Review for: Kali's Mezze
Kali's Mezze is a tapas restaurant in Fell's Point. They focus on Greek and Mediterranean style foods, and I must say they perform it quite well. If you recognize the name Kali and are wondering if they have any relation to Kali's Court... you are correct. Both restaurant's (and nearby Meli) are owned by the same person, and all of them are very popular.
Now Nathan and I have ventured to Mezze several times, both together and separate. We have been there in small parties, and we have always been completely satisfied. So of course, when a special occasion came about in our family, Nathan and I both gladly recommended it. Our intent was to have a party of six, on a Friday night, for 8:00 pm.
We properly planned ahead and called and made a reservation on Tuesday of that week. A call back was even made to verify, since the restaurant seemed to be having problems with the phone line that day. After the call back to confirm the reservation, we felt safe, and very excited to go to a place that the rest of our family had not experienced before.
Friday night came, we showed up promptly at 8:00 pm... only to be told that they had no record of our reservation. They did have two other parties of six at 8:00 pm. Nathan and I were not happy at all, especially since we had been talking the place up all week. The matra'dee recognized us as regulars, and asked us to wait a moment to see what he could do for us. He came back about 10 mins later to tell us he could possibly seat us in 30 mins. We figured it was our best hope for a Friday night, for a party of six that apparently now had no reservation. So we waited outside, and observed the patrons of Fell's Point. Luckily the weather was comfortable, and we always seem to have lots to talk about in our family.
After the matra'dee had notified us of our wait, he turned his attention to the other party of 6 that their reservation had luckily made its way into their books. He advised them it would only be a few more moments, and they would be seated shortly.
At 8:35 pm the floor manager approached us, and said he only had a table on the first floor that typically fits four. I didn't realize that part of the tapas experience was not only sharing small plates... but also sharing small spaces! We unhappily accepted the offer, assuming that it was the best we were going to get. After we had all squeezed in, and were waiting for the waiter to approach us, I noticed the other party of 6 that had a reservation was finally seated at 8:40 pm.
Our waiter finally arrived 10 mins later, and added two extra place settings for us. He asked us what we would like to drink, and Nathan and I quickly chorused red Sangria, which has become our go to drink at Mezze. The rest of our table asked if they offered ice tea, after not seeing it on the menu. The waiter informed them they did have un-sweetened ice tea, and 4 glasses were ordered.
We perused the menu, giving our input of what was good to the rest of the party. Once the waiter returned with our drinks, we ordered our first round of food. The lentil soup, zucchini fritters, asparagus, chicken kabobs, tabboule, chilled beets, and the roasted salmon.
The waiter than returned with fresh complimentary pita along with the chilled beets. They were very good. They were fresh, cool, and drizzled with feta, walnuts and honey.
Second came the tabboule, lentil soup, asparagus, salmon and zucchini fritters. We than ordered falafel, two orders of braised beef, and the the beef and lamb meatballs. We also reminded the waiter that we still had not received the chicken kabobs my sister-in-law had ordered. He said it would only be 5 more mins, as they take longer to make.
Nathan loves the tabboule there, and says every time it tastes fresh and wonderful. My mother-in-law was the recipient of the lentil soup, and said it was flavorful and one of the best that she had had. The zucchini fritters are a favorite of mine, and the rest of our party enjoyed them as well.
The waiter than returned to see who needed refills, and all the ice- teas were topped off. Once the drinks were taken care of, the rest of the food we ordered came in one right after another, except the chicken kabobs......
The asparagus was very good, and the braised beef exceptional. It was cooked medium rare and fell apart as you put it in your mouth. The salmon had a very strong taste, but I love salmon so I enjoyed it. My husband on the other hand, turned up his nose and reached for more tabboule. The meatballs are always a favorite of Nathan and I, and were immediately scarfed down by the whole table.
Once most of the dishes were consumed, drinks re-filled a third time, the waiter came and asked if we wanted dessert. We than pointed out that my poor sister-in-law had not received her chicken kabobs yet, and that it had been 45 mins. He told us not to worry, that he would make sure they would be right out.
While we were waiting for our last dish, one of the kitchen help dropped a plate, and it shattered all over the dinning room floor. The staff immediately picked up the large fragments, and kicked the rest of it under the stairs. I was appalled, seeing I was wearing sandals, and so were several other patrons. Luckily my loving and concerned husband Nathan, kindly picked up glass that had landed under our table.
A few minutes later the waiter returned with the infamous chicken kabobs. It had now been a full hour, for only two sticks with chicken cubes and onions. I don't know how they cook it, but it must be a slow method...very slow. The waiter had no apologies for the lateness, but refilled all the ice-teas.
The chicken kabobs were eaten, and we decided not to risk dessert, in fear we would be there another hour. We than asked for the check. After reviewing the bill, we saw there was zero compensation on Mezze's part for our loss of reservation and wait. Also to our shock each refill of ice tea was charged for. To be honest I was quite livid, seeing the waiter never informed us and we hadn't seen it on the menu.
Also he kept happily refilling them when they weren't even finished, and didn't even give us clean new glasses. The ice-tea count came up to 4 refills, for 4 people. (yikes!) As if this wasn't enough, at one point the waiter took away all the glasses and brought them back... putting them in front of the wrong people. So now we are sharing more then small plates and small places... we are sharing glasses as well.
My father-in-law who so graciously offered to pay for everything, pointed the ice-tea situation out to the waiter, who simply responded. "Is that going to be a problem?". My humble father-in-law kindly replied no, but if I had of known, I would have ordered water. Once again I was embarrassed at the performance of Mezze, after we had talked it up all week.
Recognizing the debacle it took to get us seated, and delay of food on the table, I decided to not subject my family to pictures. (Which I apologize dearly for.)
My summary of Mezze that I wish to pass along is the following: The food is always excellent and the staff is usually pretty attentive. Tonight must have been the exception for the staff. Never go there with a party over four people. If I was evaluating the food only then Mezze would get top stars in my book. However after the experience we had (and the embarrassment) it left a bad taste in my mouth. We want to love you Mezze and we still do... but only for parties of two
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About Kali's MezzeNeighborhod: Fells Point
1606 Thames St
Baltimore, MD 21231 (410) 563-7600