Sunday, July 31, 2011

Orupa (Part 2)

(Original Review -- May 2011)
(Went back for Part 3 -- May 2012)

I decided to stop at Orupa again to try another menu item. Basically over the last few weeks, I've been re-reviewing some of the places I've given outstanding ratings, just to see if they really deserve it.

After a bit of deliberation (and hearing the specials), I went for something that had intrigued me for a while: "Chicken Tandori," which they described as chicken with a mango curry sauce. Not what I would say tandoori chicken is, but I gave it a shot anyway. It cost me $10.25.

I got the dish to go, because I had places to go and people to see.

The side of bread was actually the best part....
OK, what in the bloody hell was I just given? I paid $10.25 for this?!

First of all, the rice was quite dry and pretty much unacceptable. They decided to go with adding some Indian spices on the rice, probably for both presentation and to add flavor to the rice? Wrong move, sucker. The only thing it made me do was stop eating the rice altogether.

But the worst was to come: the "chicken tandori" itself. I figure it's bad enough that it's spelled incorrectly, but then I'm not even served anything resembling tandoori chicken. What you see in the picture is chicken with mango sauce, period. And it was horrible. I don't think they were intending to pass this off as a curry, but if they did, it's one of the worst I've ever had. It had probably the faintest hint of curry taste, and I tasted no mango -- as they had advertised. The execution was just absolutely awful. No general flavor in anything whatsoever. The vegetable strips were overcooked and unappetizing.

Upon closer inspection, I saw the chef had put some of Orupa's "special sauce" in that curry concoction, the same sauce I had enjoyed on my first visit. It gave the curry a peculiar red-orange tinge. I normally wouldn't mind too much if I enjoyed the flavors, but apparently the flavor got lost on the way to the dance.

Oh, you must be wondering about the chicken. Yeah, I got three thin slices of chicken, all of which were overcooked/dry. Nothing further needs to be said about that.

Sadly enough, the best part was the bread. Nothing wrong here, just their usual roll sliced several times, yet kept intact all the way. At least it wasn't too bad when I ate some of the bread with the curry "sauce."

The service was OK. The woman at the front of the house and the female server were both friendly. The service was average this time around, which really does make my first experience a huge anomaly.

Two final notes. First, take a look at this wrapping on my take-out order:

It looks like someone decided to wrap the bloody hell out of the containers and think that would suffice instead of bringing it to me in a plastic bag -- or heck, even a paper bag. The food was at least still warm, and I could feel the flimsy take-out plate give way a bit as I walked with it in my hand.

But second -- and worst of all -- they didn't even give me plastic utensils or napkins on the take-out order! What if they did this to someone who wanted to eat in the park on a gorgeous day? Yeah, that was me. I headed to the closest restaurant (which just happened to be Alcyone, a place I gave an average rating to) just to get a fork. I was so flustered I forgot to ask for napkins. I ate this food anyway because I paid for it (otherwise it would have been in the garbage in two seconds), wiping my face with my hands like a damn fool with no etiquette. Perhaps, in hindsight, I would have been better off taking the meal back to Orupa and asking for something different. Or at least get the meal comped. It was really that bad. The chef should be ashamed this even left the kitchen to get served to a customer.

This is by far the biggest disappointment in my food adventures. After everything went so right on my initial experience, it seemed like everything went so wrong on this one. Obviously, Orupa's rating severely drops, but it would be fairer to average my two experiences. After all, I still stand by my statement that Orupa makes a good Croque Monsieur sandwich and awesome pomme frites.

So you must be asking yourself, "Aaron, why not get the same thing as last time?" Because a great restaurant cannot live and die by one dish. The whole menu has to be good. If it's being offered on the menu, the chef is basically saying, "Try this, you'll love it." Otherwise, it wouldn't be on the menu at all. My food adventures will take me to different places, and also in the case of places I give a favorable rating to, they will make me try different dishes just to be sure the rating was accurate the first time around.

The first experience at Orupa was a 9.5, but this latest visit feels like a 0.5 (for the friendly staff and the bread). Orupa should be fortunate to even get points for serving me something so blasphemous, let alone charging $10.25 for. So basically now, after averaging the two visits, Orupa is an average joint to me, and they'll have to really try hard if I think of heading back there for a third time.

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