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Does Madiba suck, or is it just me?


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Does Madiba suck, or is it just me?

Tom Philpott | May 13, 2002 02:30 PM

Can someone please explain the appeal of Madiba, Forte Greene's (and perhaps the city's only) South African restaurant?
A poster below, in the thread about A Table, just sung its praises, and I have friends who swear by it.
Yet both meals I've had there have been awful. The place looks great, in a ramshackle sort of way, and whenever I walk past it everyone seems to be having a great time. But the last time I went there:
1) The service was terrible; food came out of the kitchen in fits and starts for a party of three, with no explanation from the waiter. Drinks were forgotten and had to be ordered multiple times. And it wasn't even charming, silly-me bad service. I wouldn't say the guy exactly had attitude, but he showed no sign that forgetting drink orders and bringing food out cold and out of sequence was anything but standard procedure. He seemed to sense our discontent: He had the nerve to slap an 18 percent grat on the check, even though the menu states that only parties of at least five get that privilege. Oh yeah, and it wasn't that busy, just about half-full.
2) A just-ok jazz band blared right in the middle of the restaurant, for which we were informed (after having been seated, before the band started to play) that we would be charged a $10 cover. We managed to talk our way out of that one. It was so loud that we had to use sign language and facial expressions to commiserate about how ...
3) The food sucked. If it hadn't, all of the above would have been redeemed and forgiven. I remember a somosa dish that was sort of ok, but there was nothing else that anybody who cares about food would serve to guests at his or her own home. The worst offender was a charred, flavorless, and bone-dry slab of ribs that went for something like 16 bucks.
Have I just hit two bad nights, or what?

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