Friday, October 14, 2011

The Good, The Bad & The Worst Meal Ever!!

We just returned from a brief vacation in Curacao. It was an interesting island. At the end, L observed "Culinarly, Curacao is in junior high." I would say "stuck in the '70s." But you get the point.

There were a few highlights: the goat stew at Jaanchie's, the banana soup offered everywhere, and the very memorable lunch we had at Perla del Mar, a beautiful restaurant where sat on a deck with waves crashing below. (And La Carretta, the cuban place at the Miami airport was the best food of the entire trip!)

And then there was the worst. meal. ever.

We were in Curacao to celebrate our anniversary (six years of wedded bliss!) I arranged for a sitter for Saturday night. As usual, I spent alot of time and energy trying to find the right place. I settled on Bistro Le Clochard.

It got off to a good start. We were seated in a corner table on the deck, overlooking the ocean. It was dark and the water was pitch-black. The whole scene was very romantic. And at first glance, the restaurant was perfect. A memorable feast was sure to be imminent. But the first clue that things might not be what they seemed was the cocktail list. The drinks listed were things like a "side car," "yellow bird" (a drink w/ rum & galliano), an "old fashioned." Does anyone under 70 still drink these drinks?. Occasionally, a restaurant will have some old school cocktails and it's cool. It's done as a nod to the "Mad Men" era. But this was not done with a wink or a nod. It was clear to me that they had simply never updated their cocktail list.

And so we ordered an expensive bottle of champagne and some appetizers. The apps were good, but not great. Kind of weird. Rock lobster on a bed of kidney beans and escargot served with sauerkraut. For my entree, I was very excited about getting the Dover sole. Lee was equally exicted to try the veal goulash. But when we ordered, our waitress told us that neither were available. She then convinced us to try "La Potence" which she described as pieces of beef served on flaming hot skewers with several "delicious" dipping sauces. Because of the flame, this dish could only be served inside, but she promised to save our table outside for us to return to for dessert. The cost of this entree? $34 per person.

We fell for it.

Inside we went. And, in the light, the restaurant looked as outdated as the cocktail list. Fake ferns adorned the shelves and windowsills. The seat cushions were stained and frayed. the piano player doing a muzak version of Metallica was odd and cheesy. It was all sort of comical, actually.

But we went with it. I felt like I was in a 1970s made-for-tv movie or perhaps, an episode of the "Love Boat." Then they brought out the stupid meat. Yes, it was beef on skewers and yes, they set it aflame. But she neglected to mention the hotdogs on it. Yes, there were dipping sauces but they were far from delicious. No, the dipping sauces were ketchup, tartar sauce, thousand island dressing, and honey mustard. $34 per person? You have to be kidding me. (And just where were the 1970s prices? That was one area they managed to update.)

For some reason, I don't know why, maybe it was because we were in a time warp, we ate the stupid thing. We should have sent it back. However, when the waitress returned, I did not mince my words. I let her know exactly what I thought of that ridiculous meal. Did she offer a complimentary dessert? Did she comp any portion of the meal? No, she did not. When the $300+ bill arrived, my head exploded and everyone in the restaurant witnessed it.

L said we've had alot of hits and were bound to have a miss. This was surely a miss.


  1. Note to self: must document cuisine on Costa Rica trip. :)

  2. Bistro Le Clochard is a top tier restaurant frequented by many well traveled locals and visitors alike. Your experience seems to be a one-off and would not be reflective of 99.9% of their guests.