Wednesday, January 17, 2007

Dining critic candidate No. 9

Something has changed at Salsa Brava in Rockrimmon!

What Happened!! How could things have changed so much in a short period of time at the Rockrimmon Salsa Brava?

It was early on a cold snow-crunching Friday evening – about 5 o’clock - with snow piled high everywhere in the neighborhood center on the corner of Rockrimmon Blvd. and Vindicator. Bobbie, our granddaughter and I decided it was a perfect time for a tasty Mexican dinner before going home for the night. We had been to Black Forest to pick-up Camryn from school and then to Wal-Mart; wanting no adventures on the crowed slick roads, decided to stop by Salsa Brava which is less than a half-mile from our home.

With very few customers there that early, we were seated in a booth just outside the kitchen. Maybe that is where customers with a 7-year old get situated. Within almost seconds, even before our coats were off and settled into our cozy spot, warm crunchy chips with two kinds of dipping salsa arrived. Next came a bouncy server, who was likely a local high school student, with menus featuring a full array of traditional Mexican entrees.

That was the highlight of our next 45 minutes. My wife ordered a standard cheese enchilada with rice and beans. Camryn decided on her favorite, a cheese quesadilla and I selected my favorite, the chili relleno entrée. I had thoroughly enjoyed Salsa Brava’s relleno dinner several months earlier.

Then the noticeable change at Salsa Brava began. As there were only few diners, the servers all gathered just inside the kitchen door, a few feet away from our booth. None of them was over 18 and the laughing and frivolity began. After 10 minutes, the noise became annoying. Even the hostess from the front door came and joined in. Finally, someone requested a table for eight be set-up in the area close to our booth. You would have thought the cavalry was riding through the restaurant as the banging and noise was past the annoying stage.

By then the chips and salsa was gone. We set the dishes to the side of our table, the traditional signal for requesting a refill, while we waited for our food. Our bouncy server was nowhere in sight. Finally, after the backroom gabfest was finished, we got the attention of a table-cleaner, requesting a chip refill.

Hola! Our food finally arrived, hot and smelling delicious. My plate had black beans. Bobbie’s plate had traditional frijoles. I love black beans, but how did they know. So does my wife, instead she got the traditional pasty pinto beans. I was more than ready for that first taste of the succulent spicy chili with warm oozing cheese. YUK! What happened? The first taste was like chewing on soft cardboard. Where was the fluffy exterior enveloping the green chili? Where was soft jack cheese? Where is the delicate green chili taste, just strong enough to keep the green chili sauce on top of the concoction from being overpowering?

What a disappointment! Only the small amount of green salad on the plate kept the meal from being a complete disaster. The greens were crisp and sprinkled with a tangy vingarette. However, the yellow cheese, probably cheddar, inside the green chili was stringy and tough. The green chili flavor was undistinguishable. The rice was a pasty white. The plate looked as if it was heated in a microwave as the beans spread over half the plate. Oh, I did enjoy the black beans.

We finished eating in less than 30 minutes after the food arrived. Much to our chagrin, our server has been assigned to the table of eight. Guess where her attention went? We finally got her attention and asked for two boxes and the check. “I’ll be right back.” No surprise! Ten minutes later here came the check, but no boxes. “I’ll be right back.” Five minutes later, here came the two boxes with a bouncy smile, trying to ensure a tip would be forthcoming.

What happened to the previous cook? What happened to the experienced servers? What has happened to the Rockrimmon Salsa Brava? Has that entire experienced staff gone to their newest eatery in Briargate? Someone should monitor the Rockrimmon store before local customers begin to seek out another good Mexican spot.


Anonymous Anonymous said...

Readers don't care about Bobbie, r Camryn, or going to Wal-Mart and Blackforest. Stick to the review of the restaurant.

3:34 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Friggin' psycho. Never want to read anything from this person again.

3:01 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Who's the psycho, the critic or the one who left the comment?

I will say that some of my favorite critics write about things other than food n the review and make it work.

11:44 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

This seems more like a complaint letter than a review. But I have been there, when good restaurants go bad.

6:05 PM  
Anonymous Submission Reviewer said...

Reasonable food detail, but nothing to assist in choosing a dish. The writers bias tainted every piece of the review until all information was replaced with commentary, and the personal details were as numerous as the restaurant details. A review should focus on food, atmosphere, pricing (none listed), and other intangibles that assist the reader in making their own choices instead of bouncy High-School students.

8:56 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

This reviewer probably told the person in front of her in line at Wal-Mart about her grandchildren. They didn't care either.

6:34 PM  
Blogger Warren Epstein said...

FYI. "submission reviewer" is not associated with the Gazette.

10:39 AM  

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