by Allen Williams
Friday March 30, a small group of about 20 people including myself
gathered to celebrate the days of unleavened bread at a special dinner
at the Doubletree Hotel Trofi restaurant in Overland Park. A number of local eateries offer private dining for a fee or on a food and beverage basis.
**Doubletree Hotel **
10100 College Boulevard,
Overland Park, Kansas, 66210-1462, USA
We had negotiated with a young lady there named Adrianne, the hotel’s evening restaurant manager, for a suitable private dining area some months prior to this event. I and another individual met with this person and looked over the private and semi private areas available.
At the time of our viewing these facilities we were more than 6 months out from our March 30th dinner event. We looked at several locations inside Trofi ; one was a semi-private area located on a small mezzanine just above the main dining area and a larger enclosed room away from the dining area that would accommodate up to forty people. After some deliberation, we decided on the larger room expecting that we might add individuals to our 20 person minimum.
We had guaranteed the Hotel a minimum of 20 individuals for the event and asked to be notified of any pending price adjustments in advance. During the meeting we were informed by several restaurant staff that Trofi was looking to renovate their restaurant sometime in 2018 and might be adjusting Menu prices.
It took Adrianne nearly 3 months to get us a copy of the menu for our event with prices. As our event drew closer, I stopped by the Hotel to enquire as to whether Trofi’s renovation might occur at or near our dinner event. When I arrived, I found that Adrianne was in a meeting so I asked the Hotel’s front desk if someone else could be available to update me on the Trofi renovation. Gary Rodgers, the Director of Catering and Convention Services for Doubletree met with me and I was told at that time that the restaurant was in the process of hiring a new manager, a Mr. Kevin Gunn and we should consult with him.
However when I called the hotel several days later, I was told that there wasn’t any Mr. Gunn. But finally I got hold of Adrianne and after several email requests; she finally sent a firm price Menu.
Everything now seemed in order and we were nearing the event when a series of illness cancellations caused us to drop below the guaranteed 20 person agreement. I expected that we might wind up somewhere between 17 to 19 individuals. Adrianne indicated that number would suffice,
So now fast forward several weeks to the night of the event, we arrive at Trofi shortly before 7:00 pm to discover there is no Adrianne and the Hotel switched our private room to the semi-private mezzanine which was essentially open to the main dining area. Our server and what appeared to be the night manager, a late 40’s or early 50’s man, began to herd us toward the large table along the length of the mezzanine. At this point, about 17 people were present.
I questioned the night Manager’s assertion that we had negotiated originally for the mezzanine which wasn’t true. During this discussion interval three more people arrived bringing us up to our 20 person minimum.
I told the manager that there appeared to be adequate private space available as the restaurant was nearly empty. He replied that there was a private room adjacent to where we were but that it could only hold 16 people because of Overland Park’s fire code However, Doubletree’s own website indicates capacity is just 14 people. I recalled that the room we viewed earlier in our negotiations was one of three banquet rooms located down the connection corridor to the hotel rather than in the restaurant proper. It then occurred to me that this room was misrepresented by Trofi at the time having been quoted at $600 for our event which later gradually morphed into a 20 person minimum; the hidden assumption being a $30.00 food and beverage purchase for each individual which isn’t realistic if there are children involved. It’s just the old bait and switch marketing scam.
So realizing that we had been duped, we sat down to make the best of the evening but that notion could not be further from the truth. We could not play our pre-recorded opening message because there was background noise from our server as well as a few people seated outside near the mezzanine. It was intended that we would play our message first and then the server would be admitted to take orders but the server was already engaged in bringing tea, water and whatever else as we haggled with the manager.
This is supposedly a 4-star restaurant (3.8) according to Open Table.com but considering the events of the evening, by whose standards? I’m finding it hard to believe, it’s the patron’s evaluation. It’s interesting to note that Trofi’s
own Doubletree website fails to tout the nearly four star rating from
Open Table, as the difference in quality cuisine and service from
Hilton’s Johnny’s Italian Steakhouse in Olathe was far sup
At 7:30 pm our server began to take our orders, running back and forth with drinks, etc but it was nearly 9:00pm before all orders for our group arrived. I received mine at 8:50 pm but the lady across the table to my right still didn’t have hers. Given the lengthy serving times involved, one wonders if this was the chef’s first commercial experience.
Now patrons that had received their meals between 8:15 pm and just past 8:30 pm were already eating as there was no point in having them wait for everyone to be served at that point. During my wait I had been talking to the gentleman directly across the table from me as he ate his order of Burnt End Mac and Cheese. Suddenly, I saw him stop and quickly bring his hand to his mouth. Inserting two fingers he pulled out a small sharp curved object about ¾ of an inch long. The object had pricked his gum and he had his wife look to see if any blood was drawn.
The foreign object was unknown to most of us around him but the fellow who had bitten into it thought it might be a piece from a grill brush.
Just Grillin' Oversize
Unfortunately, some of the grill brushes depicted on the ‘Bed, Bath and Beyond' site could potentially be used in other tasks that would render them unsuitable for further grill use. The discovery of this metal fragment in a patron’s food suggests that there isn’t much management scrutiny over the condition of food utensils employed at Doubletree. It also gives one cause to wonder if there has ever been an FDA inspection at this facility.
When my dish arrived, it had a hastily prepared appearance. As I began to eat, I found the rice pilaf quite dry which set me off on a 10 minute coughing fit. By the time my cough subsided, it was past 9:00 pm and I elected to take the rest of my meal home in a takeout container.
Dining at the Doubletree restaurant was a miserable experience and I certainly wouldn’t recommend it to anyone much less the hotel guests.