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Monday, May 2, 2011

Second glances and warnings

Before the hordes arrival
It's time to qualify some earlier reports.

I had a totally bizarre experience when I made my third trip to Grindhouse Killer Burgers a few days ago, after I filed my current "Grazing" column. I'd had no difficulty with service my two prior visits, but several readers and friends reported the opposite experience.

So, I was alone, doing errands, and stopped for a quick burger. I sat at the bar. I literally waited 10 minutes for one of the guys behind the bar to acknowledge my existence. He would not even make eye contact with people. When I finally waved him down, he became extremely apologetic. OK, fine. It's a new restaurant.

Then the wait for my order began. I should have gotten a clue when I noticed that only one person at the bar was actually eating. I turned around and saw that the dining room was mainly full but only two tables had any food.

Tick tock. Tick tock. I waited and waited. The woman beside me received her to-go order. She went through the bag and discovered that her order had been botched. Tick tock. Tick tock.

Finally, I said to the counter guys, "Would you mind if I left?" One of them seemed incredulous. "I'm sure it won't be much longer," he said.

"I don't want to wait any longer," I said. "I've been here over 30 minutes."

The other guy agreed that I should feel free to leave. I left.

This is a new restaurant and I'm sure the problems will be ironed out soon. But I'm suggesting you wait another week before visiting. And, please, remember that my "Grazing" column is a first look, not a definitive review. After my third visit and hearing so many complaints, I feel a warning is in order. Still, you can't beat the burgers...

Just Friday, I recommended the tamales at Dakota Blue. (They're chicken; I don't know why I mindlessly wrote they were pork.) I withdraw the recommendation. I returned Sunday night and I couldn't make it through the entire serving. The exterior was weirdly soggy in parts, dry in others. The chicken was so dry, it could hardly be swallowed. The lime sauce was just plain bad.

Friday, I acknowledged that the quality of food at Dakota Blue is unpredictable, but suggested that the inexpensive cost of dining there made taking a risk worthwhile. I'm not so sure now. Honestly, were it not my job to eat a lot of unpleasant food, I would have demanded a refund.

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