day twenty-four: tamarind
June 13, 2011 § Leave a Comment
Contrary to what some may believe, I don’t enjoy writing (most) negative reviews. Whatever catharsis it might bring, it never brings the money spent eating bad food back to my pocket. My visit to Tamarind did result in the money being returned to my pocket, however, even that couldn’t take the terrible taste out of my mouth. I went to Tamarind when it first opened and have tried, honestly tried, to make myself visit again since, just to be fair, just to give it another chance, but every time I pass by the sign, seemingly elegant in its simplicity and deceptively highfalutin in its description — EXOTIC THAI AND OTHER ASIATIC COOKERY — that taste comes back, like the return of the repressed, and I drive by, still traumatized. I have yet to be food-poisoned by a restaurant, having been so fortunate thus far only to be food-poisoned by friends and loved ones, but had I finished my meal at Tamarind, this would have almost certainly have been a first.
Perhaps I got too excited about the possibility of EXOTIC THAI AND OTHER ASIATIC COOKERY, perhaps I was both too ambitious and too conservative, and perhaps I am, in part, to blame for the meal I received at Tamarind. Or perhaps one might just say I’m suffering from culinary Stockholm Syndrome. My friend ordered a standard Thai dish, a Pad See Ew or something to the effect, and I was about to do the same and go for the standard Pad Thai. When it came to order, I did just that…but, at the last minute, made a surprise twist decision. I ordered it with seafood.
I think I thought, at worst, my Seafood Pad Thai would have some boring, forgettable, rubbery, cheap pieces of flavorless shrimp and squid mixed in with the noodles. I was wholly unprepared for what arrived at our table. The noodles were the color of dirty sock water and smelled like the crisper drawer in one of my undergraduate apartments after my roommate accidentally left a bag of raw squid in it over winter break. Against my better judgment — and the advice of the Korean mother of my squid crisper apartment roommate who told said, “If your nose trusts it, it’s good; if not, don’t” — I, needless to say, took a bite. It was worse than anything I’ve ever tasted. Worse than sub-par sea urchin. Worse than overcooked bull penis. Worse than the second-worst thing I’ve ever tasted, the undercooked bacon in runny chocolate cheesecake I had at the Finger Lakes Wine Center party a few weeks back. It was eerily soupy for Pad Thai and tasted like seafood that had been thrown in a garbage can and left to ferment for a few weeks before being fished out and tossed with Pad Thai. In a word, ew.
While I am generally honest when asked by wait staff, “How is everything?” I never send food back to the kitchen. When our waitress came over to check on us, I was honest.
“How is everything?” she asked.
“Wrong,” I replied.
“Everything is wrong…with my food.”
She picked up the plate to take it back to the kitchen.
“Ew!” she exclaimed. My thoughts exactly.
“Something is definitely wrong with this. It smells disgusting. Do you want something else?”
After that, I politely said that I did not. I picked at some of my friend’s food. It tasted okay. Fine. Like Pad See Ew or whatever it was. Not like Rotting Garbage Seafood Pad Thai. So, I can say that it’s altogether possible that if you were to go to Tamarind that you might not get something that tastes like Rotting Garbage Seafood Pad Thai. Your meal might, in fact, be okay. But even if it’s not probable, the fact that it’s probable, even a p < .05 chance of ordering and getting Rotting Garbage Seafood Pad Thai is enough to keep me away.
Price: Not too expensive, but not particularly cheap (< $11)
Hours: M-F, 11:30 – 3pm and 5-10pm; Sat-Sun, 11:30am – 10pm
Location: 503 N. Meadow Street (Route 13 North)
Delivery phone: (607) 277-2220