Monday, November 19, 2007

Flaco's Cocina =(

"Flaco's Tacos was a St. Louis restaurant that had great fish burritos.
However, Flaco's closed down a number of years ago. It clearly inspired somebody -- and they have now opened up a tribute restaurant that we'll be going to on Monday. This is our first tribute restaurant, which is very exciting if you want it to be! Who knows what a tribute restaurant even is?"

The above was on the invite for a dinner party at the new Flaco's Cocina on Delmar. You could imagine my excitement. However, the experience itself felt short of my expectation.

We had a group of 20, and as a group, we often overwhelm the kitchen. Therefore, I completely understand and am usually quite forgiving on slowness or mistakes.

However, there is a limit to my patience.

First, service was very lacking. Glasses were kept empty often. We requested for more chips and salsa, which was not delivered. Later, she stopped by to fill up waters, and asked if we'd like more chips and salsa... By the way, we did notice that she holds glasses near the rim. So, make sure you always drink out of the straw at that restaurant!

Then the food comes. That was a MESS! We were the only table at the restaurant. (BTW, we always make reservations, and the tables were indeed reserved. So, they were not surprised by a big party.) Plates and plates of food came out that no one ordered. The servers did not even TRY to figure out what order belongs to who, and which orders were still to come. They just take whatever that's coming out of the kitchen and yell out who ordered this. If no one answers, they go back to the kitchen with it.

A friend and I ordered the paella. A total of four paella orders were placed. Two came out, but ours did not. Rounds and rounds of unclaimed food came out, in between claimed food. Oddly, this did not motivate the serving staff to keep track of the orders. In fact, I think this just made them give up on keep track. They did not even bother to see who have been served and who have not. When food come out, they continue their yelling from the beginning to the end, even though my friend and I were the only two still did not have food in front of us. After dishes and dishes came out of the kitchen unclaimed, we finally fed up and said "no! those are not our orders! we ordered the paella!" This seemed to be the only way the servers knew which orders came out and which orders were still missing... (yes, maybe it's just because we overwhelmed the kitchen. Yes, maybe it's because they are new... but yes, there is something fundamentally messed up in the communication on what orders need to be cooked!)

Yes... we suspect this is when our paella actually get started in the kitchen. And yes, we waited for a long time.

What was really annoying was that despite this mess, the staff or management seems unapologetic.

Then, when the paella came out, it was not good. Complete lack of flavor...

Also, there were mystery ingredients. Turned out it was the fish of the day. Which is normal and fine, but it was less fine when no fish was listed as an ingredient on the menu. To us, it was shocking. It just seemed like they threw random stuffs in a pot. We may not have been as taken back by the random fishes, if it weren't for another patron's odd ingredient...

Carne Asada enchilada... completed with bacon...

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