Fans Visit Chef Carlos... And Share With Us.
Domina, one of our winners, in the Top Chef Poem / Haikus/ Ballad contest, visited Chef Carlos restaurant. She took her new Top Chef apron with her and Chef Carlos was more than happy to sign it.
It reads, "Zoe, Break an Egg" Chef Carlos Fernandez
Thanks for sharing the photo with us Domina and enjoy the apron.
Remember everyone, filming of Season 3
starts in three weeks, in Miami.
Another TC fan had the opportunity to dine at Chef Carlos Hi-Life Cafe and emailed us the following review. Though they were not a mystery shopper, they wrote their review in that format. Chef Carlos... you did good.
S.O.O.S. Fresh Eyes Restaurant Review
1) FOH Training and Execution. All FOH personnel obviously well-trained, professional and personable. They upsell in the manner prescribed without sounding robotic. Knowledgeable on menu and preparations. Team service technique well-executed by all.
2) Wine List/Wine Bar. A very well thought-out selection of wines appropriate for the size and style of the restaurant.
3) Desserts. The two I sampled were excellent. Observations of other diners showed major Yum factor on other desserts. Here, the eclectic nature of the items worked perfectly.
4) Salmon Entree. Delicious. Perfectly cooked. Served at optimal temperature. Giant portion. Clever good-fit side items (potato wedges and sauted spinach) also excellent.
1) Two items on Day One were served near the edge of the wrong temperature. In both cases, this couldn't be called a question of balance. It would be difficult to serve Gazpacho too COLD or Crab Cakes too HOT. The Gazpacho should have been a tad colder and the Crab Cakes a tad hotter.
2) Giant Glob of rice that was unappealing, over-cooked, nearly tasteless, and really not a very smart selection even if it had been cooked and seasoned properly.
1) Clientele on both busy nights was 50/50 Male/Female, average age 50, fit, affluent and probably frequent diners out.. ZERO former linebackers or fatties for whom quantity would be the decisive factor. Several groans of "I have no room for dessert" heard from female patrons. My Day One Crabcakes and Day Two Salmon had me (165 pounds and hungry) nearly too full before dessert. Big entree portions AND quite filling bread-service items.
2) Very eclectic food menu. Pretty sure Carlos describes it proudly as "eclectic" or some similar adjective in advertising copy.
Menu could be LESS eclectic, easier to execute, and smaller and STILL be by far the most eclectic restaurant in the neighborhood.
1) Reduce portion sizes in general. Eliminate starch sides on some entree items. Make bread service just as delicious but less filling. Items currently offered were sweet potato fries and thick rolls.
2) Simplify menu and perhaps have some sort of theme to a majority of the entrees.
Flat 5 point Scale (not taking into account City and Price) on items personally eaten.
1 salad 4.4 points. 1 Soup 3.5 points. 1 appetizer 4.5 points. 2 Entrees 3.5 and 5.0. 2 desserts 4.5 and 5.0.
Factoring in the general restaurant quality of Fort Liquordale (mediocre) and price (very reasonable), the adjusted scale rating for the Hi-Life Cafe is............4.8 on a 5 point scale. One of the best restaurant values in South Florida.
On a Top Chef Blogger fan note, my impression NOW is that Bravo swished or gayed Carlos up quite a bit in how he was presented via editing on the show. Real life work environment Carlos has no stereotypical "gay" mannerisms, voice inflections, or behaviors. Well spoken, confident and clearly well-liked by his staff.
To my mind, one of the only examples of professional behavior on Top Chef Season Two was the way Carlos directly but politely asked Bada Bing Betty whether she had changed her cookie recipe. Having met him, I think that's the real Carlos and not the kind of swishy person he appeared to be in other edited scenes.