Page 1 of 2

East Bank Emporium

PostPosted: Tue Apr 06, 2010 10:14 pm
by backstagedee
The Mrs. and I dined at the East Bank Emporium tonight, just like we did 25 years ago today - the day we were married. As we enjoyed the view of the river by looking over two un-bussed tables, we recalled how much more activity there was downtown 25 years ago. We decided we have held up much better than the city and sadly, better than the Emporium. While it is still a cool old building, signs of water damaged wood, worn linens, wear and tear and a lack of general tidiness stole a bit of the charm of old. The server Karley was friendly and well versed with the menu, but it seemed she was spread a bit thin covering about 6 tables (2 were large parties with 6 or so little noisy kids running around). She was always hustling and efficient, but she could've used a hand. After we had been there about an hour, we noticed some reinforcement for her in the form of another server and a bus person.
The menu offers no real surprises. We were in the mood for steaks, and they have plenty of choices. Our tastes tend toward very simple, so filet for the lady and NY strip for me. Sadly, though they were probably good cuts, both were way over cooked, served with a nice baked potato, lukewarm steamed broccoli, and very hot but very hard dinner rolls. Karley did comp us a dessert when I suggested the chef was WAY too aggressive with the grill, but we would have MUCH rather have had a tasty steak.
Oh well, the company was great and the Sam Adam's was right at 38 degrees, who cares if the town is comatose and the restaurant is struggling. Thanks for a great 25 years!

Re: East Bank Emporium

PostPosted: Wed Apr 07, 2010 5:45 am
by bob_rx2000
Happy Anniversary, BSD!

The Emporium is not one of my favorite places, but that is in large part due to having eaten there far too many times when I worked at a previous employer. (Many of us were convinced that our Sr. VP had money invested in the Emporium and Heavenly Ham, but that is another story...) It has been several years since I've been there and will very likely be several more until I try it again.

Re: East Bank Emporium

PostPosted: Wed Apr 07, 2010 7:28 am
by backstagedee
[quote="bob_rx2000"]Happy Anniversary, BSD!

quote]
Thanks Bob. Every year I take a moment to wonder how many bets have been lost.

Re: East Bank Emporium

PostPosted: Wed Apr 07, 2010 8:59 am
by Happy Mom
Happy Anniversary BSD! To make it to 25 years in this day and age is a real accomplishment! Congratulations to you and your beautiful bride! :clap: :clap:

I haven't been to Emporium in years. I used to go after ever School Board Meeting.

Re: East Bank Emporium

PostPosted: Wed Apr 07, 2010 2:07 pm
by st michael jr
Happy anniversary, bad. I have only eaten there a couple of times. I wished we utilized the river for outside dining

Re: East Bank Emporium

PostPosted: Wed Apr 07, 2010 2:23 pm
by York
st michael jr wrote: I wished we utilized the river for outside dining
We? As in the restaurants on the river? Off the top of my head, the Emporium is the only restaurant on the river and it has outside dining.

Re: East Bank Emporium

PostPosted: Wed Jul 21, 2010 8:51 am
by Informed Citizen
York wrote:
st michael jr wrote: I wished we utilized the river for outside dining
We? As in the restaurants on the river? Off the top of my head, the Emporium is the only restaurant on the river and it has outside dining.


Oaken Bucket is nice. Two Long Island's, and I'm good to go for the night.

Re: East Bank Emporium

PostPosted: Sun Aug 14, 2011 9:42 pm
by epic
Dined at the Emporium. Probably because it sounds like a good idea, the menu is nice enough, but the food just comes up short. It aches my heart, as it is close. My thoughts as follows:

The dining room is nice, the natural wood, natural lighting and multi-level dining is a nice change from the typical lay-out of a restaurant.

The vodka tonic was about perfect, maybe a bit light on the vodka, but maybe i just have had too many over the years!

The onion soup looked nice, but alas, was not a masterpiece as I had hoped for. The onions are not properly carmelized, and therefore disintegrate in the pot as it sits near a boil all evening. The cheese is a boring provolone (their favorite cheese) rather than a sharp swiss or gruyere. It lacked a brandy or dry red wine in the broth that really adds body to the typical onion soup. I think they would have a real winner with a few tweaks.

The dinner salad was very nice, as always. I remember the days when they could bring a self-serve tray of cheese, bacon, croutons, and dressing to the table. Either health code, or cost has made that go away, but in its place, the dinner salad is good.

My tilapia was very nice. The seasonings were good, the crab on top was pretty flavorless, and the sauce added little. The asparagus on top of the sauce was cooked nicely. i think the tilapia on its own would have been just as good.

My wife ordered the chicken provolone...a nice chicken breast, unseasoned, but moist and well cooked, topped with lots of provolone cheese and canned (I think) mushrooms.

The garlic mashed potatoes were a disaster. They used red skinned potatoes, and left them a rough mash, which was good, BUT there was barely a hint of garlic, they were greasy, and my portion included the dried out outer part of the container they were obviously sitting in for a few hours.

I just think that a few simple upgrades to the little things could make this place a real anchor of great dining in South Bend.

Re: East Bank Emporium

PostPosted: Sun Aug 14, 2011 9:56 pm
by Yorktown
I love East Bank Emporium. I just feel like Gordon Ramsay needs to come in and forcefully tell them what they're doing wrong. So many things are great, but the bad things stick out and overshadow the good things. Like epic said, the dining room is very attractive for a casual dining restaurant and the location is scenic by SB standards.

I don't remember the tableside self serve salad bar tray but that is really neat. They've always had a decent salad bar - do they still have it?

P.S. - Provolone is good when used with well seasoned foods (because it's mild) but to use on chicken with canned mushrooms? :?

Re: East Bank Emporium

PostPosted: Mon Aug 15, 2011 8:38 am
by bob_rx2000
I've never been overly impressed with the Emporium. For my dining dollar, the food is average-bland and overpriced, and the service is spotty. I do like the multiple level seating but I also wonder if that plays into the service difficulties?