Insult to Injera: A Compendium of Bad (and Dumb) Yelp Reviews of Ethiopian Restaurants

Side/Dishes is my second attempt at (micro)blogging.

The first was a tumblr, “Adding Insult to Injera,” in which I curated a collection of bad Yelp reviews of Ethiopian restaurants. Just the bodies of the reviews are preserved; personal, restaurant, and place names are given the old Dostoyevsky dash.

I refrain from editorializing herein. Because why bother? This stuff is plenty rich, plenty real enough. Perhaps this diner is you, is me. Is a first date gone awry. Just put yourself at the table with these people, huis clos – no snarky commentary, no third party narration or fictional documentary crew.

Just (mostly) people making poor dining-out decisions and blaming the loss leaders. Some are dumber than that – so enjoy a full bucket of their candied bullshit and move on with your internet gardening.

“Yes, the droolings from your flutes /

Make some priceless glucoses! /

-A pile of fried eggs in old hats, /

Those Lilies, Lilacs, Lotuses and Roses!”

– Alcide Bava (Arthur Rimbaud), “What One Says to The Poet on The Subject of Flowers”

Google “bad Yelp reviews” and you get quite a few hits.

People try.

Adventures In Lentils, Potatoes, Beef was last heard from in July of 2015…

*Caveat: I am mostly rating the atmosphere of the restaurant rather than the food since I am not personally a fan of Ethiopian cuisine. I came out tonight on the recommendation of a friend. This is not a restaurant I would have ever made it to on my own*

OK. At the behest of a friend, I decided to dine at _________ while I was in ______ for school. When we arrived the place looked very run down, but sometimes the most amazing places are those that don’t have all that sizzle on the outside. My group entered the restaurant and had to wait a few minutes before we were greeted by anyone. A gentleman (assumed owner) greeted us and asked us where we would like to sit and we said outside if possible. The inside of the restaurant didn’t raise any initial issues for me -the decor isn’t anything special (with an African theme). We went outside and the man working washed off some chairs for us which was very nice. He then asked us what we would like to drink. Several in my group ordered water while I ordered a soda. A few minutes later our server arrived with some very retro looking water glasses and several (more than we ordered) sodas. Unfortunately, the sodas had some interest debris on the top of them (I think it was spices). We asked for straws, but the straws that were provided to us had some “gunk” on them so we decided to just wipe the can and use as is.

We ordered the sampler platter times two for four people. When the platter arrived there was a variety of options to choose from-Lentil, potatoes, beef?. Now, I am not an adventurous eater and this was way out of my comfort zone, but what I tasted (a bit of everything) was pretty tasty. If I hadn’t been so turned off by the soda situation and atmosphere, I actually think I might have enjoyed the cuisine.

I tried it. I didn’t love it, but I don’t want to discourage others from the cuisine itself. I just personally didn’t enjoy the experience. If you can get past the places appearance and are OK with a place that as a little edge to it (and your like Ethiopian cuisine), this is probably a good choice based on the other reviews.


U, from 2008.

This Restaurant had a good service and very friendly people but the place was hidden and to find it U have to use your navigational system in your car or have a map with U. Food is ok kind of odd for eating raw meats and with your hands but it was definitely a different experiences.


“Bizzaro World Environmental Battle” casualty reported, 2007.

Having only eaten Ethiopian food once before (at           ), I was excited to take the plunge again. A friend suggested trying           at its new location after lamenting it’s loss from      , so we checked it out early on a Tuesday evening.

Just to reiterate what’s already been said – the service is a little slow, but the food itself is fantastic. Unfortunately that in no way compensates for the Bizzaro World environmental battle between the bar and restaurant. Barely separated by a small divider, the place is an aural nightmare, with the bar’s jukebox playing Rod Stewart, Boston, Def Leppard, etc. accompanied in full voice by the aforementioned besotted patron at the bar. Mildly amusing at first, then progressively grating. As if to compensate, the TV volume was on relatively loud – I kept expecting Brian Williams to stop his newscast to tell our singer to clam up. The (only) restaurant waitress was doe-eyed and charming while the bartender looked like she had cornered the market on peroxide and fake-tan-in-a-jar. Good food can only carry bad aesthetics so far.


No Review Update Filed – hope you were well, as of October, 2013

So I called Fressen Restaurant today to find out what in the world is going on because I noticed their sign is gone!  Alas, the Fressen German restaurant is no more.  But, the good news is that the new            Restaurant is open as of today and the food is free today!!!  Guess where I’m going after work?  Stay tuned for a review update.


Fourthmeal Fourthwall – broken just over two months ago.

I had a pretty terrible experience at        , on all counts.
I came here on a Saturday night around 9pm, and the restaurant stood out because it was fairly empty and had ample vegetarian options. My friend and I were super hungry, and she had never tried Ethopian food before, so we were sold.

Upon walking in, we were seated immediately… and then abandoned. This became a recurring theme throughout the night. It took my friend and I 20 minutes to get a waitress (and they were all just… lined up against a wall chatting, not actively waiting tables or doing anything else) to come take our order.

