There’s a Right Way, and…

2006.Jun.05 Monday · 1 comment

in Restaurants

Buenos Aires – Sometimes you know you’re making the wrong choice. It’s just in your gut feelings. Yesterday we set out for one of our favorite weekend afternoon haunts, Sabor Norteño, where we pop in for a bit of Peruvian food and some music. When we arrived, around 2:15, the place was jam-packed, with a line of about twenty folk waiting to get in. There was also no sign of the musicians. Right across the street, at La Rioja 187, is Huacachina, another Peruvian spot, a bit smaller, and there was no line. We were hungry, we figured the folks waiting to get into our first choice were headed there because of the music, and besides, Huacachina was pretty much full.

So, we sat down at a lavender plastic covered table and perused the menu – all the usual suspects, and by 2:25 had placed our order for a trio of appetizers and a couple of entrees. Our bottle of soda arrived promptly. We sat, we chatted with each other, and with the elderly man who came and took up the table next to us. He ordered. We chatted some more. We waited. We began to notice that everyone was waiting. There was no food on any of the tables. People were looking around, shifting around, and trying to catch the attention of one of the two waiters, both of whom seemed to have mastered the art of looking everywhere but at the people at the tables. We could see the kitchen in the back, five folk busy bustling around, lots of sizzling noises and such. But not one plate seemed to come up to the pass through.

Huacachina - ceviche mixtoAt 3:05 or so, our waiter approached our table to tell us that our order was held up because one of the dishes wasn’t ready. We told him to bring whatever was ready, and bring the last when it was – after all, appetizers and entrees – we didn’t need it all at once. He paled and disappeared. At 3:20 he reappeared carrying this plate of ceviche. The fish on it was still completely raw, it had clearly been thrown together within the last few moments. While I’m a sushi fan, this isn’t the sort of place I want raw fish from, and Henry won’t touch it. We sent it back, asking for more lemon juice to be added, and then have it brought back last, after our other dishes.

Huacachina - anticuchosAt 3:40, our waiter reappeared with this plate of anticuchos, which were coated with enough salt to attract in red deer from Patagonia. At 3:45 the other waiter came over with the ceviche – spicy, but still not really done right – really no flavors but lemon and hot pepper, and pretty much just a mess. We finished off the anticuchos and ate about half the ceviche. At 4:00 our waiter returned to the table, tossed our check on it, and said that neither our remaining appetizer nor either of our main courses were available. While I may know that the kitchen screwed things up, it’s a waiter’s responsibility to make sure that the customers are taken care of, happy, and at least informed that there’s a problem. Guess he figured we could gather that on our own. Guess we figured he didn’t need a tip. We also figure we won’t be going back.

[Note: this restaurant has closed.]


{ 1 comment… read it below or add one }

Paz June 6, 2006 at 16:59

You were all very patient. I don’t think I could have continued to sit there and wait for my food, especially if I were really hungry.


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