Sunday, November 19, 2006

The Copper Dome Scandal

The Copper Dome Restaurant
1333 Randolph Ave
St Paul
(651) 690-0993

It's best to write these things when your stomach still feels like it's full of churning laundry. Otherwise, you might forget and soften the words to seem more kind.

This morning we ate at the popular and crowded Copper Dome Restaurant in St. Paul at the recommendation of an otherwise nice young man I met this week. We arrived at 10:15, which, fortunately, it turns out is an OK time to get a table, because we did not have to wait for a table for five (but when we left an hour later, the line went out the door). Our table came with a good-sized bowl of what at first appeared to be cream, but turned out instead to be (gasp!) non-dairy creamer. Fatal mistake for the Copper Dome. Judy requested a pitcher of milk, and was briskly informed that it would cost extra. (Not a deterrent for Jude, but still a bit off-putting.) Jimmy declared that we would not return. In defense of the creamer, real cream would have been wasted on the coffee that is served at the Dome. This is nasty, wretched coffee-water. Whatever you do, don't drink it. There must be another way to get the necessary morning caffeine. Maybe they serve Coke.

Sitting at the table at the Copper Dome and choking down the despicable non-dairy creamed coffee, while going through the menu is an assault on all of your senses. The food smells are strong and rich (although not unpleasant). The walls are covered in an astounding collection of old flour sacks (including one with a diagram of a wheat kernel that would make Georgia O'Keefe blush and another set decorated with offensive Aunt Jemima characters). Our good cousin Perley would not do well with these walls of framed flour sacks. With the sheer quantity of them, it's perhaps inevitable that many of them would be crooked. Perles likes his straight lines and right angles, not this crazy array of mismatched frames that tilt every which way. Oh, and then there is the menu. It looks like a dozen bingo cards lined up side-by-side, there are so many options, printed in neat little squares. Beau had to close one side of the menu so he could just focus on one third of the options.

I chose the potato pancake wrapped around bacon, sour cream, onions, and green peppers which came with a side of margarine. Just writing these words makes my stomach cramp. Rachael got a "Cajun" omelet, although she couldn't explain what exactly made it Cajun. The others stuck with some version of eggs and hash-browns and meat. The hash-browns arrived somewhat yellow, not golden-brown as promised. The more health conscious members of the club suspected that trans-fats may have been involved in their preparation.

And so we came, we ate, and we left, burping as we went. Judy delicately excused herself for each burp. We moaned softly as we encountered bumps on the road back across the river. It almost seemed beside the point to ask for grades, given the intestinal distress in the car, but Beau and Rachael denied hating their food. Rachael even gave it a B-. She was the most generous. Beau's grade: C+, Jimmy's: C, Judy's: C-. Mine is a D, because I can imagine worse, but I do hesitate to pass a restaurant that makes me feel this ill.


Anonymous said...

you rated the Copper Dome, the worst breakfast, based on 1 trip??? I've been there several times and can say without hesitation that it's damn near the best breakfast in the twin cities. In fact, if this is the way you rate all restaurants on this list, i'm running and screaming from your "recomendations." Come on people, do you think restaurants can't have a bad/busy day? Professional critics aren't that harsh, try using a more logical rating system as well. rant over!

Amadeus said...

Settle down champ. Remember, this is breakfast we are talking about. It's not life or death.

It only took us one visit to experience non-dairy creamer in our brown water/coffee and margarine on our toast, that was enough to doom the copper dome. The stomach issues were just icing on the cake.

Thanks for the advice on the rating system, we'll let you know when we find a rating system more logical then A-F letter grades.

Anonymous said...

fair enough, i'm a bit reactionary. Sometimes though, breakfast IS life or death.

Amadeus said...

You are right, sometimes it does feel like life or death. Like when I am waiting for a coffee refill that never comes.

Thanks for stopping by our blog Steve, even if you disagreed with our reviews I hope you were momentarily entertained.

Anonymous said...

Your "review" is full of the sort of snobbery and pretension that makes MY stomach churn. While I'm not a fan of the Copper Dome, your fey and feeble criticisms of non-dairy creamer, margarine for toast, and "brown water/coffee" might even prick a milquetoast such as Lord Byron with faint annoyance. Aren't there enough eating establishments up with you in the rarified stratosphere, or do you just slum so you can blog to show how worldly you are?

Morbidly fascinated,

Amadeus said...

Sorry our snobbery is so offensive to you. If requiring real cream in our coffee and real butter on our toast qualifies us as insufferable snobs, then guilty as charged. If you read some of our other reviews you would see that there are places that meet our snobby requirements. The Copper Dome, however, does not. We are glad you stopped by our blog though; feel free to come back and visit us in order to feed your morbid fascination. At least we are good for something.

Anonymous said...

Thanks for your opinion/review blogger... Is the internet a bad neighborhood these days or what? People are so much more mean and nasty than they are in person (I suspect). It's just his remarks on a morning out, not a critics fatal review.

Anonymous said...

I hate to say it, but we were very disappointed too. We had heard from several people that it was the "best breakfast in town." With high hopes we went there and found it to be not only NOT the best breakfast in town, but in fact one of the WORST breakfasts we've ever had. The coffee was weak and lame, the pancakes were cold, and the hash browns were half-cooked (and only cooked on one side).

After the meal, the best thing I could say about the place was that the service was adequate. But when we asked to speak with a manager, it turned out the manager was also our server. I explained politely that we were disappointed in our meal (we didn't ask for any money back, just wanted to voice our opinion), and she told us, "Well, you're the first people to complain. Everyone else is eating just fine." So much for the adequate service. I would expect a manager to at least apologize and ask how they could make it right.

I would never, ever go back there. And, in response to an earlier commenter, there is no excuse for bad coffee in a breakfast joint, and it's not snobby to expect good coffee. If it were, say, an upscale Thai restaurant, I would not expect quality coffee. But breakfast = good coffee. No excuses.

On the bright side, we then made our way down the street to the Bean Factory for some real coffee, and I had one of the best coffee drinks I've ever had, with *excellent* service.

Tyler said...

Ok so regardless of your personal opinions on the copper dome, the original review was ridiculous. you should be basing this only off ofthe food, the fact that non-dairy creamer was used should not matter. the last comment above me however is a worth while review to read because they go into the food a little bit. but the same thing applies, remove your personality from the review and only talk about the experience or else its not worth reading for anyone.

my opinion on the place is that it is above average, not the best though. coffee needs improvement but i enjoyed everything else. i have been there at least a dozen times and when i average it out, it is good enough that i would go back another dozen times.

Anonymous said...

You are narrow minded

matt said...

I have been going to the dome for years and everyone who has time to come on this blog and bad mouth a business for one day of not perfect service must live a life that no matter what's happens in there day they are going to bitch about something.. if you don't like the service it is very easy dont go there they don't need your business... And yes this is only breakfast we are talking about but it is to bad people need to talk bad about a business when everyone on the staff is working the best to make sure you come back for years to come!! Give copper dome another chance and I bet they will show you they care about every customer that come threw the door...