitan de meseros or manager led the party of two to a table. Actually, it was a booth, as per the Critic’s choice and it was a bad choice. The only quibble for today’s meal was the seating. The booth looks inviting with what appear to be cushy cushions and a cozy sort of vibe; unfortunately, one sinks into the not-so-cushy cushions and one then feels the wooden frame within on one’s tush. Note to Mr Trotter – restuff the cushions and back rests!

A pleasant young man approached the table, took drink orders and left menus. Better half ordered a tuna sashimi salad and a potentially complicated version of the burger which was essentially the burger but without the bun. The Critic ordered the small version of the Caesar salad and a pasta consisting of black spaghetti and veggies in a lemon cream plus sauteed shrimp. And here is the amazing part. You know when you are telling your waiter what you want and he is furiously scribbling on a pad of paper? Well this young man just nodded and when the Critic and Better Half had ordered, he confirmed the order from memory, almost verbatim and with a curt smile and a con permiso left to tell the kitchen what to do. Please note that this is the first time in Merida, where the Critic has lived for TWENTY FOUR YEARS, that any waiter has not written anything down. One sees this in upscale restaurants in the US, Canada and elsewhere, but this was a first for the Critic in Merida. Even in the most basic panucheria, where all there is to order are panuchos, salbutes and a caldo, the waiter on hand will always be writing everything down as if it was so darn confusing.

The food was very good. The sashimi salad with a peanut dressing was cold and large enough to make entree status, while the mini Caesar was more than mini and actually a Caesar, unlike the version the Trotters serve up at their flagship location, Trotters, which contains all kinds of things not generally common in a Caesar salad.

The sans-bun burger arrived perfectly presented and the spaghetti, in spite of the misgivings about what a lemon cream would taste like, was delicious.

Afterwards, the bill was summoned and arrived promptly. The manager also stopped by at the entree portion of the meal to see if everything was alright.

A great lunch experience; hopefully this level of service will be maintained!



Bryans – The Newest Trotter Restaurant

Por fin, as they say around here, the Casual Restaurant Critic got his critical butt into a comfortable seat at Bryans, the latest and greatest in the Trotters chain here in sunny Merida.

For those of you unfamiliar with Trotters (no relation to Charlie in Chicago) the Trotters have several first-rate restaurants here in Merida; there’s Panchos downtown catering to the tourist crowd as well as those interested in picking up tourists who have overdone it on the excellent margaritas there; there’s La Tratto, an upscale and always popular trattoria located on the Prolongacion (del Paseo de) Montejo; the relatively new self-named Trotters, just down the street from the Burger King fountain (hey, that’s what it’s called around here) off Montejo which quickly became the benchmark for Merida restaurants trying to create the perfect dining room and now Bryans, which is even swankier than Trotters.

The menu at Bryans appears to be similar to that of Trotters, at least at first glance. There are some meats, some salads and some soups, as well as some desserts that all appear to be a continuation (or evolution) of items seen on the Trotters menu. The feel of the place? One certainly does not feel as if one is in Merida at least for a little while. There is an impeccable open kitchen, filled with industrious chefs and their helpers working away, polished stone and dark wood finishes throughout, enormous floor-to-ceiling open windows/doors, an upstairs wine attic visible from the dining area below, subdued lighting throughout and the huge terrace outside for those who enjoy a little nicotine with their dinner. Perhaps a little less formal than Trotters, but a whole lot more elegantly hip, this restaurant has to be seen to be believed and is filled nightly with Meridas beautiful people who know nothing of an economic crisis, thank you very much. The Critic, in spite of not being one of the beautiful people, was accompanied by his beautiful Better Half and so had an excuse for being there and visited Bryans at lunchtime, just before the rush.

Food ordered included a Parisian burger, medium rare and others in the party ordered the pork filet, which appeared to look more like a fat chop, served with a barbecue sauce. The smallish burger was very tasty and the Parisian part consisted of the sauteed mushrooms and onions on the meat and the small size of the platter turned out to be just right – not too much, not too little. The other members of the party commented that their pork was delicious. For desserts, the fantatic tiramisu cheesecake and a berry tart that the Better Half recalled as having been served to her warm on a previous visit. This time it was not warm, but straight out of the fridge. Coffee was excellent , aromatic nd fresh, individually made to order for each person.

The food, at least to this cantankerous Critic, although good, was not as mind blowing as he had expected. Unlike the recent meal at Hennessy’s, which blew the Critic away, this was fine, but nothing that the Critic would say exceeded expectations.

On a nit-picky note, the servers were friendly and plentiful, although large gaps appeared between their visits to the table and in spite of many of them just circling around, including supervisors. They could have been a little more attentive to the table at crucial moments, such as ordering desserts, refilling coffee, when it came time to ask for the bill, that sort of thing. Another detail which stood out in this immaculately beautiful dining room was the fact that the drinks were served not on a coaster with a funky design, but on a servilleta Lys, folded in half. One must assume that the printer is working frantically on those coasters as the limp wet napkin hardly does justice to the obvious care and attention paid to every other detail.

