And I'm so sorry I was so disappointed.
We arrived at 6:30 on a Sat night, no reservations, and had to sit at the bar as there would be "no tables until 8:30". That was fine, especially since they did move us to a table about five minutes later, but there were at least four empty tables in the room throughout our time there and more by the time we left at 8:00, so why did they even risk us leaving? Doesn't seem well-managed.
Menu looks pretty good with offerings at several levels--casual and finer dining--and exactly what it needs to be since it is, after all, a hotel restaurant. The wine selection was okay, and there's a full bar for those who want cocktails. And it's a great room, lots of glass and dark wood so light and welcoming at the same time--it clamors in a good way without being noisy.
Was disappointed they were out of the roast chicken at only 6:30 (we've overloaded on beef lately) and wanted something lighter, so we settled on three items to share: a burger, soup and salad. Here's the bad news: we weren't pleased.
The wagyu burger: the meat was cooked medium exactly as ordered but needed salt, and the fries were lukewarm and had to be replaced (they were, cheerfully). Too, don't think the ciabatta bun is a good choice. It's dense and stiff, especially if not grilled or pre-warmed (which ours was not), and hard to bite into. We ended up losing the top bun and eating it like an open-faced sandwich. Not nearly as successful a course as it could have been.
The beet salad: flaccid, overcooked beets with an oily dressing that lacked acidity. A few greens under the beets would have been appreciated, too.
The onion soup: a strong onion broth was poured over a bowl full of wads of pumpernickel bread, several of which had been burnt all the way through. And I mean catch-on-fire burnt which is nastily acrid and unpleasant, not just dark around the edges. I got two bites like that and quit eating--the soup was tainted with that flavor and once I had two burnt bites so were my tastebuds. What's going on in a kitchen that puts badly burnt bread in a bowl instead of the trash?
Overall, the meal we had showed a lack of attention to detail.
Dear Semiahmoo Hotel: I'm a local. You need locals. Packers has always been very popular with locals almost regardless of the food because you've got the best room in this little town. But upping the game on the food is going to be paramount to the revived Semiahmoo's success. Sure, a lot of people around here aren't that fussy or knowledgeable about food, but a lot of us are and you're shooting yourself in the foot to think that in Blaine you can get away with things you wouldn't consider in New York or Paris. The meal we had won't build you the reputation you need.
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