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Baraka-what-the-****? an excessively long rant

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Baraka-what-the-****? an excessively long rant

Matt | Jul 31, 2003 03:57 AM

First: I'll admit that the food was indeed quite good, although the chef's decidedly heavy hand with the salt sprinkling was more reminiscent of the sort of spreading that one sees either pre-bout sumo wrestlers perform or just after a big Nor'easter hits Boston. Even so, the tagines were tasty, and nobody's done anything quite so imaginative with dates in a while--cheese, smoked meats and deep-frying can elevate even a lowly fruit mainly reserved for the painfully constipated to reasonably rarified culinary heights. Second: as a professed wino rarely impressed with wine-lists, Baraka has an interesting and reasonably priced offering. That said, (of course, the other shoe must drop on this final chapter of an unending portero-hill monopoly), the service was remarkably “European”. The charming lilt of the waiters did help somewhat to conceal that they managed to appear busy while accomplishing virtually nothing in the bustling, cramped dining room, but after failing to fetch a simple glass of water after several polite (and several more brusque) requests, the ubiquitous and mostly useless red-shirts would’ve raised the hackles of even the most complacent Ferdinand-the-bull normally content to smell the flowers. And perhaps smell the flowers you should, for wait you shall after being suckered in by management with platitudes of a short wait for a table. And unless you raise a gallic-stink about being strung-along and shoved into an anchovy-tight corridor with fruit-punch flavored sangria (with a Capri-Sun like octane level) in your hand, you could, like we were, stand there for well over an hour waiting for the staff to realize that there’s been a four-top standing empty up front all along. And because comping, or apparently apologizing, is distinctly un-European, expect neither when you, at long last, reach your table—but do expect to be ignored if you’re not ordering a bottle of wine or Badoit…because that’s distinctly European. And glazed, quizzical looks should you take exception to any of this, needless to say, come free of charge. The horrifying service at Baraka is on par with that of the sort of awful coastal al-fresco tourist dives frequented by sun-burnt Germans and emotionally pubescent American jackasses, although at least across the pond, the handheld credit-card reader ensures a reasonably quick transaction once you manage to flag an attitudinally challenged waiter—here, the bar-tender couldn’t be bothered with reaching across the counter to swipe a credit-card at the kitchen terminal just as the management, it seems, couldn’t be bothered with installing a terminal at the bar where it might actually do some good. It’s my understanding that the Moroccan travel bureau has filed a Cease & Desist order against Baraka for it’s hand in portraying Morroco as being populated by lazy, red-swathed buffoons. In the meantime, I’ve got my own C&D against Baraka. Never again.

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