Monday, January 28, 2008

A what?- How about F-Avari

Couple weeks ago, I ate dinner at Avari Deli & Bistro in Blue Ash after volunteering. That day had especially been a hectic at work. I had a big lunch that morning so instead of going home to prepare a meal, I decided to try Avari. It was an experience.

The front end of the restaurant has a deli shop appeal, hence the name. Creamy salads and deli meats are displayed next to the cash register. One side of the entrance holds perishable canned kosher foods, and the other side had a refrigerator with kosher deli products, eggs and meat. I asked the young man at the register about ordering and was informed I could eat at the restaurant or order take out; I chose to eat at the place. He forgot to leave out a minor detail that I'll get to at the end. I read the large menu behind the counter and went with Low Carb Green salad with an addition of egg salad, for a dollar extra. He informed me they didn’t have egg salad because they were out of eggs. Hmm, Okay. I asked to try the Chicken salad, which was laden with mayonnaise. I don’t really care for those and asked to try the Tuna salad, and he said “it’s the same. The Chef adds a lot of mayonnaise to all the creamy salads.” Strike 1. He was implying the chef didn’t know what he was doing, and I wondered why any knowledgeable person that’s been in the restaurant business for 2 days would belittle the chef and the food? I ordered the chicken salad with my Low Carb salad anyway.

When I sat down, I noticed one other table was taken by a Rabbi and his teenage son. The young man that had taken my order and the restaurant’s chef/owner were conversing with the Rabbi. I presume they are friends or family. As I looked around, the wall d├ęcor was half done. The decorations that were up looked marvelous but I think they either ran out of money or gave up half way after starting; there were patches of unpainted plaster, not exactly appealing to the eye.

While I waited for my food, all of 25 minutes for a green salad, I was flabbergasted when I overheard the Rabbi’s phone conversation. He spoke of removing evolutionism theory from schools, especially from the school he was planning to fund because creationism was the “accurate version" to teach the children. All this while the owner looked on. I was very put off by this because as an owner of the restaurant he did not tell the Rabbi, a patron- friend , to mind his manners. Strike 2. And as a respectable patron, the Rabbi 1) should not discuss his personal views on such issues loud enough for others to hear and 2) should have public manners. I found the whole thing to be rude and offensive. Unacceptable.

Seeing that the entire restaurant was empty, except for one other table, I was surprised my food took a long time to prepare. It eventually arrived and it was disappointing and tasteless. The salad consisted of roughly chopped lettuce, onions on one side, mushrooms and tomatoes on the other, with a big blob of chicken salad on top. I ordered a Caesar dressing on the side that tasted nothing like a good Caesar dressing. Strike 3. Usually restaurants that have bad or slow service make up for it in food.

The restaurant had made enough errors for the night, it couldn’t have gotten worse, but it did. I finished my dinner and walked up to pay for my food. My total was $7.90; I thought to myself if the salad was $4.99 + chicken salad, $1.00, with tax included it should be around $6.50. I asked why it was $7.90 and he said, Avari charges $1.00 extra for eating at the restaurant. When I inquired about ordering, he failed to mention that minor detail. I haven't been living under the rock the past few years or have I? When did restaurants start charging for eating in? Restaurants should love patrons and encourage them eating in for tips and to prove their good service. Clearly that wasn’t the case for Avari. It’s not the $1.00 that bothers me, it’s the principle of charging patrons for choosing to eat at the restaurant I disagree with. Strike Out completely. F

Avari scored low in the food as well as the service. Maybe it was the salad, but I don't care to go back to find out. It’s not worth my money to order and wait for a salad that tastes okay and get charged unnecessarily. I rarely give restaurants a low rating, however Avari missed all the marks. It is in prime location and I hope a better restaurant with good food and service replaces this one, soon.


valereee said...

I've never tried Avari, although it is within walking distance of my house. It's open odd hours, and I'm not sure I've ever talked to anyone who has eaten there.

CityKin said...

A dollar to sit at a table! Never seen that before.

Julie said...

It's fairly common in France for food to be more expensive if you eat in than when you take out. That having been said, last I checked, Blue Ash wasn't France. I heard they have good chicken soup there, so I'm sad to hear that their service sucks.

And I'll bet I know who that Rabbi is. UGH.

liberal foodie said...

Val- I didn't know anyone that had eaten there either. I wanted to try it just for that reason. Now I know why no one's been there....

Citykin- outrageous, right? I was shocked.

Julie- I'll pass the chicken soup recommendation to someone that wants to try it. I sure won't, one bad experience is plenty enough; and I believe in giving restaurants 2 tries.