Restaurants & Bars 42

Wegman's--Not impressed

EHB | Oct 3, 2004 04:08 PM

Being a city dweller and having heard so much about THE STORE in Sterling, my wife and I decided to stop in after a trip to West Virginia. Excuse me, but what's the fuss? The food bar (steam table) looked more like chicken 10 different ways. I'd much rather spend my money in a good ethnic restaurant. The prepared foods didn't send me at all: The guacamole looked like green axle grease, the olive selection was hardly a selection at all and I wondered, Why eight different flavors of hummus, when all of them look over-processed and unappetizing?
I was thoroughly underwhelmed when nobody at the meat counter knew where the pork came from, a fatal lapse--as far as I'm concerned--in a day when there are vast differences between that flavorless "lean generation" stuff and the wonderful pork provided by outfits such as Niman Ranch, as featured at Whole Foods, which will gladly give you a brochure on the subject should you inquire. The seafood display, while long and wide, did not have that glistening look of freshness that I expect from a first-rate purveyor, even on a Sunday.
Likewise, I found the ethnic sections paltry: You can find more "Mexican" goods at Shoppers Food warehouse, although I was heartened by a selection of dried Spanish legumes packaged in cloth bags, and a selection of Indian dal and spices. I was wowed at first by a huge selection of bulk candy, but then found that key items such as licorice twists were stale. Likewise, there's not much to the bulk dried foods (more at Whole Foods); produce had a great display of large cauliflower (white and purple) from Canada, but otherwise, it was nothing to compare with, say, the Super H in Fairfax.
Then at the checkout a shopper inadvertantly knocked a flimsy wine display, which sent at least a half-dozen bottles cascading to the floor and breaking. Our checkout person remarked that it smelled so good, she was tempted to lick it off the floor, a rather gruesome image that didn't improve my opinion of the store.
What does shine at Wegman's is the incredible selection of cheeses, but then you have to deal with a staff that needs some polishing. One of our attendants was chewing food and running her hands through her hair behind the counter while she instructed an obvious novice in the fine points of cutting, wrapping and pricing our cheese, which took quite a long time.
Altogether, I would rate Wegman's worth a stop if you are in the neighborhood, but if you have a Whole Foods nearby and a basic knowledge of area ethnic markets, there's little reason to make a trip there.

Want to stay up to date with this post?

Recommended From Chowhound