Friday, April 25, 2008

Top Ten Fridays - Worst Restaurants

What fun is blogging the best if you can’t grind your heel into the worst? Without any further adieu, ladies and gents, the worst restaurants in the Twin Cities. Feel free to chime in with your least favorites.

Worst Restaurant: Uptown Thai

At some point, the uptown Sawatbees decided to dispense with branding altogether, adopting the hyper-literal moniker “Uptown Thai”. The generic motif extends to both the ambience (was this once a Baker’s Square?) and the food. The Tom Kha Kai might as well be cream of mushroom soup, the curries are greasy, and the appetizers are ordinary at best. The servers manage to pull off the difficult task of simultaneously not knowing English AND not knowing anything about the menu.

Least Romantic Restaurant: Uptown Diner

Diners can be quite romantic. Unpretentious food. Something for everyone. Ostensibly, the Uptown Diner fits the model. But the shakes suck, the emphasis is on curing hangovers, the service is hissy, and the whole restaurant is populate by Uptown people. I liked this place better when it was a Burger King.

Worst Asian Food: Rainbow

My judgment of this restaurant had been impaired by the presence of a spicy scallop dish that tickled my fancy. It’s no longer on the menu, and that leaves me to sample their overpriced noodle soups and otherwise mundane offerings. The restaurant also absurdly features valet parking. This is Eat Street, right? Side note: Every time I mention this restaurant in public, some Eagan resident thinks I’m joking about getting Chinese food at Rainbow. I am thusly credited with a really lame joke.

Worst Restaurant I’ve Never Been Too: The Sample Room

And why haven’t I been there? They don’t take reservations, which means that you get to wait 45 minutes to, um, sample their wares. The room is very small, and the restaurant has been the recipient of unspectacular reviews. I have too much pride to wait around for the opportunity to spend money at your restaurant, especially when Psycho Suzi’s is down the road.

Worst Bar: Williams Bar

The beer selection is impressive, but I prefer a tight selection that is more affordably priced. Williams Bar is a charmless bar, which makes it difficult to appreciate the heavy price tag for beer, pool etc… For many Uptown dwellers, the Williams Bar is a precursor to the Uptown Diner, which should give you an idea of what I think about the clientele. People complain about all the condos in uptown, but frankly, condos and Uptown deserve each other.

Worst Chain: Chipotle

Middle America is bitter, and when middle America is bitter, it clings to comforts like SUVs, vinyl siding, and horrible Mexican food. You know a chain sucks when your helping generate positive buzz for Baja Sol, of all places. Fortunately, people are starting to catch on to the fact that these nutritional monstrosities aren’t worth it. That Pineda #2 closed while this place still slings it’s filth is God’s judgment on our sin.

Worst Middle Eastern Restaurant: Jerusalem

This place used to be halfway decent, but is in desperate need of an update. The food is mediocre, and the ambience has gotten downright depressing. Located at the butt end of Eat Street, one could argue that this restaurant has been a victim of neglect. Sad, given that decent Mediterranean food is almost impossible to come by in this city as it is.

Worst Victim of Minnesotan Ignorance: Midtown Global Market

The global market does everything it can to make its wares palatable to Eaganheads. Vendors are happy to chat about their products. Restaurants offer free samples, and guide white people through difficult ordering decisions by indicating spiciness levels, and comparing items to those found at Don Pablos. The place is a cornucopia of stuff white people like.

And it’s empty. Not even a whiff from the Uptowners, who could easily bike down the massive greenway our tax dollars built for them. Of course, why would they leave Uptown when there is a Chipotle in the neighborhood? Ugh.

Worst Food: Brit’s Pub

Lawnbowling aside, I do not understand the appeal of this place. I suppose one could argue that the food is authentically British, but it is profoundly bad. How do you mess up bangers and mash? And it’s expensive to boot. The Local is down the road, so unless you are interested in perpetuating an ancient national-identity grudge, there really is no decision here.

Worst Parking: Mairin’s Table

This otherwise pleasant Northeast café is completely impenetrable. The website touts “free parking” which consists of about three spots in a shared parking lot. If Surdyk’s is having it’s wine sale, forget about it. If you are within walking distance, however, I heartily recommend you visit frequently.

4 Comments:

Blogger Adam Omelianchuk said...

Rebecca and I went to the Uptown Diner and you are right: very unromantic.

12:34 PM  
Blogger Marc Conklin said...

You're dead wrong on Jerusalem, man. The place needs an update aesthetically, but the food is possibly the best Middle Eastern I've had here.

12:36 PM  
Blogger Kevin Sawyer said...

Have you been recently? Three years ago, I would have said the same thing, but on my last visit, even the falafel was dry and listless.

1:40 AM  
Blogger Jerad said...

I third the Uptown Diner rejection. '50s appeal is minimal, and no place named "Diner" should have a menu that expensive.

Mairin's is w/in walking distance and you've convinced me to try it out.

I'd add a "worst bar for food" and put the 331 Club there. There are so many reasons to go and it hosts a wonderful variety of events, just don't waste your money on anything non-alcoholic.

6:22 PM  

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