My meal here started off a little rocky and then plummeted down hill. Really, it's just awful.
I came in as a party of 8. While that could be expected to be a problem at some South Beach restaurants at 10:30pm on a Friday night, I didn't think it should have been met with such deep sighs and disdain at this empty joint. My party DOUBLED the size of their crowd, and there were still a good 5 or 6 empty tables left. And yet, they didn't seem appreciative of our business. After our hostess strained her brain to figure out a solution to a problem it seemed that she had never previously encountered, it was with great effort, scowling (and physical assistance from us) that two tables were pushed together.
After we were seated, they instantly poured us a round of water, which I appreciated. They also promptly brought out 2 food menus and 1 drink menu. The promptness was nice, but there were eight of us. 8 food menus and 8 drink menus would have been preferred.
While I waited for my time to squint at the menu, I tried to take in the surroundings. It's an unremarkable dirty dive. There is no music playing. The napkins are terrycloth towels. (Fancy! we joked.) Three plastic squeeze bottles sit on the table. Yellow mustard, Red Ketchup, and what revealed itself to be without mention or indication from the waiter, 8 oz's equivalent of Big Mac Special Sauce. It turned out to be the best part of the meal, but I do wonder about it sitting out all night. I think it should probably be refrigerated but I also probably worry about those things too much.
Anyway, within a reasonable time, the waiter came and took our drink order. I asked him, "Do the Suds & Sliders come with the flight of beers?" The menu said it was Suds & Sliders (Or maybe it was Sliders & Suds? ) a trio of sliders, houseblend, turkey, and lamb. Flight of 4 50z microbrews." The price listed was $13. After a few quizzical looks and having me repeat the question, each time emphasizing the words, "COME WITH" he said yes.
I said, "I'll have that. I'll be drinking those flight of beers."
He came back and brought one person his beer. Then one person his iced tea. Then he said, "I'll bring your beers with your sliders. I'll put those up later." I kind of wanted to start now, but, okay.
The rest of the drinks trickled out. I will say in their favor, they have a very decent beer selection. The prices include an only reasonable upcharge from what you would pay on the store. The prices are especially reasonable considering the location. South Beach is an expensive place to drink. 8oz also had some rare goodies on tap. I didn't get to try many because I was never offered a second order of drink.
Eventually, he came around for our food orders.
Waiter: "What'll you have?"
Me: "The suds & sliders deal. The $13 thing."
Waiter: "Do you want cheese?"
Me: "Can I get it only on the beef one?"
Waiter gives me a pained look, "They will kill me back there (meaning the kitchen) if I ask them that." How pre-made are these things that they can't not put cheese on all 3? Also, as I recall the menu had a large assortment of interesting cheeses, but he only offered me cheddar.
Me: "Oh. Okay. I don't know about cheese on lamb but... okay. That's fine. Put it on all of them. I'll also have an order of onion rings."
Waiter: "It comes with fries." and then he moved on to the person next to me. But... but I wanted onion rings! I was willing to buy them a la carte. But I guess he felt I only needed fries. I already felt like an asshole for not wanting cheddar cheese on my lamb burger, so I let it go.
They were out of Bison, which sent one of my party in a tizzy to pick something else. Sadly, he had no menu because the only food menus were down at the other end of the table. The waiter made no move to get one for him. Desperately, my party asked, "What's good here? What do you suggest?" The suggestions seemed like, well, bad ideas.
The orders were taken, and I got up to use the bathroom.
THAT IS THE GROSSEST BATHROOM I HAVE EVER SEEN IN A DINING ESTABLISHMENT. That worries me, as bathrooms are usually an indicator of what is going on in the kitchen. This is the part they let you see. If the bathroom is no good, imagine what is hiding where you are forbidden? I promise you, it's not better back there then out here.
It was incredibly unsanitary. We're talking feces on the floor and blood on the toilet seat. We're talking a smell so rank that I gagged the entire time I was in there. Look, I spent my youth at punk rock clubs and am no stranger to the new york lower east side or even chicago south side public toilets. Dive bars are my only bars. But I was eating here. At least there was soap and an automatic towel dispenser.
When I came back to my seat , I uncontrollably shuddered at the horror I had just witnessed. The waiter popped by, "Ya not yawning, are ya?" "No, I was just shuddering at your bathrooms." I guess it was rude of me to say but... he asked. He laughed and walked away. No one came to clean the bathrooms after it came to the waiters attention. A member of the staff did fog it out with cigarette smoke, though.
The food did arrive quickly. He gleefully announced that he managed to get cheese on only the beef slider. I thanked him and dug in. It was honestly ice cold. I'm not exaggerating. It's not hyperbole. I have never ever before even really noticed the temperature of food unless it was too hot, scorching the top of my mouth. But it tasted like it still had the chill of the refrigerator on it. The fries and the sliders. And oh, god those sliders. Three tiny indistinguishable, hard, tasteless patties that were just simply lost within the shredded iceberg lettuce, tiny pickle slices, and unevenly cut tomato that lay limply on the the cold, weak, soggy slider buns.
The fries were well-salted and they looked like they were once delicious. Unfortunately, it was cold as hell.
About half way through my meal the waiter came and said to me, "Are you still working on that or can I take that from you?" I think I still had a fry in my mouth! I deflected his effort to toss my food and started eating faster out of shame.
Heeey.... Maybe I'm just being paranoid but I wonder if he hadn't been repeatedly, subtly calling me fat throughout the meal. No onion rings for you. Don't eat the full portion. No new beer order for you, fatty. I'm not overweight for Fort Lauderdale, but I guess I am fat for South Beach... Maybe that's paranoia but no good meal should incur multiple moments of shame for the customer.
The beer I did get was fresh and delicious, although not exactly as advertised. They substituted one of the four for the seasonal brew. I was pleased about that. They had switched the one I didn't care for for a beer I really did enjoy. They probably should have told me but when a quirk works in my favor, I hush.
Eventually I let him clear away my plate and he brought the bill. The bill was interesting. It had 18% gratuity added. That's fine, considering we were a party of 8, although the bill was randomly separated into 4 bills. But it did say in bold right under the gratuity line, " GRATUITY NOT INCLUDED". Also, my $13 suds & sliders combo cost $19. I had explicitly asked him to clarify the suds & sliders pricing. I asked if the beer CAME WITH the sliders. I called it the "$13 suds & sliders meal" when I ordered. I knew if I confronted the waiter I would lose my temper so I just paid my bill and got the hell out of there. I will never ever ever go back. What a disgusting miserable excuse for a burger bar. They should be ashamed of themselves.
Update: They overcharged each party by at least $18. We are now stuck disputing these charges or eating the cost. I don't want to eat the cost and I don't want to eat their food!
* (1) Never, ever again!