Mackenzie’s: Not nearly as good as it needs to be

Maybe it was the fact that most of the patrons were wearing shorts, and smoking, outside. Or that a guy was weed-eating fifteen feet from the patio. But we should have taken the first five or six hints that Mackenzie’s was not what we were looking for and left. But we didn’t. After all, 400 million radio ads can’t be wrong, can they? Oh yes they can, big time.

Mackenzie’s is – to the letter – exactly what a bigger-city guest would expect out of Columbia. Good-intentioned but helpless service. Lame and error-ridden wine list. Mostly mediocre food. The one thing they might not expect – a hefty price tag – Mackenzie’s pours on in spades. Seriously, we spent marginally more money at the justifiably hyped Niche a few weeks back, and everything was wonderful. Mackenzie’s was laughable. I felt jobbed by the end of dinner.

A pathetic appetizer of grilled oysters consisted of six puny, pathetic specimens in various states of disrepair. One was good, one fishy, and one so gritty I had to do the wait-till-date-averts-eyes-and-spit routine. Not so much. Lobster bites were weak too; both were $10.

Later came boring vegetable beef soup and Caesar salad. Meanwhile, the service jagged wildly between well-meaning but inept to just inept. Wrong wines came out, then were served poorly, awkward plate removal, didn’t know the food…the whole thing was pretty bad.

Then came entrees. Being at a steak house, I’d ordered the ribeye, medium rare. Mrs. Show Me Eats, the filet, med-rare. Mine was moderately overcooked and flavorless, a true feat with the noble ribeye. Mrs. SMEs had scored the one true victory of the evening. The filet was outstanding. Naturally, this excellence couldn’t stand, and so the scallops she’d been clumsily goaded into adding on were smoky as promised, but otherwise unremarkable.
All of this for nearly two bills – not something most Columbians are going to put up with. And judging by the nearly absent dining room (save the obnoxious, mesh-shorts-wearing regular), they aren’t. Mackenzie’s isn’t the worst place in town to eat, but it might be the worst value.


Author: Scott

I am a married father of two. I graduated from Rock Bridge High School and then Mizzou before spending six years in the Washington, D.C. area. We returned to Columbia, Missouri in 2006.

13 thoughts

  1. From what I’ve heard about Mackenzie’s, it really seems to be hit or miss on the quality. I certainly wouldn’t go out of my way to go there if I’m not going to be guaranteed a good meal, especially for “two bills”. I’d rather take my money to CC City Broiler where I know what I’m going to get.

  2. Scott, I happen to agree completely. I had the same experience with the Ribeye and the overall visit. I wanted a restaurant oasis on the northside – but will have to keep looking.

  3. Sorry about your experience. I can commiserate. My first and only visit to Mackenzie’s was 2 years ago. I had the crab cake sandwich. The better name would be “mashed potatoes with a hint of krab (yes, that’s crab with a “k”) kinda fried cake thing”. My husband had a mediocre steak. The low-light of the meal was the “Thai green beans”- CANNED green beans with a couple cut up green peppers thrown in. This was probably the worst meal we’ve had in Columbia.

  4. If I could just pay attention to that first bad juju then I would save myself a lot of trouble. It never gets good after that.

  5. It is seriously awful and not to rub it in, but I still giggle every time I see the Wine Festival ad touting the two “chefs” at Mackenzie’s for their wine dinner…yeah, not so much

  6. this restaurant needs to be on kitchen nightmares, along with several others in the columbia area. i mean seriously?? step your fucking game up. i’ve given this place 3 chances and will never go back.

  7. I’ve never understood the hype at Forge and Vine. I’ve never had a good meal there and the same with Grand Cru.

  8. We’ve actually had some pretty good meals at Grand Cru in the past several months. Maybe they’ve improved or turned over a new leaf… Forge and Vine not so much.

  9. I must say I’ve been to Forge and Vine just once for food – a not-bad plate of meatloaf, if I remember correctly. Still, feels like a bar to me.

    Never been to Grand Cru – the menu just looks so boring.

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