Three Rather Off-putting Meals

I’m on a roll lately.  Unfortunately, it’s a roll of shitty meals.  We’re not talking average, moderate, unremarkable meals, but ranging instead from rotten to atrocious.  And it’s not like I’ve been eating at shady unlicensed joints hoping to find a gem in amongst the filth.  We’re talking about long-standing, reputable places here that have failed, and failed huge.

Meal #1- 33rd Street Bistro– Last week I attended a private event at 33rd Street and couldn’t have been more ticked off at the food situation.  There were six tables at the event, and only food enough for three or four of them. And what food there was was sad, limp, underseasoned chicken parts, a green salad, and roasted vegetables. It was depressing and tasteless. I had to go to Del Taco after I left just to have something for my bile to work on other than my continued rage at the Haines brothers.

Meal #2- El Patron– The fairly newish spot on Folsom Blvd has been on my list of places to try for while.  It’s now off the list. Had we just had to put up with the disjointed service, we’d have been ok, but the food situation was absolutely unacceptable. First, the tortilla chips were stale, then the guacamole was frozen, yes that’s right, frozen. I don’t mean that it had been frozen then thawed then served.  I mean that when it came to our table, it was served with a hard, frozen center that was moderately disgusting. Then, the entrees — all four of them — left a lot to be desired.  From a plate of flavorless carnitas to a plate of beige, boring fish to a monstrosity of a dish that can only be described as a giant stone bowl overflowing with ingredients, not a meal mind you, but just ingredients. What had sounded so appealing on the menu came to the table as a giant bowl of chewy pork, with small logs of queso, six-inch long stems of cilantro, and, since I wasn’t prepared for it, a rather repellent layer of reconstituted fried pork skin that had just gotten soggy and fatty while sitting in the sauce at the bottom of the bowl.  We all skipped dessert…Oh, and I almost forgot, for a place that takes pride in its bar, the margaritas were weaker than Andy Rooney after running the New York Marathon.

Meal #3- Bella Bru– When I say that something has too much mayonnaise, then it has way too much f’ing mayonnaise.  I am a mayo connoisseur, an aficionado if you will, or a mayo junkie if you will not. And the tuna melt at Bella Bru I partially consumed today was way over the line on the mayonnaise content.  Besides that, it was just a poorly prepared tuna melt. What are the two most important components of a tuna melt after all?  I would say number one is tuna, the other is melt.  The ‘Bru was one for two.  While there was indeed tuna included with my mayonnaise sandwich, the melting was harder to find than a PETA t-shirt in Sarah Palin’s closet.  I guess the guy working the grill station hadn’t been at culinary school on the day they taught melting. Instead of a tuna melt, I got a tuna burn, with both sides of the sandwich briefly singed by what must have been the hottest part of the grill, but with the inner layer of cheese cold and unimpressive.  If I’m going to spend $9 on a sandwich, and an unpardonable $2.10 on a Coke, then you better believe that cold American singles are not what I’m looking for.

I’m going to Tuli Bistro tonight and leaving this all behind me.

12 thoughts on “Three Rather Off-putting Meals”

  1. Re: the price of a fountain drink

    How much is too much for the rest of you? I recently went to GV Hurley’s & was surprised to pay $2.95 for iced tea (fountain drinks were the same amount.) I think $1.95 is about standard.

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  2. While “monstrosity of a dish that can only be described as a giant stone bowl overflowing with ingredients” and “Andy Rooney” are considered delicacies in many regions of the world, none of them are remotely near Mexico, except the Andy Rooney one. I seem to recall historical records of cannibalism in present day Mexico.

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  3. I think the Haines brothers are way over rated. I haven’t found any of their restaurants worth returning to. Hope your meal at Tuli Bistro is a winner. I love that place and no matter what anyone else says, I’ve never had bad service.

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  4. Tonight was my first night ever going to Tuli; although, sac-eats has gone many, many times. I can’t wait to go back to try each of the different dishes we saw coming out across the counter from where we were sitting. The food is top-notch, and the atmosphere is upscale casual but decidedly chill. It’s a come as you are kind of place, yet one would not feel out of place being decked out going there either before or after some community event or gala. I heart the Tuli Bistro.

