Review for: The Parkside Fine Foods & Spirits
I really can't express how disappointed I am in the Parkside. We were so excited when it opened within walking distance of our house but a couple of visits made it pretty apparent that it was not going to be a regular spot for us. The first time I went for lunch I got a dry, uninspired sandwich. Both the turkey and the bread was dried out and the olive spread was bitter. The staff didn't know the menu or how to work the register. However, it was the first week they served lunch so I gave them a pass. Then we went to dinner and I realized that it was just part of a larger issue.
We should have left after walking into the half empty restaurant and the staff stared at us in a strange, hostile manner or when we were seated at a table that wasn't level, despite there being 4 seemingly level tables for 2 open but we were hungry and not up to driving across town for dinner.
I ordered the gumbo (which the menu warned had no okra because it wasn't in season-so why have it on the menu? not to mention that nothing else on the menu was especially seasonal) and received a bowl of soft, mushy rice in a thin broth with teeny bits of shredded chicken and tiny wedges of sausage. I thought there was onions but not sure if there were peppers or celery, which is troubling in a gumbo. I had never seen gumbo served all stirred together like that. Normally it is a mixture of seafood, meat and some vegetables served over rice, not a thin soup.
After just a few mushy bites I bit into something hard. Really hard, it felt like a rock and clanked against my teeth. I couldn't find our waitress so I flagged down another and she was completely unconcerned. As was my actual waitress. She said she thought it must be a part of the sausage, but I have to say, I have never once found a rock in sausage before and well, I've eaten a lot of sausage. The manager, when finally summoned, didn't even bother to apologize, just acted annoyed and asked if I had saved the rock (I had daintily spit it out into a spoon and returned the whole mess to the "gumbo") and took it away. Our waitress finally did take it off the bill but still...rocks in mediocre soup? No concern from the staff? Not what I would expect from a new locally owned business trying to stay afloat. They seemed to resent us from the moment we walked in. We felt like party crashers, not paying customers.
My husband didn't fare much better-his "Tuscan chicken" open-faced sandwich could be charitably described as a homemade french bread pizza (think over cooked chicken and peppers with lots of bland red sauce, covered in cheese served on thick, tasteless, apparently previously frozen garlic bread). The sauce on the sandwich tasted like it came from the jar and the the 3 mushrooms we were told about were missing. My husband said the sandwich reminded him of something he would have made as a hungry teenager with leftovers from the fridge not something you would expect to be served in a sit-down restaurant. The side dish for this meal was an "antipasto" salad which contained what appeared to be udon noodles and a creamy sauce.
The food was amateurish at best, the staff apathetic and the menu is overpriced for frankly subpar food. I just didn't get the impression that the chef or the staff was very interested in or familiar with food which, for a restaurant, is pretty shocking.
I love to support local businesses and I love our neighborhood but this was truly a horrible experience. We felt unwelcome (did they open the restaurant with the idea only their friends would dine there?) and the food was dreadful. The complete lack of concern from the manager/owner was disappointing. I had only taken 2 or 3 bites of my soup. Surely they didn't think I made the rock up to get out of paying $6 for it. Despite how inedible the food was if I hadn't actually been injured eating it (my gum bled!) we would have just paid our bill and left. I felt like I had to say something to save other diners from chipping a tooth and the staff acted like they couldn't care less.
All in all, the very worst dining experience I have ever had and that includes the time a restaurant ceiling collapsed on my head due to a leaky water pipe during dinner and the time a waiter accidentally dropped someone's half eaten, syrup laden waffles on my lap and purse.
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About The Parkside Fine Foods & SpiritsNeighborhod: Lauraville
Category: American (Traditional)
4709 Harford Rd
Baltimore, MD 21214 (410) 444-6004