6997 Friars Road San Diego, CA 92108
As I advance in age, I try to stay away from expensive restaurants or restaurants where I feel I have to “dress up”. I have always felt that I could not shop at Neiman Marcus or Nordstrom’s because it was too expensive for me, and people would look askance at me wearing sandals and cutoffs. Funny, because I have charge accounts at both stores, but do most of my shopping on line.
However, today two of my support group ladies – Irene and Ro wanted to go out to lunch and they picked the “Café Nordstrom”. It was centrally located for us – I live in Ocean Beach; Ro lives in La Mesa and Irene lives in Santee. We agreed to meet at 12:00 upstairs on the 3rd floor where the restaurant is located.
I wasn’t wearing my “schlubbies” – but I was wearing jeans, a flannel/thermal shirt; and black boots from my days of living in Maine. Still, I was smiled at by many people – I always wonder what they are smiling at when that happens – but graciously smiled back.
I arrived first and decided to use the restroom next to the restaurant. An episode happened I will share with you, because it only confirms my belief about the clientele at Nordstroms:
There was a woman washing her hands at the sink as I came out of the stall. A friend of hers was still in another stall. She said, “Oh my Goodness! Someone left their keys in the stall. And they are to a Mercedes.” Her friend said, “maybe you should leave them there because when she realizes they are missing she will try to retrace her steps to find them.” I said “why don’t we take the keys and go find the Mercedes.” Her friend said, in all sincerity “she already drives a Mercedes!”
Irene arrived next and we looked over the menu that was available on the front desk. It started out with SOUPS – cup $3.75 and bowl $4.95. Their everyday soup is a Tomato Basil Soup that people tell me is very good. The “Soup Du Jour” was a “chicken pot pie” soup that turned out to be very tasty. There were 8 kinds of salads -$9.50 for a Blue Cheese and Pear Salad and the most expensive salad was a Nicoise Salad with Salmon. There were 3 different kinds of PIZZA offered, ranging from $9.75 to $10.50.
The next items on the menu were SANDWICHES and PANINI– a total of 8 selections ranging in price from $9.50 to $10.50. They even had 3 PASTA dishes – $10.25-11.50, but what spoiled it for me was that all 3 of the pasta dishes had Parmesan cheese and that is one cheese I don’t care for. (It’s not that I don’t like the taste – I don’t like the odor.)
They have 3 CAFÉ SPECIALTIES – Grilled Skirt Steak Chimichurri, Tuscan Roasted Salmon, and Tuscan Roasted Chicken. The prices ranged from $13.50 for the Chimichurri to $11.25 for the Roasted Chicken. There is a separate “Kid’s Café Menu” – ranging from $4.95 to $5.75. There is also a dessert menu but we declined to look at it because we did not want to be tempted.
When Ro arrived we placed our order and paid individually. The three of us all ordered the “Pot Pie Soup” and found it tasty. Basically it was the ingredients of a pot pie without the crust on top. It was served with a slice of garlic cheese bread. Ro ordered the Mixed Berry and Chicken Salad and she said it was very good.
Although not on the menu, they used to have a half sandwich and soup item. Irene and I asked if they still had that and were told we could order it even though it was not on the menu. She ordered the Hickory Smoked Turkey Sandwich and I ordered the Cranberry Turkey sandwich. And both of us returned our sandwiches to the kitchen. I don’t know how old the bread was – Irene’s sandwich was made on a multigrain baguette and my sandwich was made on a multigrain ciabatta, but they were both stale, hard, and unappetizing.
Our waitperson – Pablo – quickly offered to change the breads for us and Irene had Whole Wheat while I had Sour Dough French. The exchanges made the sandwiches palatable, and we enjoyed them. It is too bad that the original bread was served, because the kitchen should have been aware that it was less than edible.
When Irene and Ro paid their bill, they had no trouble because they paid cash. I had just reinstated my credit card with Nordstrom’s, and was given a “temporary” credit card to use in the store until my new card arrives. The Customer Service Representative told me all I needed to show was that card and my ID. The cashier said he couldn’t use my ID – he needed to have the last 5 numbers of my social security card. I could have used cash – I had it – BUT I was told that my first purchase of the day would bring me $20 back in the mail and since I knew I wasn’t going to purchase anything else today I didn’t want to “lose” the $20.
I gave them my last 5 numbers and it took 20 minutes to approve it! We were practically finished with our meal when I went up to the manager and asked for my receipt. I asked what took so long and he told me that “no one was answering the phone to give the approval.” Swell!
Both Irene and Ro had water to drink. I ordered a “Republic of Tea” pomegranate tea which turned out to cost $4.25. My total bill, without the tip, came to $15.32. Irene’s and Ro’s were slightly less.
So …..back to the question “would I go back?” I can answer that simply by saying “no.” It wasn’t worth the money; the fact that the sandwich had to go back to the kitchen, albeit with no flack, did not endear me to Nordstrom’s. There are too many other restaurants in Mission/Fashion Valley.
I wonder which woman drove away in the Mercedes.