Tuesday, December 20, 2011

Mr. Onions: B & O Espresso

Sometimes you go to a restaurant for the food and other times you go to a place for the atmosphere. When one of your friends is working you most likely will stop in, have a drink, and say hello. Then there are places so conveniently close to you, you must go to them. Sometimes you don't want to grocery shop, or walk 20 blocks, or hop on a bus for 40 minutes to hit some of your favorite watering holes. You go there because of location. It's right next door. People are inside everyday seemingly enjoying themselves so it must be good. Right?

I have lived near B & O for almost 2 years and I cannot remember one time where I have actually enjoyed anything. I keep trying. I keep wanting something good to come out of this dimly lit shit hole. They continually let me down. The coffee tastes like burnt tar. The quiche lays there like a lifeless, soaking wet corpse. The service has usually been from the slowest humans on the planet. Every time I enter, a group of chubby mustached men greet me with a sweat drenching hello. Why are there three to four of you? Why are all of you sweating so profusely? What am I getting myself into?!

My lady and I were heading back home after a nice evening of drinking and partying with DTTTC at Winner's Circle. It was an early 10pm. We were just hitting our groove. Our buzz was perfect. We reached the moment of the night that no matter what we did, it would be a grand ol' time. Both of us were easy to please with big smiles on our faces. I didn't want to stand on the corner of Belmont & Olive for 25 minutes trying to figure out where to go. I wanted a hot meal that I didn't have to prepare. We decided that this was their absolute last chance. If they ruined this moment then I would continually walk by this place forever.

After a solid 20 minutes of waiting for our appetizer, our Stuffed Dates had arrived. We each took one bite of these pancetta wrapped, blue cheese filled bird droppings and immediately wanted to gag. This had to be one of the grossest things I've eaten in a while. It tasted like one of the old dried up raisins that gets stuck to the bottom of the box. It was dry. It was chewy. It was Charleston Chew chewy. I reluctantly washed down another one with a big gulp of ice water. This place had immediately sucked all the positivity and fun right out of me.

Another 20 minutes later our entrees finally arrived. I ordered the Grilled Flank Steak. Medium rare. I felt like it was the easiest item on the menu to not fuck up. It was served with a helping of mashed potatoes and sauteed spinach. Meat, potato, vegetable. These three items together have been my staple for the past 10 years. Of course, somehow this place has ruined a simple meal for me as well. The spinach was soupy and lacked any apparent flavor. The potatoes were delicious but served cold. Ice water cold. Like, I am about to pick it up and make a potato snow ball and throw it across the room cold. My flank steak was prepared to a nice overcooked temperature of well done. It was covered in erratic splashes of port wine. I didn't bite the steak. I didn't want to. I had had enough and sent it back. I never send anything back! The server knew it was wrong. It was like he expected it to be wrong and apologized before I complained. He was genuinely bummed when stating how inconsistent the cooks were.

I told the waiter I'd just pick on my lady's plate for the remainder of the meal. She got the Arabesque. A bowtie pasta with salmon tossed in a lemon, garlic, and caper dill cream sauce. Upon first bite I longed for my meal that I had so recently returned. This was tasteless mushroom soup. I piled on the salt. I loaded up on pepper. It was fishy yet gamey. It was mushy and chewy. It was hot baby food for adults. No real salmon, just the the lips, eyes, and assholes of the fish. It was chum the sharks wouldn't eat. My taste buds were climbing out of my mouth fully enraged. They hopped onto my face to smack me around for making the bad decision of taking another bite. They thought I was playing a cruel joke on them and haven't trusted me since.

The server returned and offered up dessert, the one thing this place actually does right. As much as my lady enjoys the Red Velvet Cake here, we decided against it and just had to get out. I do appreciate the server, I will tell you that much. After all we've already been through, he did his job and still tried to sell us on more. He knew how terrible everything was and wanted to get us something that we might enjoy. I'm glad that the staff knows what they are selling their customers, and I'm glad he did all he could to appease us. My sister-in-law worked here many years ago and I remember that not only was the service great, but the food was equally delicious. Some things do change and not always for the better.

When we stepped outside, I couldn't help but comment on the "Notice of Proposed Land Use Action" that had been up on the side of the building for well over the past year. Apparently, B & O will be closing at the end of the 2011 for what will be a new housing project. I haven't been a huge supporter in all the pop up condominiums that have been gentrifying my Seattle neighborhood. This is the only time I say hurry up and tear this place down. Shut it down TODAY. It is long overdue! Put up condos! Please!! Build me a Wal-Mart! Anything! Throw in a Tully's or Seattle's Best Coffee on the bottom floor and make parking on my street even more unbearable. Bring on the yuppy fucks that I will soon call my neighbors. Anything is better than this glorified soup kitchen on my busy street corner. Bring on the cranes! Build it now! Within a year, I hope not to be tripping over the blood filled syringe a few steps away from my apartment. Someone must have eaten here and tried to kill themselves. I was close.

Mr. Onions Rating (on a 1-10 scale)
Food: 0 Service: 6 Atmosphere: 3
Overall: 3

1 comment:

Trent said...

Charleston Chew Chewy! Maybe they can put a Charleston Chew factory in there.

Onions strikes again!