Sunday, April 3, 2011
restaurant review: Bread Brown
or is it Bread & Brown? the logo wasn't very clear. The poor grammar and/or misguided logo should have tipped us off from the start. I'd give this restaurant 1.5 stars out of 5:
* + *
This restaurant is in a quaint and lovely location, in the ancient souq by the seaside in the Lebanese tourist town of Jounieh. The street was quiet in the mid-afternoon hours: most of the shops were open but not bustling, creating a relaxing anbiance. All of the houses were of whitish-pinkish stone, a signature of Lebanese architecture. After every five establishments or so, there was a crack in the buildings where you could catch a glimpse of the sea beyond.
The Bread Brown is right at one of those cracks. It offers indoor seating with a pub ambiance, and outdoor café-style seating. When sitting outside you see the traditional style souq and catch a waft of sea breeze.
You also have little to no hope of getting served, because the waitress is most likely flirting with the cook or the busboy. One waitress for a restaurant of this size would only be sufficient if she were incredibly efficient: well-trained, clever and hardworking. As far as we could tell, she had none of these qualities. What she did know how to do was flirt.
After about five minutes, my friend went inside to get the menus. Five minutes later we'd made our choices but she still hadn't appeared. I poked my head in the front window and found her leaning over the bar smiling into the eyes of the cook. I caught his eye and he eventually sent her out.
Our drinks didn't come and I went in to personally collect the ice I'd requested. The food came reasonably quickly but was mediocre at best. One friend ordered the chicken burger, which she liked although it was drippy and bland. My other friend ordered the chili burger which she described as a "cooked meal in bread" and nothing at all like a burger. As for myself, I ordered fettucini alfredo and a rocca-with-mushroom salad. The rocca leaves were large and crispy and slightly sandy, which meant they'd be good as long as they had a good dressing. But the dressing was not good, it was a yellowy vinagrette. The fettucini was not good nor bad, just average, with a regular white sauce not entirely deserving of the title 'alfredo.' All in all, the meal was passable. Perhaps if our service had been good, we would have appreciated it. But it needed to be accompanied by good service.
I will say this: once the drinks finally came, my lemonade was DE-li-cious!
When we went to pay the bill, my friend said we should absolutely not tip the girl - we even had to collect our own check! So my other friend went in and a minute later came out giggling so hard - sure enough, she said, the waitress had been flirting over the espresso machine with the busboy. A few minutes later, I went in to take our payment, and there she was again, chatting it up with the busboy.
As we walked away, we figured the waitress might be smarter than we figured: she might not get tipped but at the rate she's going, she'll have a husband soon enough and he'll just pay her bills for her.