I ordered the Regular Veggie Combo (1), with “Spicy Splint Lentil, Yellow Peas, Greens, and Salad,” and it took maybe 20 more minutes from our initial delayed order to come out. The combo came with a huge injera, and an extra one for both my friend and I to split. However, both the injera and the whole combo were cold… It would have been one thing if the injera were cold and the veggies were hot, but everything was like… colder than lukewarm, which was pretty gross. The vegetables were also not flavorful at all–everything sort of was just a bland, differently colored mush without any kind of spices/seasoning (and hey, I love Ethopian food generally, so this is very out of the norm for my experience.) I ended up abandoning my dish halfway through, because I just couldn’t stomach it.
My friend seemed to like her dish, though, so maybe (unsurprisingly) the meat-based dishes are better. Still, if a restaurant has a vegetarian menu, you would think they’d put more effort into executing it.

After we had finished our meals, it took us another 20 minutes to get a wall-sitting waitress to take our plates, and then 20 more to get the check… and then 20 more to get our credit card brought back to us.

For the ~$15 I spent for mediocre cold food, awful service, enormous waiting times, and dull ambiance, I could have gone to nearly anywhere else on              . And so can you.


“Remember, There Was Hardly Anyone In There” recalled on 8/9.

I went there recently on a Saturday afternoon around 2:30.  The place was almost empty.  The manager only offered me two tables at which to sit.  One was squished into a corner and the other was right in front of the side door.  There were plenty of other empty tables in the middle of the dining room.

Ok, I ordered a beef stew and it was good.  I asked for a coke and the waitress brought a can of coke and a glass with ice.  Does this mean no refills?

So, the food was good, but the service was slow.  Remember, there was hardly anyone in there.  It took a long time for the waitress to come back so I could ask for the check.  People at the table next to me had to ask twice for their check.  If you have plans after dinner, keep this in mind.


“They Should Stop Acting Like They Are Invincible” was demoralized about a month ago.

Worst customer service! It took over 2 hours to get our check and get our payment processed. The server was very dismissive. when their cc machine broke down the manager wrote my card number down on a piece of newspaper. How unprofessional. Not to mention the food was completely dry and it took at least 30 mins to get a glass of wine. Not once did the manager apologize or offer us anything while we were waiting. The server had so much attitude I couldn’t believe it. They should stop acting like they are invincible. There are tons of Ethiopian places within walking distance that are far more authentic and way cheaper than this place. I will never come back here again.


“That Smoke Will Burn Your Eyes And Throat” – noted in early August, 2014.

I’ve been coming here since 2000.  I’m a huge fan of this cuisine.  Their flavors are rich and hearty.

My biggest problem with the restaurant is that their service is indescribably slow.  I mean slow, as in 10+ min before the waiters acknowledge you,  30 minutes for an appetizer and up to an hour for your main course.  Too much time to spend in a stuffy un-ventilated space while traditional ciffee service is being charred.   That by the way is a warning.  If you have allergies beware bc that smoke will burn your eyes and throat.

Sadly I’m done making excuses for the slowness of this spot.   I will go to one of the other 5 or 6 restaurants right next door.


“As In Stale” on 1/28/2014

I’ve been to this place every once in a while and always thought it was ok.  My family and I went to dine in and escape the frigid weather. We ordered a large sampler to share.  Imagine my surprise when it was served with *gasp* COLD injera bread!!!!  That’s right, as in STALE injera that was taken out of the fridge.  Good, warm, fresh injera bread is the backbone of any Ethiopian meal.  To have served this to a customer is an abomination.  I suppose I should have complained, but COLD STALE INJERA???? Unthinkable.  We were hungry so we ate about 60% of our platter.  The selections were rather bland and greasy.  Oh, and the green beans with carrots looked like they were straight from a can of Veg-All.  Never going back..


On September 8, 2014: “Not A Place For Groups Of People You’re Not Terribly Friendly With”

I have two ratings for this place. I’d give it a 4 for services and friendly staff. They really tended to our table and one guy, who might have been the owner, was cracking jokes all night.

However, I’d give it 2 for food. I’m not really a fan of Ethiopian food. I’m really not a picky eater but this is the one food I’ve tried on many occasions and just don’t feel satisfied after. It’s a fun activity, getting to eat with your hands, but it’s not a place for germaphobs or groups of people you’re not terribly friendly with. Some of the meat items were good, but I didn’t like any of the vegetable items.

Maybe it’s just not for me! I definitely recommend trying it for the experience, but it might be a hate it or love it kind of food.


“Women Hung Up On Me” of 12/18/2013

Politely called to buy a gift certificate for my brother who lives in Seattle, based on reviews here.  Women hung up on me. Rudest and most patronizing I’ve been spoken to all year.


“Shrug” of 8/5/2014

              Ethiopian was my first experience with Ethiopian cuisine, in-fact my first experience of anything sub-Saharan.

Overall I did not enjoy my meal, or maybe I just don’t like Ethiopian cuisine.

I find the standard pairing of Injera (the traditional flatbread) with any of the Wots (stews) to be strange.  The Injera is very soft almost to the point of soggy… when paired with a Wot, a thick curry like stew… the overall mushy texture is very unsatisfying.  The Wot themselves do have flavor, but I was looking for something big and bold, especially since the Injera was extremely mild tasting.

This is the limitation of being new to an ethnic cuisine..Is this how it’s supposed to taste?  Shrug

Sorry          , I try to be open-minded to all foods… but I don’t like it.


 

Check, please.

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