Friday, March 10, 2006

Ranoosh

We decided to go out for dinner tonight- and first thought we would check out the new South Park restaurant Vagabond. We figured we would just take a look at the menu and see if it looked fun- well we turned up there saw the menu and whilst it looks absolutely the perfect place for us to eat out- it was also fully booked with an hour and a half wait for a table.

So we headed to plan B- Ranoosh a Lebanese restaurant we had been planning on going to for a while. I should probably first explain about our first Lebanese experience- we were in London, spending a few days there with friends, i had never really visited London before and my wife was showing me the sites. Anyhow, we ended up one incredibly hot day wandering around hungry, thirsty, tired and in need of a place to rest our weary feet. We were i must confess at that moment in Knightsbridge- for those of you who don't know London, this is where Harrods’s is located. We had nipped down to Harrods just for the experience, and after declining the $700 caviar I was just exhausted and needed to find a place to eat right away- well a few doors down was a Lebanese restaurant- the prices looked high but we were at breaking point and anywhere at all that had food and water and chairs looked wonderful. We were taken to our table and after being seated were presented with a bowl of vegetables- to I suppose nibble on; in the bowl there was a whole pepper, a whole tomato, sticks of celery, carrots and all other manner of un-cut-up vegetables. My wife thought this was just wonderful, and although we could only afford to order a couple of appetizers to share, it remains one of our most memorable dining experiences. the place was truly from its roots with many Lebanese families celebrating there, old men sitting drinking tea and women gossiping whilst snacking on olives- all chattering away in a language quite foreign to our Germanic/Romantic ears.

Well Ranoosh- although located in the enviable district of 5th and university is not quite on par with Knightsbridge London. The first mistake was made by our waitress- we entered the restaurant and asked for a table for 2, the place was pretty much empty but for some unfathomable reason she decided to place us on a tiny little table right next to one of the only two other parties in the building- we were maybe a foot away, if that. This forced intimacy being not the greatest start was compounded further when we took a look at the menu- very pricey for Lebanese/ Mediterranean food. Still we sat put and our order was taken, with the option of a soup or salad to start. This made my spirits rise a little- I love long dinners where we can sit and chat whilst sipping on a nice glass of wine, so i looked forward to a long relaxing meal, celebrating the fact that it was Friday and planning ahead for the weekend. This was foolish to say the least; there was perhaps 30 seconds between the arrival of our soup and the arrival of our entree- barely time for me to declare that the Lentil soup was actually quite tasty and we should think about making some at home. My entree - chicken and garlic sauce was also pretty good, my wife got the vegetarian platter which looked impressive although none of the various Lebanese and Mediterranean samples where worth much of a mention- they were okay..
What really made the night uncomfortable was the appearance of a young, and i mean young, belly dancer. She could not have been more than 16 years old and there she was showing off her whatever, in a way which made you want to call child protection services. Worse than this were the male diners in the restaurant who were acting in a way which can be described in no other fashion than leering. All this served to make our meal rather distasteful and we left as hurriedly as we could- vowing next time not to stay from the Mediterranean grill when we fancy some hummus and baba gannosh.

All in all Rannosh is over priced, cramped, kind of tacky, with pretty good food that doesn't make up for its detracting factors- I doubt we will be returning any time soon.

2 comments:

c.galen said...

I admire your spirit of adventure. Last night my partner decided that we should eat out, at a local, very low-key, small Thai restaurant, where as likely as not you are sitting inches away from the chef. There was at least a half-hour wait (outside on the sidewalk of course), which would have been okay but for the cold wind and the fact that I had been on my feet all afternoon. So we went to another thai place, also a repeat. Let's go somewhere new I said. Where? I don't know. Well, I don't know either. And it was also a wait, but inside. By this time I was very hungy and ate too much which means I toss and turn at night. Let's hear it for a little bit of advance planning!

Anonymous said...

Rannoosh is aweful. First time in my life that i was so disatisfied with service that i had to stiff the waiter. For some good lebanese try mama's lebanese bakery off of El Cajon. You will not be dissapointed :)
~Liliya