Thursday, December 6, 2012

Cafe Natasha's

 I understand that this restaurant has been opened, according to their facebook page, since the 80's.  I understand that they have awards and reviews from 2004 to 2010.  But, they haven't had any recognition since 2010.  Let me say, that when a restaurant announces that "We will not offer anything, unless it is wonderful, and the food is not wonderful, I get worried.  When visiting their website and seeing that it either hasn't been touched in 2 years or they haven't had any mention, reviews or awards since then, then I would suggest stepping it up and fighting for that recognition.

I understand that I am newly familiar to Persian food, and willing to give it a try, but there are some things that just don't hit me in the right spot.  One of the things we ordered was the Kookoo, which seems to be Persian Herbed Omelet, or at least this is how it is described online.  But, I like to point out that it is not cooked flat.  It is thick and it looks like it can be an inch or two thick, which makes me think that it is presented much more as a quiche'.  Either way, as Cafe Natasha mentions that it is "A flat soufflé-like pie made with delicate herbs, light eggs, walnuts, and spices. Served with yogurt and pita."  What we got was probably more like a quiche' than a souffle'.  I think that any reference to a souffle' indicates that it must be light and airy.  The problem was that what we received was not light, airy or even fluffy.  It was cold, dense and heavy.  We had a quiche', with very little egg and mostly herbs.  It tasted, like cooked spinach.  I didn't taste any herbs, spices, walnuts or eggs and only tasted cold cooked spinach. I'm sorry but it didn't taste any better with the sauce.  One other thing: the pita was touch as leather.  I had to bite it down and then rip it to the side in order to "bite" off a piece to eat.  If it was freshly made, it was fresh the day before or two days before then.  I give this dish a 2 out of 5.

Next, we ordered the Falafel: "four deep fried croquettes of ground chickpeas, parsley, garlic, cumin and other spices."  Most falafel that I have had at other places is either too dry or too greasy.  These were just right.  I don't know their secret, but these little balls were crunch on the outside and moist and tasty on the inside.  Maybe it was their size because they looked just like every other falafel I have eaten, on the inside, I mean.  So, I don't know if there was a secret to making them come out without extra grease or being the kind that will suck every drop of moisture from your mouth.  They were good and I'd give them a 3 out of 5.

We also ordered the kabob of beef and chicken and were given a choice of rice as the side dish.  I let the waiter make that choice for me.  Now, what we had received was strange.  We had 4 large pieces of beef, 4 large pieces of chicken and a large portion of white rice mixed with yellow rice.  The beef was cooked strangely, in that there were half of the pieces that were tender and juicy and the other half of the pieces were tough and stringy.  The chicken tasted fine to me, for the most part, but it wasn't seasoned evenly, so some pieces seemed too salty and others were fine.  The rice was had me questioning.  The rice was a mix of both regular medium grained white rice and what looked like the same kind of rice, cooked with saffron.  There were some saffron stigmas, in my rice which helped give it some flavor, but the white rice was very bland.  It is strange, because when I have made Spanish dishes, I have made the saffron rice, taste like saffron.  Not too strong, but strong enough that you know where the coloring came from.  This rice, had such a subtle flavor to it, that it was almost, almost, completely bland.  Id give all of this a 2 out of 5.

I'm sorry, I really am, especially for a restaurant that has supposedly been there since the 80's, I guess I never noticed it.  What I see as a way to get them big bucks, is the unlimited hummus bar.  Hummus, is a dish, like a thick dip, made from chickpeas as the base and is one of the national dishes of Lebanon.  It also has tahini, olive oil, garlic and spices.  Hummus, probably costs about $1 to make one pound and then when you offer an unlimited bar of hummus for a set price, if you charge more than $1, you make your money.  From their site, they charge $10 and from 4-7pm on Tuesdays, you get to eat as much hummus, falafel, eggplant and other favorites as you want.  I would say that even if you ate during all 3 hours, and tried some of everything, the cost of what you would ingest, would not be close to $10.  So, this place definitely makes its money off of this.  


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