My Deerfield LifeSpace community dinner featured tarragon pork tenderloin and morel mushrooms with fava beans — Oh My, Oh My!
Earlier this week I commented on Deerfield’s resurrection from a Great Recession induced bankruptcy reorganziation. New investments are updating the real estate and improving the nursing facility’s Medicare rating. As part of a marketing event to promote the changes I sampled Deerfield’s cuisine and hospitality services. Food quality, variety and service are all an important part of the residents’ experience.
Dinner service was individually plated for approximately thirty guests. I asked my server to describe dinner, “Pork tenderloin with a reduction of morel mushrooms and tarragon on a bed of fava beans.” Sounded promising. I tend to love mushrooms and morels are the Cadillac of mushrooms.
My dinner was cold.
It arrived in stacks with plate covers. My table was the very last to be served. I estimated our food had been plated 20-25 minutes before. Taste and texture were just off. The sauce covered everything in one glutinous mass. It reminded me of frozen dinners. Okay for a quick $2.50 microwave dinner to keep you going, but not top-notch restaurant quality. And it occurred to me that no alternative to pork was offered. Surely someone might have preferred fish or chicken, whether for taste or religious preferences.
My judgement looked to be shared. I saw a very high percentage of food still on the plate when wait staff cleared the tables. I’m also not sure a trendy item like fava beans was the right thing with which to lead.
The cheesecake dessert was way too sweet for me and again tasted frozen not fresh. A simple chocolate cake or tiramisu would have performed better.
I was finally rescued by a waitress who served us excellent, rich and flavorful coffee with top-notch service. She kept my cup full and did so with a warm smile and courteous manner. She was the first staff person to look me in the eye since dinner started. Now that’s what I expect. I know the potential for hospitality excellence is there.
Conclusion? Deerfield’s hospitality and cuisine left a question mark and not a check mark in my mind as a prospective resident. It was an unfortunate contrast to a recent visit to another Life Care level facility where the food and hospitality both excelled. Deerfield is executing a turnaround but has a ways to go to consistently deliver top-tier hospitality. I wanted to love Deerfield and had high expectations for dinner. I left with more questions than answers.
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