Saturday, June 12, 2010

How not to run a restaurant...

I really don't want to do this.  I have been in so many places around the world, had so much good food and bad and when it comes to the places that I would definitely under any circumstances never return to, I really don't want to write about them.  But then again, at some point, someone will want to know about a certain restaurant that I have given a scathing review and they will want to know why I scored it so poorly.  Well, I still cannot bring myself to write a review of the following restaurant with my usual 5 star system and just focus on a few things that were wrong with our evening.

1.  My wife and our two kids were given a small 4 top table at about 8:45.  It took them 10 minutes to get us menus and after we ordered it took them 30 minutes to get us food.

2. The waitress brought out 4 glasses of water and we had two kids sitting at the table.  A bit later she brought out our four ordered drinks.  That makes 8 glasses of liquid, on a tiny 4 person table, with a 3 year old and a 2 year old.  If you are a parent, you are seeing where this can lead to.  When I noticed this and asked the waitress to remove the waters, she did so but only after we told her why.

3. Chips and salsa were given to us after we had sat down, almost instantly.  The salsa had way too much lime juice and the chips were overly salted.  So much salt that each time a chip was reached for, we tried to knock off the visible salt from on it so we could enjoy the chip.

4. On staff, I counted one waitress, one bartender, two other waiters and what appeared to be a head waiter or owner, in the front of the house.  When we got there, there was maybe 20 customers there.  When we ordered, there was probably 15 customers.  Whee our food arrived, there was also about 15.  What was funny about our food arriving so late, is that immediately after wards two other tables received their food also.  Those two other tables ordered many minutes after we did.  Our food was piping hot though, which meant it wasn't just sitting around somewhere, but just cooked so late.

5. Our food did finally come out about 39 minutes after we had been sat.  I ordered the SANGRE DE TORO BEEF BRISKET, which was some beef brisket that was cooked in wine and spices, served with a corn dish and some black beans and rice.  My dish on the menu was $16.95.  I am expecting a huge plate to come out and what came out, was a small oval plate, probably about 11 inches long and 6 inches wide.

I've paid out less money, for more food, at internationally known Latin cuisine restaurants.  I paid less for incredible food at Rick Bayless's restaurant and this is what I get for $17!  Me thinks the prices are a bit too high.

6.  But how was the food?  You don't want to know. With the chips for the salsa being overly salted, I drank most of my lemonade. I then had to walk my son outside because the food took so long to get to us and he was causing a racket inside the restaurant as he was hungry since at most restaurants when you order food you get something back. I come back in and sit down to a small plate for its price.  The first bite of the meat was tasty, the second bite was salty and the third and fourth bites were way too salty. I would be willing to bet that the chef is a smoker, because most smokers over-salt their food because they can't taste anything.  The corn dish tasted like someone mixed Tabasco sauce with grilled corn.  It was good.  The black beans and rice, didn't taste like it had any seasoning at all, just an opened can of black beans on white rice.  The beef, was charred on the outside and well done on the inside.  They used red wine to cook it as you could see and smell it in the beef.  There was very little juice running from the meat as I cut it to indicate that it was over cooked. And salty: as in the beef was so salty that I couldn't finish it.  I really wanted to since I had paid so much money for it but I couldn't get it past my tongue, just way too salty.

My wife ordered a dish that had what looked to be a saffron rice with shrimp in a white sauce.  My wife ate only half of her dish complaining that she would eat more had the shrimp not tasted like rubber.  She had to chew the shrimp in order to eat them.  Her dish was also around $18 and not worth its money.

Overall, I will not say what restaurant this is, publicly.  If you are in the st. louis area and you do want to know which one this is to avoid or see for yourself, then please email me and I will let you know.

I will say that the best thing that this place had to offer was the band.  They were awesome.

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