I'm torn here. I always encourage everyone I know to support our unique locally-owned eateries over national chains, and to visit the great restaurants we already have instead of wishing for one chain or another that we don't have. I don't like to be negative on this blog because I want to be a fan and a champion of local.
That being said, I am going to report the truth: my experience at Montez Brothers was uneven, both in terms of food and service. I hope this can be chalked up to early-days kinks that will be ironed out as the new restaurant finds its legs.
There's always a danger in reviewing a restaurant based on a single visit. I hope to return to Montez Brothers soon with Logan Foodies to sample a wider variety of dishes. In the meantime I'm going to abbreviate this review. If any of the owners/managers read this and would like to discuss in more detail the positives and negatives I saw in the restaurant, I welcome them to contact me. I want local places to succeed!
2427 N. Main Street, Logan, Utah
www.montezbrothers.com (under construction as of 7/27/12)
Hours: Open for dinner only, Monday-Thursday 5-9pm, Friday-Saturday 5-10pm, closed Sunday
Prices: Appetizers/Salads: $6-12, Entrees: $13-24
Liquor: Yes, full liquor license, wine menu, and bar
Year Opened: 2012
Quick Review of Montez Brothers - Logan, Utah
Montez Brothers -- described by the owners as a "Latin-influenced" restaurant -- makes a worthy attempt to rise from the ashes of Hamilton's, but this phoenix seems to have a clipped wing. Sometimes it soars, as with the inventive ahi tuna tostada appetizer ($8) and improved interior touches. Sometimes it bombs -- bland sea bass entree ($24), service issues. Montez Brothers lacks focus as it tries to walk the line between being Latin-influenced and being just another Latin restaurant in a town overflowing with them. Not a hint of Latin influence in the chicken and pasta dishes, more so on the beef and appetizer list. Our meal started on a high note with the tuna tostadas, but went downhill when our entree order wasn't "put in", leading to an extremely long wait time and the offer of a comped dessert. It didn't help that the sea bass entree in question ended up being not at all worth the wait (or the price). The helpful manager and huge portion of tasty creme brulee helped the meal end on a sweeter note. I'd like to see Montez Brothers work through these food and service issues, but will it ever fly higher than Hamilton's once did? I'll reserve my final opinion and give the restaurant another chance in a few months.
Detailed Review of Montez Brothers - Logan, Utah
As we approached Montez Brothers, we noted a sign on the door that said "original" Hamilton's gift cards would be honored until July 31st, with the proper gift card posted. We later heard a server explaining that there were many other types of Hamilton's gift certificates and cards that were not being honored. I understand that the financials of the two restaurants are entirely separate, and that the new owners have every right not to honor old certificates and cards. On the other hand, their decision is causing a lot of bad feelings about the restaurant right out of the gate, and seems like a bad p.r. move. Companies can gain a lot of favor with the public when they "pick up the pieces" of a failed enterprise. Montez Brothers is leaving themselves open for a competitor to step up and honor the Hamilton's cards, even at 50% value. I've seen this done before, to great effect.
Upon entering Montez Brothers we were promptly greeted by a friendly hostess who told us the wait would be about five minutes. Another party was waiting as well. She offered both parties seats at the bar, which we both declined. We knew that Montez Brothers was a "Latin themed" restaurant, but wondered what that meant in the context of semi-fine-dining, so we quickly grabbed a couple of menus to see what was in store. The menu, which featured a few Latin ingredients and preparations among other influences (chicken cordon blue?), seemed to lack direction but looked promising.
Soon we were seated in the cavernous main dining room, which was about 1/3 full. That caused me to wonder why we hadn't been seated upon arrival, but I suppose there were only so many waitpersons available. The room has been freshly painted deep red and gold, and has had a few minor changes to the decor. Casual drapes line the booths along the walls, new artwork is featured above the double-sided stone fireplace, and green pendant lights hang above the booths. Notably, the dark wood floor that was looking extremely rough and scratched on my most recent visit to Hamilton's has now been refinished in a lighter and more rustic stain that will better hide wear. Nothing about the ambiance screams "Latin" (other than the music), which I appreciated but at the same time found confusing -- how much has the restaurant really changed?
My answer would be...not enough (YET) to not meet the fate of Hamilton's. Rather than continue with a long and detailed review I will quickly note some of the positives and negatives we experienced.
- Friendly and prompt hostess
- Clean, refurbished restaurant that feels "nice". This is still a gracious place to eat a meal. The big round tables are great for larger parties, too.
- Interesting menu with several appetizing descriptions
- Tuna tostada appetizer ($9), which featured slices of seared soy-glazed ahi tuna accompanied by fresh guacamole and pickled cucumber salsa on 3.5" diameter tostada crisps - a fun Latin-Asian fusion appetizer, four per order.
- Attentive and friendly front-of-house manager who visited our table several times after a service snafu
- Creme brulee, which was comped and arrived in a trough-sized ramekin (troughekin?)
- Our server, who was monotone, unenergetic, and unsmiling, and who poured water in my husband's soda glass from the halfway point of the meal on, instead of asking if he would like a refill, and who may or may not have forgotten to put in our entree order.
- Timing issues. After we waited a significant amount of time for our entrees to arrive we were informed there was a "mix-up" and our order hadn't been "put in" at the right time. We were offered a comped dessert.
- Sea bass entree ($24). Bland, overcooked (shrimp especially), and overpriced. Waiting so long for it made it doubly disappointing.
- Typographical errors all over the menu. That kind of stuff in a printed piece drives me crazy and really downgrades a "fine dining" restaurant in my eyes. (Don't judge me for typos here, haha!)
Could go either way:
- White queso appetizer ($7), which featured roasted poblano peppers and was much better than the version at Chili's, though not as good as one I used to get at a hole-in-the-wall Mexican restaurant in Bountiful ages ago. I was hoping for natural unprocessed cheese, so for me it tasted too much like elevated gas station nachos, but I think this appetizer is probably a crowd pleaser.
- Grilled peach salad ($11). Great in theory, it featured arugula, fresh mozzarella, lemon dressing, and balsamic reduction. If only the peaches had in fact been grilled, but there was no evidence that they had been, and they were far under-ripe to boot. It still tasted good and fresh.
- Lack of focus. The restaurant is supposed to be "Latin influenced", but features a lot of French-, Italian-, and New American-style dishes instead, with a few Latin ingredients and dishes thrown in here and there. Maybe this was an attempt to keep some of the popular dishes from Hamilton's? I note that a coujple of the chicken dishes, one of the pastas, one salad, and one seafood dish remain from the Hamilton's menu.
- Prices. The only significant price reductions are in the Steaks and Appetizers areas of the menu. Prices are unchanged on the Hamilton's dishes that remain. The prices overall are very comparable to The Elements restaurant and not all that much higher than, say, Olive Garden
As you can see, that's a bigger list of positives than negatives, and the negatives are easily fixed with training and refinement of the menu. I hope to see improvements the next time I visit.
What about you, anyone else been to Montez Brothers? How was it?