Thursday, November 1, 2012

The Tin Front Cafe

A week or two ago, one of my co-workers kindly gave me her about-to-expire Groupon to a vegetarian restaurant near me called The Tin Front Cafe.  She moved to another area of the city and the place wasn't quite so convenient for her anymore so, score for me! It's located in Homestead, PA which is just a hop and skip from my house, and I was super excited to find a veggie restaurant so close to us! 

When you first walk in, it's a cute, cozy looking little place with an outdoor patio in the back. They also have a full bar in the front of the restaurant if you just want to chill and have a beer (also they had a great variety of bottled beer available which was nice). My husband and I tried to sit outside at first but it was so, so, so cold we immediately moved back indoors. They had a DJ set up playing music, he was nice and grabbed our drink order quickly. I have to admit, the menu was impressive, I wanted to literately order everything I saw on the menu and had -the- hardest time settling on an order. We decided on the baked brie for an appetizer, I ordered the ratatouille over polenta with sauteed spinach and Mike ordered their seasonal risotto stuffed into a portobella mushroom that also came with sauteed spinach. Both meals came with a side salad to start.  I was really jazzed about the restaurant thinking I'd love to come back since it's so near our home and they have great vegetarian offerings. 

Unfortunately, I don't think there's any way my husband or I will be setting foot back in that place. 
We were having pleasant conversation at first, but as time went on, and on, we began to wonder where in the heck our appetizer was!! Checking the time, 25 minutes had passed since we had placed our order, and no one had checked on us. Our server/DJ man was literately 10 feet from us and was too involved in his music to even ask if we were doing okay. 

Looking around, we noticed a really, really bizarre pattern to how food came out. It would go table by table and they would literately get all of their food within a matter of 20 minutes, like they'd get their appetizer and then the salad would come before they were done with the appetizer, entree showing up right after that so their table was laden with food. Who's idiotic idea was that? It would literately go table by table in this progression. 

I was pretty famished at this point and progressively becoming cranky, so it was also really irritating to see food come up at the window to the kitchen, and watch the waitresses ignore the food, moving to pick up the dishes maybe 5-10 minutes later.  I was also unhappy to see that when a family of 6 came in around 20 minutes after us and also ordered the baked brie, yet they were served theirs immediately. 

So anyways, we got our appetizer 30 minutes later (after it had hung out in the window for 5-10 minutes). The waitress offered a "sorry about that" and went off to go hide somewhere. 

It was baked brie with a scoop of cooked apples on top. I think this dish had the potential to be delicious, but it was so cold the brie had re-hardened in the dish. 

About 2-3 minutes into our appetizer our salads showed up. Which, to be fair, were absolutely delicious. The salad mix was leafy green, fresh, and the vinaigrette was wonderful! I was pretty hungry so I accidentally housed that down before taking a picture- whoops! 

Around 5-10 minutes into our salad, our entrees came! (Someone really needs to learn how to rotate food prep for tables) 

Mike said his risotto was pretty good, I tasted it and it was pretty darn good though it was lukewarm which was disappointing. 

I have to say, my ratatouille was epic. It was so flavorful, the perfect balance of veggies and garlic over a generous portion of polenta. The sauteed garlic was super yummy too, it was sauteed with garlic and had a spritz of lemon juice I think. Mine was nice and hot and I gobbled it right up! I actually couldn't even finish the dish because the portions were so big! 

So in a nutshell, the food was AWESOME! I was so pleased with the quality and quantity provided, but the service was absolutely atrocious. I'm in no way high maintenance but when I have to wait 30 minutes for food, I would like a server to at least come over and let me know the kitchen's behind and ask how I'm doing, not ignore me for half an hour. I would also like to not have to basically seek out the server to get my check, and again take it to the cash register and ask them to check me out so that I could get out of there in a decent amount of time. Oh and one more thing, when you have your restaurant patrons going to the DJ to ask them to turn their deafening music down, just ditch the DJ because it's ruining your ambiance. I would also like to point out that the DJ did not immediately comply and sat there giving the customer a ton of explanations over why the music was so loud!. 

I'm so disappointed because the food was truly amazing but there's no way I'm paying for such terrible service, it was, by a land slide, the worst restaurant experience I've ever had. I felt like I was on that show Kitchen Nightmares pre-Ramsay. 

Sorry for the let down review but I just want to forewarn others as to what to expect if they decide to go...