I have only eaten at the Old Warsaw on 2 occasions, and both experiences were quite pleasant. Since 1948, TOW has been a fixture in Dallas.
I was introduced to it by my brother-in-law, Tom Fee. He had eaten there on many occasions with his family and had fond memories that he wanted to share with my wife and I. We had such a great experience that we went there again last night for our 16th anniversary. A billboard on I35 touting “the best filet and sea bass in Dallas” helped seal the deal.
Skip ahead to after the meal, I’m at home and thought I’d do some research on the place so I could appear smart as I blogged (thats where I learned they’ve been open since 1948). I was shocked to find that there were SEVERAL scathing comments and reviews online. As I read them, they seemed to have some common concepts…poor service, cafeteria quality food and most of all a feeling of being rushed through the meal by the staff. WOW! Other than feeling a bit rushed, we did not have the same experience as many online reviewers. They were so polarized, it either got 1 star or 5 (which it did have MANY positive reviews as well).
I’m puzzled as to why it was so polarized, so I thought it wise to mention this before I give details of my experience.
We dressed up, got a babysitter, put in Tony Bennett’s latest cd and headed downtown.
The Old Warsaw is tucked away and quite possibly easy to miss as you drive by. Guided by OnStar, we made it 30 minutes before our reservation. Valet is the only option which puts you right at the front door. The smell of oil that fueled the lamps outside was strong. As we entered the place the smell shifted to that of whatever they condition wood with. It was very strong and a bit off putting. This place has been here since 1948, so I let that slide, and it quickly dissipated (or I just got used to it).
You immediately get the old school feel from the decor of this place, dark wood, chandeliers, oil paintings, heavy drapery and the waiters in tuxedos. I love the old school as much as the new school. We were promptly seated, even though we were very early, as they only had a few patrons. The waiter pulled out the table to the cozy booth for us to be seated and we settled into a great corner, “great view of the whole place” table. The prices here are quite high, but not extreme. We dropped $150 for 2 salads, 2 entrees, 1 dessert and total of 4 drinks. Not too bad. I’ve spent much more for less, but its not budget friendly, so you kind of expect a lot.
The salads arrived, a warsaw specialty and a caesar. The caesar looked pretty horrible when it arrived, but I was quite surprise as it tasted AWESOME! My wife’s salad was quite tasty as well. They serve sorbet after the appetizers to cleanse the palete, and I have to admit I did not like the taste of this, but it wasn’t our meal. The waiter and busboy were severely attentive and it was very close to feeling rushed, but that feeling was an afterthought as I read the online reviews. At the time it did not feel that way, it felt like they were taking care of us.
Our entrees arrived and the magic happened. I ordered the Chilean Sea Bass and wifey ordered Red Snapper. Both were very good, especially the Sea Bass. It melted in my mouth like butter, and was topped with lump crab meat. We both enjoyed sampled bites of the others meal and were more than happy with what we were served. Fairly big portions, including the drinks, made the prices seem not so bad. We ordered the souffle when we ordered our meal and were promptly served same when our plates were removed. The chocolate souffle was very light and tasted great.
After the meal, we sat and enjoyed the piano & violin player for quite a while, not feeling any kind of rush to vacate, even though the restaurant had almost filled up.
Overall, my 2 times eating here were definitely more than positive, and even though I’ve read some scathing reviews, that was not my experience and I will for sure eat here again (for special occasions, as its far away and a little pricey).
So what should you take away from this post?
I’m not sure, but please make up your own mind, and do not put too much thought into what other people say.I’ve seen many movies that got bad reviews, and I enjoyed them. I’ve bought several cds which went on to have people complain about, but guess what…I enjoyed them.
Does this mean that I have bad taste? Hell NO!
It means that everybody is different and what is bad for one person, is quite often good (or great) for another.
I thoroughly enjoyed my Chilean Sea Bass, and I’m glad that I didn’t let someone else’s bad experience taint my good experience.