Wednesday, March 16, 2016

Restaurant Impossible - De Rican Chef Update

Photo - Food Network
Tonight on Restaurant: Impossible, Robert Irvine and his crew are in Virginia Beach, Virginia to makeover De Rican Chef.   In this ambush episode, the owner Raquel's daughter reached out to Restaurant:Impossible for help.  The restaurant is one that specializes in authentic Puerto Rican food and has expanded with help from Raquel's son Reuben.  The restaurant is barely making a profit and Raquel and Reuben's relationship has suffered due to this.

As I normally do with Restaurant: Impossible episodes, I searched around the Internet to read stories, comments and reviews about De Rican Chef to get an idea of how the restaurant is doing since Robert Irvine visited, and here is what I found (note - all reviews are post Restaurant: Impossible):

Positive Reviews:
  • "Went in for lunch and I was blown away!! Wonderful portions full of flavor! Mofongo was super yummy with the chicken being tender! Great and attentive service as well."
  • "This place is absolutely where you need to go if you're in the mood for the flavors of Puerto Rico. I don't know if someone's Puerto Rican grandmother is in the kitchen cooking everything but it certainly tastes like it....I love this place and go as often as I can."
  • "Second venture into Puerto Rican food and I have to say, I definitely prefer De Rican chef! As other Yelpers have mentioned, they have recently gone through renovations via Restaurant Impossible and the interior looks fresh but still home-y. Both of our meals were bursting with flavor and the portion sizes were huuuge...Service was very friendly although it did take a long time to get their attention to place orders, get the food, and to get the check."
  • "Great food and tue alcapurrias was the best I ever had. A must try! Real modern Puerto Rican cuisine"
  • "I always thought that this place was good when i first tried it. Delicious Puerto Rican food. I'm from New Jersey so i've had my fair share of the cuisine and i'm happy we have a place here that is just as solid....Now this restaurant just got a whole new renovation and that's why I gave it a 5 star. The place looks fabulous, inviting, and definitely can tell the people who make the food love to represent the food they make. "
Negative Reviews:
  • "I love Puerto Rican food, I really want to like this place but, my experience was just not that great. The service was kinda terrible, especially considering that it was pretty much empty!....The floor was very sticky, my shoes were getting stuck to the floor was I walked. The table we were seated at was too low for how high the chairs were and the chairs were uncomfortable. I don't like the decor, sue me...Despite that, the food was awesome!...Everything was seasoned well and delicious! The food will make me give them another try and the other reviews on service give me hope."
  • "The food is great but the customer service is horrible! I planned a birthday dinner for my husband and it took almost 15-20 minutes for us to get someone to stop by our table to take our drink orders,and the person who took the order wasn't our server."
  • "Unfortunately I have to agree with some of the reviews here regarding to the service! We arrived around 12 and we were immediately seated but no waiter or waitress for around 10 minutes and not even water was served."
Other News and Links:
  • The Restaurant Impossible makeover happened in January 2016.
  • Here is De Rican Chef Facebook Page, which doesn't post too often.
  • Here is De Rican Chef website and menu.
  • De Rican Chef has over 111 reviews on Yelp and most are above average as they have a 4-star (out of 5) average.  They also have a 4.5 star (out of 5) rating on Tripadvisor with 38 reviews.  Their Facebook page has 4.6 out of 5 star average as well.  Judging by this, it doesn't appear they were struggling before the makeover.
  • The restaurant is offering a $10 gift certificate for $4. (Link)
  • A local article about the makeover has an interview with Robert Irvine.  They said a website that tracks Restaurant Impossible success rates (probably this one) says 60% eventually fail. Robert responded with "Thats wrong" and claimed a 74% success rate and said De Rican Chef will be among them.  He has repeatedly inflated his success rate or has different criteria, so this is nothing new.


There have been a lot of reviews for De Rican Chef since the Restaurant Impossible makeover, and most are positive.  This was also the case before the makeover as well.  Most people love the food, but there are a few complaints about the service.

Who knows if the restaurant was actually struggling or if it was selected due to a compelling story, but Robert may be right that this will be considered a Restaurant Impossible success.

*Visit Our Restaurant Impossible Update Page to see all Restaurant: Impossible updates, and which restaurants are open, closed, or have been sold. Also Like Us on Facebook and Follow Us on Twitter

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