Honey West Restaurant & Bar

Bourbon Pecan Pie

There is a debate is the food writing industry on whether or not you tell the restaurant you are visiting or the server working your table that you are there to write about their dishes. One side of the argument believe that it will influence your service and the food the kitchen puts out. I’m on the other side. I’m not at a restaurant for the service, I’m there for the food and telling them why I’m there won’t suddenly make them an amazing chef in the next 30 minutes. They either were or were not when they got hired. It may give them cause to pay closer attention to the finer details but how the ingredients were used and how the flavors work together was develop long before I showed up. And that’s what I am there to taste.

The service, whether good or bad is entirely dependent on how that staff member came in that day. My DH and I have regular establishments we frequent where we have had both outstanding and atrocious service.  You will learn really quick if a restaurants bad service is a routine occurrence.   I want to enjoy great food and if telling them why I’m there provides me with better service that allow me to completely immerse myself in that food experience I don’t see any problem in full disclosure.  I also want them to understand why I may be asking so many questions about the dishes or if the restaurant allows, taking multiple photos and moving my place settings around without disrupting the people around me.  My intentions is to help bring more exposure, ideally positive, to the restaurant. Not to have them wake up the next day to a scathing review about a waitress who may have spilled my water, only because she couldn’t stop thinking about her sick kid at home.

When I met up with three of my girlfriends to try the Taste of Burlington menu at Honey West Restaurant & Bar I let them know as soon as I sat down that I was a food blogger, I had been at the launch event and if they didn’t mind I would be taking pictures of the food I ordered for a post I would be writing.  The waitress was incredibly accomadating and even even thanked me for giving her the heads up.

Honey West bills themselves as being a stylish yet down to earth and casual restaurant offering dishes such as Parmesan Crusted Wings to Filet Mignon to Butter Chicken. During the Taste of Burlington their prix fixe menu was the only 4 course meal offered out of all the other restaurants.

Lobster Bisque

The first course offered up a delicate lobster bisque or a mini Pho soup.  I had not planned on going with the bisque feeling it would be a little to heavy for a warm summer day but the previous afternoon I had gone out for Pho with some colleagues at a Vietnamese restaurant around the corner from work.  As you can tell by the picture I had already dug in before I even remembered my camera.  Just enough chunks of tender lobster and a light creamy tomato base that had me instantly declaring I needed to make this at home.  While the beef Pho looked fresh and light I am so glad I went with the bisque.

Lobster Bisque

Beef PhoHoney West Salad

Earlier in the week I had been to another Taste of Burlington restaurant and had passed over a salad with crispy prosciutto.  When I saw it offered in this salad with aged cheddar and a Dijon vinaigrette I could not make the same mistake twice.  The prosciutto was indeed crispy, which made it awkward to eat but I’m not too shy to just pick it up and crunch down.  The biggest surprise to this salad was it’s dressing.  Incredibly thick but not heavily applied it had the perfect ratio of tangy mustard and what I’m assuming a slight sweet honey.  I will be ordering this salad again.


The second salad choice was a classic caprese.  Beautifully plated with olive oil, a drizzle of balsamic and an interesting sauce of green apple bright neon color I loved but I couldn’t get my head around its flavor.

Caprese SaladPork Tenderloin

There was a minor glitch when it came time for the entrees that both the kitchen and manager quickly and graciously rectified and while I didn’t quite get to enjoy my dish at the same time as the rest of my guests this was a minor inconvenience.  Maybe it’s the polite Canadian in me but things like this never really bother me.  Things happen, it was fixed, case closed.  When I did get to enjoy was dish I was so pleased with my choice.Roasted mini potatoes and perfectly cooked asparagus cradled tender medallions of pork.  Accompanying the pork was such an amazing orange rum sauce that had I been in the privacy of my own home I would have licked the plate.  And the potatoes had so much flavor, probably the best I’ve tasted in a long time.  I insisted that everyone at my table try a bite. Outstanding dish!

Pork tenderloinOther options that my co diners tried was a goat cheese stuffed chicken breast with garlic mashed potatoes, buttered green beans and  porcini mushroom cream sauce.

Goat Cheese Stuffed Chicken

And a huge dish of pineapple butter chicken.

Pineapple Butter Chicken

Bourbon Pecan Pie

At this point in the meal we are all quite stuffed.  I even went so far as to say that I prayed the slice of pie would be a tiny little sliver since it’s one of my favorite and I would have to eat it all.  The slice was not small and I kept my word and ate every last piece.  The crust was a bit too thick for my liking but the filling was perfect! perfect!perfect! not overly sweet and the bourbon pecan topping had just enough bite of booze that you wouldn’t want to share with your kids leaving more pie for yourself.

Bourbon Pecan Pie

Throughout the evening the service was fantastic, the atmosphere relaxing and the meal beautifully orchestrated.  My three guests are all locals to the Burlington area but had never visited Honey West before.  After this wonderful meal that will surely change for us all.This is one restaurant that I will consider again and quite possibly add it to our list of frequent establishments to visit.

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  1. Looks delicious - think I answered your last post about these kinds of things! :) V
  2. Was talking about this tonight with a friend who writes for blogTO. She said they call their pieces "profiles" and not "reviews" as the restaurant/chef is notified that the writer is coming, and also, the food is paid for by the restaurant. I tend to think of "reviews" as situations where the writer is an anonymous diner and is rating everything about the experience from the food, to the service, to the ambiance, all of which may be influenced if the restaurant/chef knew the critic was coming, which is why it's kept anonymous. I feel that this is a bit different from the situation you described above, where you arrive on the scene and tell them you'll be blogging about your meal - you're right, nothing is going to change in that 30 minutes! I think your intentions as you described them above are on point, i.e. sharing your experience and bringing some positive exposure to the restaurant. Maybe this is more of a restaurant "profile" than an old-school restaurant "review"?
    • I totally agree. Calling it a profile would definitely allow for more creative content for each restaurant and not so much of a cut and dried review. I prefer focusing on the food and at times the ambience and decor. Thanks for this insight Robyn.
  3. I like what Robyn said. I do know a few bloggers who pride themselves on being "reviewers" but they tend to visit a restaurant several times before they blog about it to make sure they try a good variety of dishes and to see if the service and food quality are consistent through all the visits. You're right - sometimes somebody just has a lousy day and it's not reflective of the place as a whole. In those instances, I think it's better to quietly let the restaurant staff know you weren't happy and give them a chance to fix the problem before ripping them to shreds on-line.

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