March 23, 5:00 PM (PT)
By The Salmon
Note: for this review, critics were instructed by Edhat not to
mention or hint at the name of the restaurant.
I remember being a waiter. The horror that is any commercial kitchen, be it the Four Seasons or a neighborhood Italian eatery. The later was were I spent most of my days. Starched white shirt working on its third straight night without a laundering. Two crumpled cigarettes in the back pocket for when there was a lull in the crowd. Employing the “Three Second Rule” when a veal cutlet slid off the plate and onto the peeling linoleum…
Still, it was a magical time. Jenny Craig came in one night with her entourage and we all waited hesitantly to see if she would order the sauce on the side. She didn’t. In fact, she got piss drunk on Dewar’s and picked a fight with one of the regulars. I’ll never forget that one. The old man she accosted was so scandalized he stormed out leaving no tip and calling her a word that only the Scottish seem to get away with.
I mention all of this because after my lunch companion, known locally as The Manta, and I checked out the seized car auction at Mel Clayton Ford, we crossed the alley to our assigned lunch destination, which shall remain nameless for security purposes and some sort of tax evasion concerns expressed by the Edhat higher ups.
They have no waiters at this restaurant, you see. There are employees, many of whom seem to be on sabbatical from a working kibbutz or still dealing with the breakup of Phish. Dreadlocked, or at least heavily-matted hair is a hiring requirement, as is a hatred of all things corporate, commercial, processed, maimed, caged, bludgeoned, hydrogenated, saturated or otherwise touched by the hand of man in any way. Except, of course, for the beer. Apparently the local Anheiser-Busch rep is a vegan or hard-up for accounts. For excitement, we decided to try the beer that comes “all the way from Mexico” just to adjust our stomachs, and attitudes, to the wonders of natural food.
To help round out the bill and the conversation, we brought our old friend The Rooster along. He’s on a sober kick for the forty days of lent, so our table was soon littered with tea bags and puddles of spilled hot water. Really hot water, I might add. At first he thought the tea was free, which even the Dude-Bro-est of employees was quick to correct. Having failed at procuring the comp tea, he sought retribution with needless requests for water.
I should take a minute to talk about the food: It was fine. You’ve all had it at the other locations. If you haven’t, then you just moved to town and may I be the first to welcome you to our sleepy seaside hamlet. Turkey burger? Bitchin’. Try it with the Bragg’s liquid sodium. Chicken enchiladas? Fine, but needs more of that weird, viscous red oil that comes out of the real Mexican restaurants. Soy? Tofu? Yeah, I guess so. You try it and tell me if it’s better or worse than the Sojourner.
One thing The Rooster brings to any meal is the ability to knock things over. Here we found a real attribute to the establishment – the plants are bolted down. Every single one of them is securely fastened. Even the ones that hang into the booth and tickle your shoulder.
I’ll be honest and say that I won’t be back, but only because the restaurant occupies one of those “cursed” locations that adorn our town. Situated smack dab between the Peninsula Car Dealerships (autos from nations bordered by water on three sides – Korea, Sweden…Michigan) and the second-run movie theater that is still showing Swimming Pool so the fifteen year-olds can see some skin. The car salesmen seemed happy about it however, and should you find yourself in the market for a Pontiac or Daewoo, then I can think of no better place to contemplate the daunting decision to lease or to buy.
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