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  5. I went to the Haines’ new Tre last night. The food was quite good, with an interesting choise of menu items. Other than the table service, the rest of the service left a lot to be desired. First, despite the fact that two of us were the only people in the bar besides another party of two, it took 10 minutes to get a glass of wine. One server, standing next to our table, talked only to the two people at the bar and never offered to help us. Next, the model/hostess tried to squeeze five us into a booth set for four. After waiting for the extra table service, I had to ask the trio of model/hostesses twice for a bigger table, as they kept telling me the booths were for six. There was no one in the restaurant and all the booths were set for four. We were moved to a larger table, one which had virtually no light at one end. A manager kindly gave us a flashlight. When we left, all the booths were occupied – by parties of four.

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  6. It baffles me why people continue to patronize places like the 33rd Street Bistro (or any of the other incarnations in the Haines Brother’s growing conglomerate). Consistently bad service, subpar food and overall mediocrity are a recipe for failure, but they somehow manage to grow, grow, grow. Before they open up the North Highlands locale of Bistro 33, I hope we can all recognize that the people who are keeping these places open are the same douche bags who, just a couple of years ago, were the garish, home flipping, hummer driving, faux hawk wearing, Gavin Maloofesque mortgage “consultants” who comprised the dark underbelly of Sacramento culture and are largely responsible (ok, that’s a stretch) for the current condition of our local economy. My only hope is that as these people continue to move back in with their parents, the unexplained rise of the Haines empire will crumble as people start to patronize restaurants that actually give a shit about remarkable food and service.

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  7. A breakfast group I eat with on Sunday mornings used to make Bella Bru a regular destination. No more. While the ambiance is pleasant enough, the service is fair on a good day and the food inconsistent and just not very good. The one breakfast item they had that was halfway interesting – the potato grautin benedict – was removed from the menu.

    They should definitely switch to quadruple size coffee mugs because by the time they get back to your table for a refill, you’ll have fainted from caffeine-deprivation.

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  8. Well that leaves Tuli at still a 50/50 voting. Paul and Lori hate it, Eileen and Sue love it. Everyone else falls on either side. I’ve been wary to try them but still want to to see which side I’ll fall on. The overall view seems to be the food is great, it’s the service that is horrid. But glad you liked it. Means it still has a chance to get high marks from me – if I ever get over there.

    As to Bella, I wonder if it is the location. There are so many of them now.

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  9. As far as the service as Tuli goes, it was prompt, attentive, and professional on a a pretty busy Saturday night. So they may very well have ironed out any difficulties they had in the past.

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  10. Re: the price of a fountain drink

    Restaurant s/b $1.50-$1.95, any more and I am ordering water w/ lemon and making workin’s man lemonade with the sugar packets on the table (and taking a few extra equal for the ol fanny pack while I’m at it…).

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  11. We’re regulars at Tuli and the service has definitely improved in the past 2-3 months. I think they were spread a little thin earlier in the year or they’ve obviously taken note and stepped up their attention to detail. Or I don’t know, maybe they recognize us now. We’re in their almost weekly. At any rate, we love the food and it’s great to watch Jeff and the others cook. As far as the 33rd boys, I never was a big fan and living down the street from Riverside Club we NEVER go in there anymore. Food was never great, but I don’t think they ever intended it to be.

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  12. 33rd Street used to be very good. Maybe in these time they are skimping on ingredients, servers, chefs. The Riverside Club is horrid. We live close but never go there…we used to like the old Hereford House. Great steak sandwiches!

    I think they need to stop opening more restaurants and take care of the ones they already have…that goes for Paragary too. When I say take care of their olders spots, I mean take care of their employees…like how about giving their chefs and managers a damned raise once in awhile??

    I am currently in Portland. Went and ate at Oba (Pearl district) and then saw the Kings and Blazers game at the Rose Garden. Wow! Fantastic..on both fronts!!

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