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Dec 30, 2006 08:09 PM

Brooklyn Burger Bar: Uh Oh...

Completely dead at work yesterday, got to leave at about 1:30 PM. I decide to head to J&R to browse for some electronic junk, find that approximately 650,000 others have the same idea. I give up and head home to Park Slope.

Decide to stop in the new Brooklyn Burger Bar, check it out for myself. I enter the bar at 3:00 PM.

No one at the door, no one greeting incoming patrons, no one behind the bar. Bar has one couple and there are three tables near the bar that are occupied. Several tables in the back room are also occupied.

I unload my stuff, take my coat off, sit and wait. After a few minutes the bartender appears, says to me, "Hi, I'm sorry but you'll have to wait until I take their order...", indicating one of the occupied tables near the bar.

At this moment a server comes out of the kitchen, laden with a tray containing two very nice-looking burgers, each with a lightly toasted bun and a crisp order of fries. He stops next to me and says to the bartender, "Who gets the burgers?"

Bartender appears stumped for a moment. He looks over everyone in the place, finally remembers. He says, "Oh they were for the couple that just left. They were upset about the long wait."

Server appears unsettled. He looks at me, and for a fleeting moment I think he is going to offer me both burgers, but the moment passes and he disappears into the kitchen with the good-looking burgers.

Two couples enter at this moment, two separate parties. Bartender is still behind the bar. First couple says to the bartender, "Should we seat ourselves, or will you seat us?"

Bartender replies: "I'll seat you, but I have to get control again. First I need to take their order...", again pointing at the hapless couple still waiting to give their order. Bartender now leaves the bar and goes to the table. The two couples are standing in the doorway, completely uncertain about what's next.

I put on my coat and go home and order Chinese...

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  1. Another tale in the continuing saga of The Curse of the Minnow!

    1. Oh man, I never write this, but - I literally am "laughing out loud". I know you must have been starving, how else could you have left before you discovered what ensued after the bartender regained control??

      1 Reply
      1. re: mookster

        You are correct. I had skipped lunch, decided that I would try the Burger bar. As the events at the Burger Bar unfolded I made a real effort to register them because I knew they'd make a good Chowhound posting, so I can tell you that there is no exaggeration in what happened, including the bartender's comment that he needed to regain control.

        Give the total lack of support for him, I doubt that he ever did, at least until everyone left.

        Finally, I'm pretty sure I spotted the owner prowling around. He was fussing with a curtain, or something like it, that separates the bar space from the old restaurant space next door. So he was there, letting the bartender totally flounder.

        I think he really knows how to run a kitchen and that he has no idea whatsoever on running a bar/pub.

        BTW, I really enjoyed the Chinese takeout; I really was starving...

      2. My friends had the exact same experience! As a matter of fact, they gave up and left as well.... Hmmm... I wonder if they were the couple to whom you referred?
        You have to wonder about a place that opens in a competitive place like Brooklyn and then can't figure out a way to manage
        the place and (Gasp!) serve customers. I've had better (make that MUCH better) service at local Chinese take out places than I have in some bonafide restaurants.
        No wonder the restaurant survival rate is so dismal.

        1. The place has been absolutely PACKED everytime I've gone by, unlike poor Minnow ever was. Don't know what that says about quality, but it certainly makes a statement about need.

          1. Not to change the subject but where did you get delicious Chinese takeout in that neighborhood??? I have yet to find anything worth a damn in Park Slope. And please don't say Red Hot. Heard a gross story about that place. And not an apocryphal one.

            3 Replies
            1. re: HankyT

              Actually, you are changing the subject, but let me hold no secrets. If you go back and reread my post you won't find anything that says "delicious Chinese takeout". What you'll find is me saying that I really enjoyed the takeout, as I was starving. Perhaps not the same thing...

              Be that as it may, I ordered from Szechuan Delight on 7th Avenue, a place my wife and I find to be very much hit or miss. When they're on the food can be really, really good (at least to our taste). When they're not on, well, what can you say. Perhaps starvation is the better option...

              But on this night I was really hungry and speed of delivery was a factor, so I took my chances with SD and they came through. I had an order of diced chicken with cashews (extra cashews, thank you) and an order of vegetable fried rice (extra egg, thank you), and they were both hot and tasty upon arrival. I still would've preferred one of those delicious looking burgers that barely escaped my clutches, but the Chinese food was a satisfactory replacement.

              Re Red Hot, based on an assertion in another post that Bar Minnow had been closed by the Department of Health, I went to their website (the DOH website) and looked for myself. It wasn't true that Bar Minnow had been closed; they were inspected on 10/20 (or thereabouts) and had received a 4, which is actually quite a good score.

              While I was on the website I decided to check all the restaurants in the 11215 area, and Red Hot had, BY FAR, the worst score. They scored a 55, where a 28 requires a followup inspection. Based on that alone I would never order from Red Hot. (BTW, Szechuan Delight scored a 3.)

              Perhaps you'd care to relate your gross story so that others might make more informed choices about the local Chinese takeout. (Plus you got my curiousity aroused...)

              1. re: HankyT

                Probably too late for this reply, but if anyone reads this:

                There's a Chinese place at the SW corner of Union St & 6th Ave called Hunan Delight (... I think.) The last time I passed by, it was undergoing renovations... this was a while ago. I used to work in Park Slope and went there often for the best damn fast food Chinese I've ever had! General Tso's chicken, low sodium, extra spicy... and they actually got it right! And everything else I've had there was pretty good as well. Nothing disappointing. Hope it's still there... I should drop by.

                Oh, and truthfully... if you're really squirmish about the "gross" conditions of some Chinese places, you're head is in the ground. EVERY fast food Chinese place is like that. :) Sorry to say. But just ignore that part and enjoy the MSG goodness! (And don't believe that whole "No MSG" mumbo jumbo they try to give you. That's a lie as well.)

                1. re: bluishgnome

                  Hunan Delight finished its renovations last summer. The place looks much nicer than it used to, but its still the same old Hunan Delight. Nothing fancy, but very yummy standard chinese food. And great steamed dumplings.