Tuesday, March 8, 2011

Taco Thursday

NIMR  (Not In My Restaurant) 

Last Thursday night...I’m running errands and spot a sign, "Now open...The Taco stand"...  
Dreaming of authentic Mexican street food and atmosphere (with hand-smashed avocados!).  I excitedly pull into the lot.  Entering the new establishment my dinning companion and I are greeted by... no one!
Confused by the lack of signage demanding that we wait to be seated, (I make a quick NIMR mental note) and contemplate a quick exit.  I remind myself that this is a newborn restaurant, and I'm here for the greater good: supporting a new establishment and authentic Mexican chow
Finally, a young lady dressed in jeans and a tee nonchalantly approaches us (as if doing us a favor).  I ask, "Are you open???"  The “hostess” seats us in a dining room amongst 15 other patrons, leaves menus, and scurries off.

We exchange apprehensive looks but dive into the menu expectantly.  Immediately, I cringe!!!  Three tacos are listed!!!  I rant to my friend, “At a taco stand there’s no room on the menu for ... wings...hamburgers...hotdogs!"  Ugh!  
A more likely name for the restaurant would be  "(such and such..) Bar & Grill.”  (And a bad one at that).  
We were served cold, unseasoned tortilla chips and salsa that tasted like a can of chopped tomatoes.  Both of us ordered a couple of tacos and while waiting a woman (at first we thought she was another patron) approached our table to apologize, "Please bare with us, we are still getting our sea legs” Awkward to say the least.  Sea Legs?? I think, "Are we going fishing"?

I can forgive mediocre service if I have spectacular food.  The tacos were blah: the steak taco had huge pieces of meat, which made it difficult to eat and the "traditional" was under seasoned.
Taco Stand of Alpharetta- “At the very least change the name of the restaurant!  My Suggestion: " Taco Stand -My ass!” 

Until next week, with apron and whisk in hand, The Chef Turned Underground Critic, is watching!

Tuesday, March 1, 2011

From a Chef's Point of View...

It all started last Wednesday night when I decided to try a new/different restaurant and it failed me...
Atlanta, Ga., "The foodie city of the south" has hundreds of restaurants and countless amazing food markets.  Some of the best food in the world should be at our doorsteps.  And yet my experience has been the contrary: the service is poor, the food is sub-par, the atmosphere pitiable or all three at once.
As a Chef, perhaps a future restaurant owner, and a die-hard optimist I keep an ever-growing list of "Things I Won't Have In My Restaurant".  My personal mantra is "What can I learn from this"?
For this blog I plan to eat out at least once a week and report back to you with my recommendations.

My expectations: Friendly, professional, inviting service and quality food that will call me back again and again.
The Result: Chef turned underground restaurant critic.....dun..dun...dun..grab the apron and the whisk, suddenly I feel like a superhero..The Chef-Critic is watching you!