Archive for July, 2012

Southern BBQ should Head South with Service

I began my experience with Indigo Smoke over a year ago when I found the web site looking for places to eat in Montclair..alas, a southern bbq place with good reviews. I went to the address, and the restaurant was not there. Apparently it had moved to Bloomfield. So recently I saw a blog on Indigo Kitchen (new name) that it was ‘back in Montclair.’

I went last Friday with a couple of people, had reservations, and aside from trying to find a parking spot, the start of the dinner seemed fine. We all tried the sweet corn and crab soup, which was tasty and might have been just as good cold. There were nice bits of crab on the bottom, and the sweet corn was balanced with a little kick of heat, maybe red pepper.

We were told that they had a pastry chef who also made the mini corn muffins and biscuits that were brought out complimentary. I was getting excited for my baby back ribs, since everything thus far had nice flavor. This is a byob, so they offer on the menu a sangria mix of fruit and juice I presume. The waitress suggested we get a bottle of red wine next door and then we can order the mix. So we did. After returning with the wine, the waitress told us they are ‘out of sangria mix’!. Sadly, after waiting 40 minutes beyond the soups, the waitress tells me, “We are out of ribs but just have enough for your friend’s sampler platter – oh, and we’re out of the lamb sausage for the sampler.” It was Friday night at 8:00! How does a restaurant that promotes their ribs as a highlight not have any on a Friday night?? This is p*$$-poor management. I settled on the less-than exciting brisket. When my friends’ food came out, I tasted a rib, and it was quite delicious, packed with flavor, which made me more disappointed. Then, a heavenly light shone: the busboy had a plate of ribs; he was walking toward me and placed it down. My whole demeanor changed; my stomach did a little dance as I was about to pick one up, until…..the waitress came running, almost like a slow-motion film. “Nooooooo, those ribs belong to this table. Sorry.”

Flames from hell arose in my eyes, my insides. Why was I teased and tortured so? The girl sitting next to me wasn’t even happy to receive them because apparently the couple had been waiting for an hour for ribs and a burger. When her dining mate asked a man, “Are you the manager?” His answer was: “Kinda sorta”. That answer tells me – “No, I don’t know how to be a manager.” After listening to their complaints, the kinda-sorta manager apologized to us and asked how the food was. My reply: “It’s okay but not what I ordered.” His attempt at a resolution was: “Well, then there’s a reason to come back and try another dish.” My retort: “Or a reason not to.” He walked away awkwardly, and I thought I saw a limp tail tucked between his legs.

The waitress was very pleasant and trying to do her best to keep us/me from hating our experience. I really wanted to love this place – the atmosphere was trendy; the food had good flavor; but we were let down too many times and in a very unreasonable time frame. The waitress tried to sweeten us up with some house-made key lime pie, which was not too sweet and very light. I just don’t think it was enough to make us want to go back. Do I have to reserve an order of ribs in advance? The executive chef/owner needs to get his act together on ordering – there’s a reason this is his 5th (we were told) location – I don’t mean there are 4 others; I mean he’s moved the restaurant that many times! I wish them luck, but there were too many strikes to forgive. I’ll stick to Cubby’s in Hackensack, NJ for now for a rib craving.