Friday, July 21, 2006

Mister Tiki

Much as the Cohn restaurant group did us proud on Sunday night, we were utterly let down down at Mister Tiki last night. I had sworn to myself that I would start taking more food photos for the blog- but even after taking my camera along I have to say there was just nothing worth photographing.
I should have realized Mr. Tiki was a bad idea when I called to make reservations, after being put on hold for several minutes my call was eventually dropped. It really bothers me when I am put on hold making reservations- the whole thing should take about 30 seconds, and there should be someone there dedicated to providing this service.
So, we arrived at the restaurant, its in the heart of Gaslamp, which I am starting to think is just not a good thing (Read over priced, pretentious, too crowded) and was absolutely packed to the brim- possibly due to the comic book convention, or maybe just that is what it is always like in the summer.
We were greeted by a very odd waiter who had his little 'line' about tiki carvings, and told us that every single thing on the menu is absolutely amazing- not exactly the most helpful advice.
There being 4 of us we decided to go for the 80 oz pitcher- which the menu told us was perfect for four or more people. It sounded very exotic and so at this point we had high hopes.
After probably about 15 minutes we finally saw our waiter again who came over to tell us something about running out of pitchers, and using carafes instead and I don't know what else. A few more minutes later and he did arrive with the drink. It was 75% crushed ice- certainly far from 80 oz of liquid and tasted largely of fruity water. Not good.
At this point we also decided to order a couple of appertizers- some edamame and some goat cheese and shitake wontons. These didn't take quite as long to appear as the drinks, but none the less they were slow in appearing. I wouldn't have minded waiting if there hadn't been obnoxious repetitive music blaring in my ears, causing every person in the place to shout in order to increase the possibility that they may just be heard. This is a restaurant/lounge not a night club.
The edamame were edamame and very good, the wontons were also excellent, although the cheese spilled out very easily burning the hands of two of our party. At this point we ordered entrees, we were not exactly sure how the menu worked and our waiter had not been particuarly helpful- perhaps we should have just ordered a ton of appertizers and shared- there were certainly not many entree choices. Nonetheless being pretty unaware we went for the entree choice- I got a Szechuan Beef dish, my wife got a Lo mein dish with tofu and our friends took the pineapple glazed short ribs and a sushi platter.
At some random time after this our friends Miso soup arrived, which she had actually asked to be brought out along with the entrees, she said it was okay. A long wait later and our entrees came, well three of the entrees came, the sushi was no where to be seen. My wife took one bite, found the food the most boring bland dish she had tasted in a long while and pretty much decided just not to eat much more. My dish was okay, certainly nothing special- in fact I much preferred my 5.95 Amarin Thai lunch special than this $18 dish that lacked presentation, originality, an indeed any thing that could cause it to be valued at this price. The short ribs came with Wasabi potatoes, which were delicious, they were certainly the highlight of the evening. In all this time the sushi had still not arrived, we had all dug into our dishes imagining it to be not far behind, but sadly it was and most of us had finished before it finally made its appearance.
I could go n about this experience, but I think you get the picture, nothing very good to report, the service was just horrible, the place is clearly understaffed and if they want to serve that many tables they need to start employing some new wait staff and, it would appear, someone in the kitchen also.

Big thumbs down to Mister Tiki, save your money and go elsewhere.


Anonymous said...

Bummer. Sounds horrible. I am not going to try and make excuses for the place - it sounds typical of the Gaslamp actually. However, it almost certainly was worse due to Comicon. I have been to many conventions (San Diego and elsewhere) and I can say that this is typical. I am not sure why it is so difficult, but virtually every restaurant seems completely and utterly overwhelmed on the first day of a convention. It is so bizarre to me that restaurants located within in walking distance of a major convention center can't figure out when 20000 people are going to walk by. But they can't. Every convention I have gone to I assume that the finding food the first day will be a nightmare (running out of food, under-staffed, 2 hour waits, etc.). So again, not excusing the food or experience in any way, but I think the 20th was the first day of the convention and your experience pretty much parallels mine in several different cities. It really boggles the mind that none of these places can figure out the convention schedule and have more food and staff on hand - it must happen to these places 20 times a year.

Anonymous said...

Mr Tiki is one of my Wife's and Her Girlfriends' favorite places. I've yet to visit, probably because it's a Cohn restaurant. But I'm pretty sure that I'll have to soon......

Anonymous said...

Yuk. My sister got food poisoning from the mussels there. Never again!