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Tag Archives: fine dining

Get Lost, Anthony Bourdain

9 Jul

July 9, 2010

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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My Hipster Doofus Lunch

28 Aug

August 28, 2013

Where would you rather eat: a place with an extensive menu and generous portions of good food, or a pretentious place where on Sunday they only have a brunch menu which has as its highlight “warm donut appetizer”?

Now guess which one I got stuck in.

3:45 in the afternoon. Who is still serving brunch at a quarter to four? Better yet- who wants brunch? It isn’t breakfast, it isn’t lunch, you can’t get a T-bone steak (now THAT’S a man’s brunch) and if you go in and order oatmeal you deserve the scorn I will heap on you. The brunch menu was less satisfying than the breakfast menu, less satisfying than the lunch menu, but made me much angrier than either.

Before I name this place, I do have to give it a compliment. The service was good. My party of four had- no joke!- five different people serving us, sometimes three at once. The service was so omnipresent that if my soup was too hot there was someone over my shoulder to blow on it for me.

But seriously, there was one good thing about this place. Out table was in the front and we were right near the window. Just on the other side were outdoor tables and two of them were filled with nothing but cute busty blondes in sun dresses. I LOVE New York!

But the menu sucked.

We were in lower Manhattan and someone in my party who is not to be named because my brother is marrying her and I want to keep harmony in the family, suggested The Odeon. This is allegedly a well-known and very good diner. I call it pretentious because the one-page menu (what diner has a one-page menu?) listed the Executive Chef, whom I will not name due to the fact that he might start crying in his soufflé.

Meanwhile, if I heard someone at the table say that Robert Di Niro ate there once I heard it 34X108 times. Would you take dinning advice from this man?

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I have pictures but, due to the fact that I currently have The World’s Worst Cell Phone (I think it was made in pre-war Italy) the pictures came out awful. I’ll post them anyway and try to give you the highlights.

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The appetizers included Goat Cheese Salad, Steak Tartare, Mixed Green Salad, and French Onion Soup. The Saturday specials on the sidebar included the aforementioned warm donut. Who in their right mind would call a warm donut a special? In that case my local Dunkin Donuts is full of special donuts (mostly lukewarm, some stale.) My brother and I both had the French onion soup. It wasn’t that good. We both had better french onion in Outback Steakhouse, of all places, and I have no clue if they have an Executive Chef or just pour it out of a bag. And this soup had some dry crunchy things topping the cheese which were especially unwelcome, both in taste and texture.

Note that the menu then has an egg section and a cereal and griddle section. We all skipped that since we wanted food.

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The lunch entrees section contained nothing to get excited about either. I will let it speak for itself that our party contained a lawyer in a well-known firm, a director of a non-profit organization, a banker, and me, a high-level supervisor at a Company I Am not at liberty to name, and three of us ordered the cheeseburger.

I ordered mine medium and when I lifted it to take my first bite, the grease dripped out and ruined my shirt.

We are not without class. We are well-educated people, but normal people. We live in New York but not among the hipster doofus hoi-poloi. We wanted food. Cheese curd would not do it.

And that lousy French onion soup? $12.

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