So, while the Critic would jump at the chance to return to Hennessy’s to sample more of their menu and enjoy a frosty Guiness, Bryans did not evoke that feeling. But go and visit the place yourself, and drink in the terrific ambience and then form your own opinion.

Hacienda Misne, Indigo Hotel

The Casual Restaurant Critic wanted to try something completely off the beaten path and since reading a decent review of a breakfast had by fellow neurotic blogger Gorbman, he thought he would take his Better Half for dinner there.

The hacienda is beautiful, from what one could see at night; completely at odds with the surrounding area, near to where you leave Merida for Cancun, which could optimistically be described using the local term ‘popular’.

Every staff member the Critic and BH came into contact with was extremely friendly, courteous and helpful, not only parking the car but escorting the two to the restaurant.

A little of everything was ordered in order to sample the most of a modest menu (compared to the myriad offerings from the Da Vinci restaurant review previously, this one is bare-bones!) and unfortunately, in spite of being hungry, the food was not particularly good. It looks like someone is trying to create some interesting food in the kitchen, without really being able to get the final results to have any flavor!

The mushrooms could have benefited from an additional dash of salt or a dollop of minced garlic or something to bring out their flavor. The BH ordered the Ensalada del Patrón (The Bosses Salad) which she enjoyed while the Critic ate a Caesar Salad which, although better than the Trotters version which has nothing to do with a real Caesar Salad, lacked the anchovies and garlic that a good Caesar salad should have. Or don’t call it a Caesar.

For the main course, BH ordered ‘stuffed bananas’ and the Critic Rollo Campesina. The banana dish was not hot and was sent back with no complaints from the service staff which were most accommodating. It’s taste was rather lackluster as was the stuffed chicken whose saving grace was that it was bacon-wrapped and everyone knows that anything can taste better when you add bacon.  BH thought that the sliced, cooked bananas over the ground meat underneath were a little under-ripe and took away from the dish.

The Critic thinks this would be a decent place for breakfast and will try it again, in the morning. This will also give him a good chance to check out the grounds around this tree-filled oasis. For dinner however (and lunch, it’s the same menu) the Critic would recommend staying away until some changes are announced in the kitchen.

The austere dining room at the Hacienda Misne

Sauteed mushroom appetizer

Caesar Salad

Platanos Rellenos entree

Stuffed Chicken Breast entree

The Trotters Burger Trio

At this time of the year, Merida restaurants respond to the decline in attendance by offering promotions and specials, especially for those husbands or spouses that have to stay and work in Merida while the rest of the family vacations in and around Progreso. These husbands have no one at home to ‘serve’ them their lunch and so the restaurateurs of the formerly white city take it upon themselves to fill in for the duration.

One of these is Trotters, who have an excellently priced lunch special that runs around $150 pesos or so and includes a soup, refillable refresco, a main course and a dessert.

The Critic and his Better Half had the opportunity to sample this lunch the other day. The verdict? Take it or leave it.

The service was really rough at the beginning with an extended gap between the seating and the appearing of a menu and the offer of a drink. Drink refills were sporadic. Appetizer delivery was clueless; the busboy offered the appetizer to an adjacent table (where the diners were finishing their main courses), did not look around and headed back to the kitchen where the appetizer remained for quite some time.

Air conditioning was minimal, making it just a little uncomfortable with the humid heat Merida is suffering these days.

The soup, a cream of asparagus, was too obviously made with Carnation canned milk. The Mini Burger Trio however, was excellent. Juicy and tasty, each little burger had its own little theme going on.

The Critic can not really say that this is a Do Not Miss promotion. Take it or leave it.

Trotters Revisited

The Casual Restaurant Critic has reviewed Trotter before (in 2005 and 2006) and so it’s about time for an update.

Last night the CRC and his BH (you should know what the initials stand for by now) had a late, after work dinner at Trotters.

Turns out that Mondays are pretty quiet and you can get a table quickly and the waiters aren’t rushed and… there is a wine special on. You get a discount of $200 pesos on any bottle of wine on their ‘regular’ list, which has some good ones, and $500 off per bottle on their short ‘Gran Cava’ wine list, which contains names like Chateau Jenesaisrien and others that are completely unfamiliar to the uneducated palate of the Critic.

In a nutshell, dinner was very good. A bottle of shiraz; cooked-to-perfection Steak au Poivre with hot, seasoned pommes frites; a refreshing watercress salad; steak medallions with an espresso crust (interesting but not as good as the steak au poivre) with creamy broccoli and roasted asparagus.

Desserts were of the oversized, cakey, heavy variety and after a steak dinner, it would have been just too much, so no desserts this time. Besides, on the one occasion when the desserts were sampled, they were not at all up to par with the rest of the menu.

A great night out in a spectacular room for $90.00 Not cheap, but a very agradable way to spend a couple of hours with someone you enjoy being with.