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Hudson Restaurant: Fighting Breast Cancer With Every Bite

October 3, 2011

Saturday night, I got to eat delicious food, try a new-to-me neighborhood restaurant and help support breast cancer research and treatment. Not bad for one meal! Dinner at Hudson Restaurant and Lounge was part of the month-long Take a Bite Out of Breast Cancer initiative among DC bloggers and restaurants to benefit Pink Jams!.

I was invited to partner with Hudson and promote the event, as well as recruit friends to eat there Saturday night, when 35% of the proceeds went to Pink Jams!.*

My friends Allie and Simone accompanied me to dinner and the first place we turned was the wine list. How about a glass of South Africa’s Essay White?

When our waiter responded to each of our wine orders with, “Are you sure that’s what you want?” it set the tone for the evening. Good food, condescending service.

  1. I liked the wine I chose.
  2. Honestly, my palate isn’t developed enough to tell the difference between this $9 glass of white and the $15+ glasses he was pushing.

Rather than order off the meat- and seafood-heavy menu (since we were a party of one omnivore, one non-fish eater and one pescatarian), we decided to split several small vegetarian plates and a pizza. This ended up being the perfect choice; we each left the restaurant not comfortably full, enough that even ice cream didn’t sound tempting.

First up: Compressed Pear Salad (frisee, arugula, goat cheese, crispy wild mushroom, spiced pear vinaigrette) and Goat Cheese Gnocchi (spiced pear & walnut jam).

The salad was good — I loved the spicy bites of arugula — but the gnocchi was really the stand-out here. So soft and pillow, with the perfect amount of chew — maybe the best gnocchi I’ve ever had.

Next up: 3 Seasons Bruchetta (roasted pumpkin and sage, fig compote, truffle irwin mushrooms) and the Veg Out Flat (grilled squash, zucchini, red onions, mushrooms, spinach, roasted red peppers, provolone).

The flatbread was a lot bigger than it appears here — maybe a foot-long? — and delicious, although more pizza-y than we expected. The highlight was the deconstructed bruschetta. It was fun to put together the perfect bite of fig, mushrooms and pumpkin.

Yum. This dinner was delicious — despite walking by Hudson almost every day, I’ve never stopped in but plan to come back in the future, especially for the great happy hour deals.

But the condescending behavior from the waiter definitely put me off. The restaurant was barely half-full, so it wasn’t as though we were taking up a table that another party was waiting for. We each spent $30+, which may not be much for the average Hudson diner but was certainly more than any of us usually spend on a single meal. And we didn’t linger too long when dinner was done, taking up time and space.

Regardless: I was happy to help raise some money for Pink Jams! and hope the rest of the month is a success, too!

Have you had similar behavior from waitstaff before? Should people be required to order entrees at dinner, as opposed to sharing small plates? I’m genuinely curious! Did we commit a dining faux pas?

*Note: I was asked to participate by promoting Take a Bite out of Breast Cancer but paid for my meal out of my own pocket and did not receive any compensation for writing these posts. All of the opinions are, of course, my own.

9 Comments leave one →
  1. October 3, 2011 8:09 am

    I’ve been to a restaurant where it was required to order entrees, and honestly, it really annoyed me. As someone who’s rather (okay … completely) picky about what I eat, it made for a meal that I didn’t like at all, as opposed to a plain salad that I would have enjoyed. Definitely won’t be going back there again!

    It sounds like your food was delicious, though, and how awesome of them to donate so much of the proceeds to a wonderful cause.

    • October 3, 2011 12:37 pm

      Oh, that is frustrating, Shari. I’ve never been required to order an entree — usually other people at the table do so if I just want a salad or whatever, it’s not a problem. What a waste of food and money for you!

  2. Sarah permalink
    October 3, 2011 9:28 am

    It is the mark of a good restaurant when a server questions your wine choice. I’m sorry he was snooty though! I worked at a japanese/korean place and during server training, we had a lot of bar training as well. Even though you may not have been able to distinguish between the wines he wanted you to choose and the one you drank, his job is to make sure your food tastes the best as possible. The one you chose may not have been the best pairing. He should hve explained that to you. For example: you’re not supposed to drink red wine with sashimi. A table at the restaurant (not my table) sent their sashimi back because it didn’t taste fresh. The chef tasted it and it was fine. I realized after the table left that they were drinking red wine. That would make it taste awful!

    • October 3, 2011 12:34 pm

      Thanks for your honest answer, Sarah. You make a good point that he may have been indicating it wasn’t the best match — choosing white instead of red, a specific kind, etc. I do wish (if that was the case) he had explained it that way, versus giving us the impression that our ‘cheap’ wine choices were worth disapproval.

      And I never knew that about sashimi! I almost always prefer white wine but that’s a good tip to know for the future.

  3. October 3, 2011 10:30 am

    That’s always a toughie. I mean, I always feel “bad” when I go and don’t order an entree because I always feel like the waiter will think I’m cheap. But that’s not the point. Little do THEY know, that I was a server for three years and they will get a good tip no matter what i order — a better one if I really like them. Chances are, i will leave the same amount no matter how much I get depending on the service.

    • October 3, 2011 12:36 pm

      Yes, we definitely still left a good tip. Our reasoning was a) it’s more fun to share food than each pick an entree; b) the entrees were (besides 1, I believe) all meat and fish, which not all of us eat; and c) the small plates are even called ‘Tasters,’ not appetizers, so it wasn’t as though we each ordered one small appetizer.

  4. October 3, 2011 11:00 am

    It’s been a while since I’ve been to Hudson but I don’t remember being all that impressed — with either the food or the service. But it’s been a minute so I don’t want that to sound too harsh. Sorry this meal didn’t turn out like you expected but at least it was for a good cause!

    • October 3, 2011 12:37 pm

      I thought the food was great — might be worth you giving it a second chance, maybe over happy hour where they have cheaper small plates?


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