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Orinoco -- Sat. night glitches?

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Ate with three friends at Orinoco last night, the second Saturday night in a row for two of us. Arrived at 8 and waited (comfortably, with a bottle of wine) until 9 to be seated. By the time we ordered, they'd run out of all eight of the arepas, along with the tequenos, the skirt steak, and, by midway through our meal, the Brahma beer.

Is this unusual, for Orinoco (or any similar restaurant) to run out of so many items in a single evening? Some at our table were bothered; others of us chalked it up to the restaurant still being fairly new, still getting a lot of favorable press and the resulting surges of new diners, and not yet knowing how much food to have on hand on busier nights.

Love the place, so I'm inclined to cut them some slack; they're small and young, so I can understand that they may want to be conservative when it comes to buying food, not wanting much to go to waste. Curious to hear others' thoughts.

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  1. The restaurant is the featured review in Boston Magazine this month. It's very difficult to plan for what a review can do. Some folks stay away for a few weeks and some run right there.

    We haven't tried Orinco as of yet but when I saw the review I put it down a few places on our list of resturants to try.

    I think I would give them a pass on any problems this weekend.

    1. The place is very small, so storage for some stuff might be an issue, but it could also be that the review was just o much for them to handle.

      I have been a few time and found the food to be just OK, nothing special. Both time i was there, either our table or the table next to us had to send something back because it was not cooked right or the cuts were just inedible.

      1. I eat there quite a bit and love the food. They usually run out of something by the time I get there. Not to the extent you describe however. Their main problem seems to be delivering all entrees to the table at the same time. Still consider it one of my favorite neighborhood restaurants.

        1. we hit up Orinoco for the first time last night. during the 30 minute wait, we enjoyed a brahma (better for looks than taste) and el presidente beer. finally seated, but received little notice by the waitstaff. no silverware, no water, really no love. after 10 minutes, waiter finally came around and asked if we were being helped. sort of a strange question to already seated customers.

          ordered the Reina Pepiada, shredded chicken avocado and cilantro, and the Pernil, slow cooked pork leg with mojo (thank you menu pages)arepas, the Maracuchitos, queso paisa wrapped in sweet plantains, and what was called a beef tenderloin special with crab and asparagus, but was clearly a hanger steak, not tenderloin.

          lets start with the arepas. for a place that is muy famoso for the arepas, they should hit it out of the park... however, these were barely to first base. they were flavorless, hard to eat because they were SO DRY, and just blah. thank god for the beer and the tasty dipping sauce..'cause otherwise one would be hard pressed to get those arepas down. i have made arepas many a'time and they should be soft, flavorful, and all around yum. the ones are Orinoco were just disappointing. the reina pepiada, really a chicken salad, was okay, not great. the pernil was dry, no flavor and boring. i was really surprised.

          the marachuchitos were great. sweet plantains and creamy cheese. these were quality. nice balance of flavors and texture.

          next was the steak special. sold as a tenderloin, but i would bet my bottom dollar that this was a hanger steak. beef tenderloins are not the diameter of a hotdog and are not as sinuous. despite the misnomer, the steak had flavor and was prepared to our requested temperature. it was paired with a crab salad and asparagus which was unexpected but well executed.

          here is my issue with the "tenderloin." since it was our first time at Orinoco, we asked the waiter to recommend his favorite principales. immediately he directed us to the specials. when the bill came, it turns out his favorite was also most expensive on the menu. while nothing is expensive here, "tenderloin" turned out to be $19, i am ALWAYS suspicious when a waiter suggests most expensive and does not reference the cost. $19 is nothing for a hanger, but when everything else on menu is less than $15, i would expect it to be pointed out.

          finally, we had the molten chocolate cake. the cake was served in a disposable aluminum cup and was not properly cooked. the top was crusty but the rest of the cake was raw. molten should have a creamy center, but should be surrounded by a cake.

          overall, for $76, i was disappointed with Orinoco. Probably will not return. Surprised about the hype. maybe we ordered incorrectly? thoughts?

          2 Replies
          1. re: lambchopas

            I agree that the arepas are dry. Really disappointing when you can get better arepas from the Market Basket's freezer compartment.

            1. re: lambchopas

              Hey lambchopas. I know your response to orinoco was way back but to just let you know the churassco is not a hangar at all. It is beef tenderloin. I don't know if you have seen them pull out and cut the hunk of meat to make the steaks but it is a tenderloin. I went to culinary school for four years and know my cuts of meat and that is tenderloin. Hangar comes in thicker strips...two per cow from the rib/stomach region.

            2. Well, I haven't been there yet, but this place is getting a ton of favorable hype and press --my guess is they're having a tough time keeping up with it all and as a result food and service are suffering.
              It seemed to get great chowhound reviews when it first opened and was a little unknown local spot; I'd give it a little time to get through this crazy period and give it another chance.