Plaza III Steakhouse has a great reputation in town. It is a place that many people go to celebrate special occasions in their lives. It was my spouse’s birthday, so I went here on a Sunday evening with my spouse and my 17 year old to celebrate. I hadn’t been here in years and I must admit that I was surprised. When we walked in the door on Pennsylvania Street we were immediately greeted by an incredibly unpleasant smell. It was a very strong distinctive sewer odor, as if theirs had backed up into the basement. That smell was present in the dining room as well. I understand that these things happen, so I don’t begrudge them for that, I just think we should have been told, “Hey look, our sewer backed up, you may want to come back in a few days after we have it cleaned up”. But, my spouse’s heart was set on eating here so we did.
The next surprise is that it was like stepping back in time. I don’t think the decor had changed since the last time I was there a few years back, even then it was like a time capsule to 1978 – 1982, with one exception, it looks like hooligans were set loose to beat every surface with sticks and chains. Everything is now very well worn and in dire need of an update.
Lastly, the tables are very uncomfortably close together, so it’s more like eating in a bistro than an upscale steakhouse. We could hear the conversations of everyone around us, which was uncomfortable for all. The worst offender was a man, probably in his 80’s, sitting in the far corner by the windows that face Ward Parkway. He needed to turn his hearing aid up. He was making scandalously crass remarks about other diners in the establishment, some of which were racist. He was doing this at full volume; everyone had to be able to hear him. Luckily for the other diners, all those who were being viciously, verbally attacked, graciously ignored him and didn’t create a scene.
Looking around the room, I noticed that nearly everyone was of retirement age (or getting there fast); we were the second youngest couple there. The youngest couple was seated next to us but demanded to be moved. They refused to sit at any table they were offered and were finally seated in a back room all by themselves. This brings me to my final observation. They level of pretention in this place is higher than anywhere else I’ve eaten in a long while (again, not Plaza III’s fault). The fact that I’m not used to being around so many condescending, arrogant, nasty people, along with the fact that the tables are so close together, made this dining experience unpleasant. The saving grace, I was with the two people I love most (and I drank the better portion of a bottle of wine).
The food wasn’t amazing by any means, it was just average, the service however was great. The wait staff here earns every penny. The patrons are people I’m glad that I don’t know. I think it will be a while before I return.