Saturday, February 21, 2009

Open City: Who Wants Meatcakes?

I cannot believe it, but I have finally found a restaurant worse than Tryst.

Of course, I should be able to believe it; they’re owned by the same people, after all, and Open City is kinda like Tryst's cousin, the one who is trying to be classy (real tables instead of couches) but is actually kinda skeevy when you get to know him. The service is faster, but that’s mostly because there are fewer people there.

So I have to write about this meal, because I think it was the worst meal I’ve ever been served at a restaurant and possibly anywhere. It wasn’t the server’s fault, and I don’t think it was the cooks’ faults, necessarily; it was just a dismal, dismally awful dinner.

Open City’s thing is that it serves breakfast all day long. I went in with the intention of ordering pancakes but, looking at the menu, thought it might be smarter to order something healthier. So I asked for two eggs, scrambled, and wheat toast. I got two eggs over easy and wheat toast.

This in itself is no big deal; I have nothing against a fried egg and was quite willing to eat the two eggs however they appeared. But these two particular eggs were so easy that as soon as I cut into them they drooled both egg yolk and egg white all over my toast. Disastrous. Even worse was that when I tried to eat the egg mess, it was cold.

I was very upset; less in the “oh noes my eggs are disgusting” way and much more in the “oh noes, how am I going to get out of this one without looking like a spoiled princess.” No sooner had I pushed my egg mess away from me than it was whisked off the table by an overly solicitous busboy, which meant that I was in the position of having to explain to my server that I wanted an entirely new dinner in place of the disaster dinner that, since it was no longer on the table, the server could not actually see for herself.

But Open City has, for what it’s worth, great service; I as the customer was of course right and the egg dinner was taken off the bill and a fresh dinner—pancakes this time, since I wasn’t ready for another go-round with cold eggs—provided in its place. (I gave the server a 50% tip for her gracious way of handling the situation.)

But then the pancakes came. They were warm, for a start, and visually appealing. But—and there’s no nice way to say this—they tasted like meat. Open City serves all-day breakfast, but it serves all-day burgers and fries too; and now I’m picturing, in the kitchen, one giant communal grill.

I kept re-tasting these things to make sure; after all, it’s been nearly three years since I last tasted a hamburger. But… yeah, these things were definitely burger-flavored. And while someone out there probably thinks hamburger-flavored pancakes are a great idea, I am not that person.

Oh, and despite the “free wifi” sign, the router has been down since December. Which means that I’m writing this blog post (and the two to follow) on Microsoft Word.

Still: a 50% tip for the service. But consider it a warning.

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