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El Embajador, JP..Octopus in Hell


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El Embajador, JP..Octopus in Hell

galleygirl | Jun 18, 2003 09:13 PM

Never have my chow-instincts been so far in the wrong...
I set off on a rainy, damp, gloomy day, intent on elevating my mood and blowing my diet in the quest for something South or Central American in JP...Cruised by Tacos El Charro, looked too much like a real restaurant, save it for dinner...Cruised to the new Venezuelan place, in Sagla's old spot (mentioned by a poster here a coupla weeks ago), all set to get a fish empanada...But wait!!!!

I saw chow-gold, almost next door...A cheesy plastic sign with a lobster that said, "Mariscos", and Comida Criolla..Also the name, El Embajador..The door was open to the street...This had all the signs that set me drooling, heavy vinyl tablecloths, winking Christmas tree lights, a heated case with mysterious fried things....The folks spoke less English that Cafe Miami. But the menu!!!
Stewed Octopus, Squid with Rice, Sea Conch Salad....Really, I was a-twitter, I think I changed my mind three times.... The prices weren't cheap, ($15 for octopus, $10 for Arroz con calamares), but a Haitian restaurant that specilaizes in seafood? Hey, set me up....

I should have noticed that the Octopus Salad in the case was devoid of all tentacles or color, I should have wondered, why were there no piscine treats in the showcase? But I wanted to believe...

I went for the Stewed Octo with rice...Yellow rice, even..I settled down to check out a menu, (after the fact) saw that there seemed to be fried plates (not necessarily fried to order) that included bacalhao, but that was the only fish, as a special....Hey, but I went for the good stuff, ordered something off the *real* menu...

As I surveyed the scene, I noticed stacks of Goya cartons along one wall, including one that held 8 gallon jugs of Goya marinade..I am NOT making this up..I started getting a sinking feeling in the pit of my stomach..My cheerful waitress arrived, with a plate of yellow rice and pigeon peas (few and far between) that could have served a family of three...And a huge bowl of what looked like tomato sauce, full of those same, bald, colorless chunks of octopus, with a few green peppers and green olives (pitted)....Oh man. The octopus was as chewy as one of my worst experimental results, clearly cooked way in advance, reheated in the Goya tomato sauce, with a few olives from a can thrown on top...The rice had no discernable flavor of any kind.

I have to say, this tops all as my worst meal ever..I have failed you, oh fellow hounds, I followed my nose and took one for the team...El Embajador, Washington Street, JP...I sacrificed my only Wednesday lunch, so that you might live.

P.S. To top it all off, when I tried to floss the chewy octopus from between my teeth, I lost a temporary crown....

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