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Tag Archives: Bensonhurst

Get Lost, Anthony Bourdain

9 Jul

July 9, 2017

Have you ever had Moroccan food? Neither have I. But a Moroccan restaurant opened around here and despite the fact that my taste in foreign food starts at pizza and ends at egg rolls I figured let’s give it a shot. I had no idea what Moroccan food was and my general knowledge of the country was, let’s say, limited.

OK, it was Saarah’s idea. It’s always a woman, isn’t it? Guys do things like holding their purses at New York and Company for hours on end while they try on various jeans that all look exactly the same, or carrying heavy pieces of furniture up and down stairs at random, or eating sheisty Moroccan food when a woman asks.

So we went to the restaurant and checked the menu. It didn’t look too objectionable and we went in. We checked it out on Yelp too and saw some reviews. It had five stars after only five reviews but that’s not bad since it just opened the week before. However, I should have seen the red flags. It was only later that I noticed that many of these reviews were by people who had just joined the previous week and reviewed just a single restaurant, this one. Some were duplicated word for word on Facebook. The same exact reviews but under different names. But there were people in the place and it looked clean so we went in.

The front of the place looked like every other place in Bay Ridge. Some tables, a counter, and a long steamer table. But in the back they made a room that looked almost, but not quite, totally unlike what someone like me who knows nothing about Morocco might think a place in Morocco looks like. I’m sure that sentence makes sense. Anyway, it had tables, sofas and cushions, drapes, ugly wallpaper, and a freezer full of cans of Coke. Just like Morocco!

SERVICE: POOR
We were served by a nice waitress who did so much wrong. Brought wrong drinks, did not give condiments after repeated requests, and brought our two main courses almost ten minutes apart. Saarah ate while I waited. (Of course.) Eventually we got tired of waiting for things and started going right to the counter to get what we wanted. I almost caused a riot when I asked the guy basting some sort of meat-like item for sauce. The guy said something to waitress, the waitress said something back to him, the manager got involved and it was all in Moroccan so I can only assume they were talking about me. “Look at this American! Probably wants decadent American ketchup!” Well I got it, but after that the waitress almost nagged us to death. “How is everything? Is everything OK? It is alright? Is it? IS IT???”

Saarah asked for water, expecting us to be poured two glasses of water. Instead she was brought a bottle of water. That wouldn’t have been much of a problem if it was Poland Spring or any name brand, but it was store brand water from BJ’s Club. (Pure bottled semi-clear Hackensack water, I think). She gave it back and asked for a soda. Instead, the waitress brought over a pitcher of water and poured it into the single glass that was sitting on the table when we arrived.

We did not understand why there was only one glass on a table with four settings, nor why only one of us got water. Rightly suspicious of the single odd glass (was it left behind by a previous customer? Was it the restaurant’s only glass?) Saarah asked for a can of soda. After two requests she actually got it.

FOOD: MEDIOCRE
The Chicken Kabob plate, despite being described as “marinated in Moroccan herbs and spices,” was bland. The “Moroccan herbs and spices” seemed to be simple black pepper. Hey! I’m a Moroccan cook too!

The Chicken Tagine is described like this on the menu: “Served with green and red peppers, carrots, potatoes, garlic, and olives.”

a section of their actual menu

What was served had no potatoes, no green peppers, no red peppers, no garlic, five tiny cubes of carrots (we counted!), and tons of olives. The chicken was tasteless.

Also, this place boasts “authentic” Moroccan food. I was not aware that French Fries came from Morocco.

We complained to the owner before we left. (I assume he was the owner since he was wearing a fancy sash, like Miss America.) Why were there no peppers or potatoes? What happened to the garlic? He said we had to ask for them. Saarah showed him the menu and pointed out that it said “served with.” He stuck to his answer that it had to be asked for.

We also had to ask the waitress to bring a salad despite, once again, the fact that the menu said “served with.” She seemed surprised that Saarah wanted it.

On the plus side the Chicken Tagine is served in a nice plate. If dishes are your thing you may be happy with the meal. We were not.

BOTTOM LINE: Poor and confused service, bland food, missing food, and a staff that does not understand their own menu. Do not even ask what I tipped. Or didn’t.

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The Storm of 2017 that Wasn’t

11 Mar

March 11, 2017

FROM THE MR. BTR NETWORK NEWS, THIS IS A STORMTRACER SUPERWATCH SPECIAL ALERT!

Yup, that’s the way they handled NYC’s recent “snow storm.” They scared us so much the they even roused Mayor Boss DiBlassio into action. He canceled alternate side parking a full 24 hours before a single snowflake fell. It’s amazing what an unpopular Mayor facing reelection will do.

This was supposed to be a fairly short but moderately evil storm. It was going to come in fast, dump it’s load, and get out. (“That’s what she said!”) It was going to usher in gale-force winds and freezing temperatures. If you did not already have milk and bread you had better by golly rush out and get some since we were due for- hold on to your hat!- up to five inches of snow, meaning if you needed some milk you’d have to put on your boots first as you walked down the block to the bodega that seems to be on every corner here. So no, we weren’t expecting much snow, but we were warned of huge gusts of freezing wind, heavy, almost blinding snow, and periods of extreme icy conditions.

What we got was this:

Look closely. There’s some heavy frost on those windows.

And that was at the height of the storm. Later on it turned bright, sunny, and downright pleasant.

Normally there’s no point in making fun of inaccurate weather forecasts. It happens all the time. But what made this one special was watching the morning weathermen vainly and sadly cling to their forecasts. Mike Woods on FOX 5 in particular was lost and adrift. As the hours and hours went on with no snow, and he and all weathermen looking foolish, he desperately tried to come up with a reason- any reason at all, why his forecast still said 3 to 5 inches of snow and windy conditions at 8 am on a very dry and conspicuously snow-free morning. At one point he said that he could see snow on the radar but it must not be hitting the ground. The news anchors were ribbing him, he looked confused, and once again, the faith we don’t put in any weather forecast was justified. 

Before this debacle, the weatherheads were predicting an even worse storm on this coming Monday into Tuesday, with (they claimed) the possibility of a foot of snow. After this morning, the weathermen are walking it back with “the models are sketchy” and “we’ll have to wait and see.”

Good advice. 

 

 

 

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