Wednesday, September 19, 2007

Green Field Churrascaria

Great company, as I went with K. and T. and we closed the place down. However, the restaurant itself left a bad taste in my mouth. I mean that almost literally. It's located on Azusa Ave. in West Covina and three years ago, it was quite good. Brazilian barbeque The meat selection was big, the roasting done well, and the side dishes quite tasty. Unfortunately, they must have new management, because the meats were either incredibly overcooked (dry, chalky) or so undercooked that the meat was raw, not rare. Sirloins were extremely raw whereas lamb was cooked to hell. It wasn't pleasant. The choices were basic beef cuts, chicken, sausage, lamb, duck, pork ribs, and bacon.

The buffet was weird. It was mostly salad and horrific attempts at Italian food. They called basmati rice, "risotto". There were no sauce names, so there were dishes like "Salmon in pink sauce" and "spaghetti in red sauce". Wha...?! This was my plate from the buffet with some meat added to it:

The cheese rolls (top left) were really good. We'll work clockwise... the chicken is next to it, which was fine. Next to that was tabbouleh. It was ok... tabbouleh's major ingredient is parsley, so the taste is pungent and distinctive. It's also Middle Eastern and the last time I checked, Brazil wasn't in the Middle East. Nor is it anywhere near Italy, although I can understand the Italian influence more. I believe Brazil has a large Italian immigrant population.

Next up was the rice, which they called "risotto". It was basmati and quite flavorless basmati, at that. After that was collard greens and according to Wikipedia, they're typically present at churrascarias. However, collard greens should never be served lightly cooked. It's a vegetable that needs to be cooked down to wilting. Otherwise, the taste is incredibly bitter and reminiscent of dirt. The salmon tasted fine, but was on the dry side. The tri-tip, on the first pass, was cooked past well-done. Ew.

The most puzzling thing was the fried banana. It's above the tri-tip in the photo. Now, my experience with "fried banana" in Latin America involved plantain slices that have been caramelized on a hot pan. These fried bananas were literally battered bananas that were fried. I felt like I was at the frickin' county fair.

It was a mediocre, but edible, meal. Expensive and certainly not worth the money. However, I was ok with all of it until I received the check. The service was adaquate, but not outrageously fantastic or anything. Keep in mind that this is a buffet, so there isn't a ton of table service. There are the guys who bring the meat around, but they're quick and brusque. They also don't take orders or requests, so it's not like they have to deal with annoying customers. Still, with the amount of servers involved, I figured 15% tip was called for.

Then the bill arrived...

It was a typical bill, but at the bottom was:


Suggested tip (15%): $13.00 (highlighted by hand)

Thank you very much! (highlighted by hand)

I was appalled. Regardless of all views on tipping, it should never, ever be requested, suggested, demanded, whatever. That's as tacky as tipping poorly for good service. Considering the whole experience was horrifically mediocre, including the service, it was insulting to have it pointed out to me that I should tip them 15%. I was going to, anyway, but this really made me want to stiff them. However, since tips are probably pooled and one person decided to be a tacky fool, I wasn't going to be an ass to the rest of the staff. So yeah, I tipped them 15%.

Needless to say, there will be no future trips to this place.

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