It seems strange to call Dinner at Your Door a restaurant, when in fact it is a dinner delivery service. Like many people out there, we participate in Groupon deals when they’re interesting. We heard about the Groupon for Dinner at Your Door from someone we know and went for it because they offer some gluten-free options.
Before I get into this review, I just have to say that when we go places and try things, we take notes when we do. While I’m always rooting for the home team, we have to count things as they fall.
Here is how Dinner at Your Door works. As it sounds, it is a company that delivers a meal to your door. They only deliver meals to each area of Portland once a week. The meals have to be purchased in multiples of two and you must buy meals for two weeks at a time. So really, you’re buying at least four meals. Got it? It’s really quite simple, and I think their site probably does a better job of explaining it, here. The price for a meal for two is currently $28/week. So since you have to get two weeks worth, that’s $56. For this you get two meals that will feed two people each on two consecutive weeks. (whew)
I do have to say that their website is set up really well, and while you’re ordering your meals, things get explained very clearly so that you know what is going on. When I ordered, they had three main entrees to choose from. Two were gluten-free and one of these was also vegetarian. Along with the website, they also have a system of sending emails to notify you about when a meal is coming, and also when to leave the dishes on your porch for them to pick up. I was really impressed with the automation that they have set up, and think that whoever designed and built their website deserves a bonus.
Having been impressed with the website, you can imagine my disappointment when our food didn’t show up the morning that our first delivery was scheduled. I happened to have the day off from work, and when the food didn’t show up by 10:00 AM, I called them. Someone answered the phone immediately, and they were apologetic, but they told me that they had already delivered all the food that morning and couldn’t get us anything. This is going to sound kind of goofy, maybe, but Sienna and I had planned out a whole multi-day meal schedule based on the assumption that we were going to have dinner delivered that night, so it really threw a wrench into our plans. About a half hour later, they called me back and said that they had some meals available, but they weren’t from the two choices we had picked off of the menu. The good news was that they were gluten-free. So I agreed.
Somewhere in all this, she mentioned that they were really busy because of the Groupon.
Here’s what we got. A bag with three containers of food, some dressing in a small plastic container, and two pre-packaged cookies. The meal was Mushroom and Wild Rice Pilaf, Broccoli with Garlic, and a mixed-greens salad with a vinaigrette. The meals come in glass containers, so Dinner at Your Door gets green points for not using disposable containers.
Twenty minutes later, we had a hot meal:
Neither of us were particularly impressed with the dinner. The salad struck us as being a lot like the kind they sell in bags at Trader Joes with some bell peppers mixed in. The salad dressing was a rather uninspired and generic Italian dressing. The pilaf was mostly tasteless and one-dimensional. It could have used some garlic and seasoning. We liked the broccoli. The broccoli didn’t come with instructions, so we just threw it in the oven with the pilaf and hoped for the best. Luckily, it turned out great and was tasty.
As mentioned above, the meal came with cookies, which are made by Le Cookie Monkey. Unfortunately, there were no ingredients listed on the cookie package, and no markings for whether or not it was gluten-free. So I called up Dinner at Your Door to find out if it was OK to eat. It was after hours by then, so I wasn’t too surprised when nobody answered. I left a message and nobody got back to me that night. The next day was a Friday and they didn’t call me that day either. I ended up being kind of busy, so I didn’t call them. The weekend passed, and on Monday I finally got tired of looking at the cookie, so I called them again and got the same person. She informed me that while she had got my message, she hadn’t had a chance to call me yet. I got my answer: the cookies are not gluten-free. So it’s a good thing I didn’t eat mine.
Thursday rolled around again, so it was time for another delivery. On Wednesday, we had got an email confirmation that our meal would be delivered the next day, so I was waiting for them, figuring that they would get there soon and I could put the meal in the fridge. The email said that the delivery would happen between 6:00 AM and 9:00 AM. By 9:15 AM I was imagining that they were going to miss us like last time. At 9:30 AM, I called again. Someone answered the phone. She was helpful and said she would check the status on our meal and call me back. She called back almost immediately, and told me that my meal was being delivered that morning, but wouldn’t be there until much later. She offered to leave extra ice packs, and reassured me that the weather was cold enough that nothing would spoil. Again, she mentioned that they had been really busy because of the Groupon.
This time we got the Layered Mexican Chicken Casserole, which came with the same broccoli and salad as last time. We enjoyed the casserole a lot more than the pilaf, and we substituted our own dressing for the lackluster Italian.
After the second meal, Dinner at Your Door sends an email where you can arrange to continue to get meals, or cancel. They also send instructions on when to leave the dirty containers out for them to pick up. We opted to cancel. For one thing, we felt that the service was unreliable. While I can relate to being over-worked because of something like a Groupon (we keep hearing restaurant Groupon horror stories), I don’t think it’s a good thing to pass the suffering on to your customers. Maybe a few months from now Dinner at Your Door will have recovered from the Groupon problems. But we still feel kind of burned by it. Last, we tend to feel that when things go awry at restaurants, they will usually make an effort to make things better. We didn’t get that experience with Dinner at Your Door.
I’m betting that our delivery and service problems were not the norm. At the same time, we were left with the feeling that this is a lot of money and trouble for something that we didn’t think was that great. We can think of any number of places to eat in Portland where better fare can be had more cheaply. If we go out to eat, we don’t have to mess with a website, no matter how well it’s put together, and we don’t have to fire up the oven for 20 minutes. We don’t have to dirty our own dishes. We like going out. So for us, it just doesn’t make sense. I could see Dinner at Your Door being a great service if you really hate going out but want to have someone else cook for you one day a week. If that describes you, then Dinner at Your Door is probably a good choice, and I would say give it a try.
Gluten-Free Safety Rating: Gluten-free Friendly but Ask Questions!
Times we have visited: 1 (So your experience may vary.)
Overall rating: 1 out of 5 stars
Price compared to “regular”: Same.
Dinner at Your Door
Portland, OR / 503.701.4531
We want to know: Do you have any opinions about Dinner at Your Door? Do you have a restaurant Groupon horror story? Let us know in the comments!