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Cobras y Matadors: Dining politics?


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Cobras y Matadors: Dining politics?

Steven Tran | Aug 9, 2004 12:48 AM

Tonight was a most bizarre dining experience indeed. I went to the Cobras y Matadors in Los Feliz after being a somewhat frequent patron of its sister restaurant in West Hollywood. After tonight, I will only return to the one in West Hollywood.

First off, the food was so-so at best. Admittedly, there are many other entrees on the menu yet to be tested. I had the lentils with Serrano ham (almost like fried lentils), cornish hen, fried calamari, and flatbread with vegetables and cheese (tonight's special). All in all, I found the food to be quite heavy and overly seasoned. Of the four plates, the fried calamari was the best. The hen was the least pleasing - slightly sour (it was in some sort of fruit-based sauce) and very greasy. The pan fried lentils were also quite greasy. The flatbread was OK, however, nothing noteworthy. The dessert, on the other hand, was quite good; we got the churros y chocolate.

Although I had been previously warned that service was horrible, I decided to give this restaurant a try anyway. (I always want to give new restaurants the benefit of the doubt.) Unfortunately, after tonight's experience, I'll have to concur with my friends. As a general matter, I don't like dining at places where to get anything (a drink refill or a utensil or dessert or the bill), you always have to flag down the server to make it happen. It gets tiring after a while (not to mention the neck cramps from trying to get someone's attention). And tonight because the server was so "busy" it usually took a few attempts before we got his/her attention. The server would zoom by us, looking straight ahead, as if on a life-saving mission to refill everyone's glasses of water (actually only one table's water was refilled). After a while, I would be thankful if anyone stopped to talk to me. There was one busboy(?) who was quite attentive. Thanks to him we were able to get out of the restaurant under two and a half hours (without any seating wait time). (!!!)

… on to the bizarre part of the evening …

The bizarre part of the night was that we got involved in some intra-restaurant politics where clearly some servers/busboys/etc. did not like each other. One restaurant worker spoke disparagingly of another. A manager came over to my table only to make me feel bad about commenting (and partially complaining) about the service. I felt like I was in a reality show where either the servers were going to drop their trays start fighting, or the servers were Simon from American Idol and I, like my SO, didn’t make the cut. If any of the networks are looking for a new fall reality show, this restaurant is it.

While the other items on the menu look tempting, I don't think that I can handle the dining "stress" of the Los Feliz branch. It’s too bad. I was hoping to be a neighborhood regular.

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