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Aug 9, 2009 10:14 AM

Horrible experience at Plan B

Let's try this again:

Being in a desperate need for more lunch place choices (and not wanting to go to the same one place all the time), we wandered in to Plan B on Vanderbilt Avenue a few days ago. We know it is a sports bar, so we absolutely did not expect to get more than bar food, i.e. lowered our expectations, but decided to try it anyway.

(We had actually wanted to check out the new Milk Bar in the old Garden Cafe space, but they seem to be behind schedule and were not open yet. They told us that they would open on Monday.)

So, the menu at Plan B actually looked ok. I ordered "spicy Thai chicken lettuce wraps" and my husband ordered the "Grilled vegetable sandwich". We also ordered "guacamole with nachos".

First, we waited for the food for a torturously long time. The only other people in the restaurant were two ladies at the table next to us, and one guy drinking beer at the bar. We were ready to walk out when our "food" arrived:

The "spicy Thai" "chicken" consisted of overly fried, off tasting "crumbs" of something that had maybe once been chicken - and those crumbs were drowned in some gooey, off tasting grill sauce that was disgusting already in itself. I tasted one of the chicken crumbs, with the gooey sauce. It was so disgusting that I wanted to spit it out. The (Iceberg) lettuce that I was supposed to wrap those drowned over-fried chicken crumbs in, was clearly not fresh. Iceberg lettuce is crisp when it is fresh: this bent like rubber.

My husband did not fare any better. I could SEE that his grilled veggie sandwich was awful. It was worse than awful: it was inedible. Even the plain baguette tasted off.

Neither one of us was able to take more than one small bite each. After those bites, we looked at each other in disgust and disbelief.

The Guacamole? Awful. And the chips were stale and tasteless.

We got up, left the almost untouched food and walked over to the bar.
My husband took pity on the poor little girl who was working there, so he paid anyway - and left her a 20% tip. He was afraid that the girl (who was very sweet) would wind up paying for our "food" if we did not. We told her why we could not eat the food. She was very apologetic. She took notes so that she could let the manager know. It seemed that she got it that we were pretty "horrified".
We are not looking to get our money back: if the owner wants to give it back, he can donate it to a food pantry. And if he cares, he will start to impose quality control.

Later, when we, still in shock and disgusted, talked about this unfortunate experience, my husband remarked that in 40 years of his rather broad restaurant experience, this was the first time in his life that both he and his dining companion walked out leaving over 95% of the food mass on the table.

This was not merely a case of "not liking the food". If we do not "like" the food but the ingredients are ok, we mostly do not even comment about it to the waiter or anyone. Taste is taste. Sometimes, if a waiter asks if everything is to our liking - if I don't "like" the food, I might say something like: "I am not crazy about this, but it is my own fault, I ordered the wrong thing... " If a waiter then offers to bring something instead, I sometimes just thank them politely but decline the offer. If I am starving, I say a heartfelt "thank you" and accept.

SOMEONE, PLEASE open a cafe type place in Park Slope / Prospect Heights, serving/selling FRESH salads and good, healthy sandwiches (on whole grain, not on white bread) that all have some/enough greens and veggies in them (in addition to whatever protein is in them) are being served!!! I promise to be a good customer.

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    1. Plan B? Note to self: Never name a restaurant after an emergency contraceptive product.

      5 Replies
        1. re: gnosh

          Ummm...also an old B movie - Plan B from Outer Space....The contraceptive plan followed much, much later! Let's hope the restaurateurs are old movie fans.

          1. re: Alice Letseat

            Actually that's "Plan 9 from Outer Space."

          2. re: gnosh

            HA! I guess we should have taken the name as a warning...

            1. re: gnosh

              The strange thing is that the name "Plan B" also implies that the restaurant was second choice--as in, "Oh my, looks like Al Di La is closed tonight. OK, let's go to Plan B..." For the connotation stated above, and this one, I can't imagine how anyone naming the restaurant said, Yeah! That's a great idea!

            2. Le Gamin, also on Vanderbilt (near Bergen) would have been a better bet for sandwiches or salads. They also have good coffee. I live in the neighborhood, and despite the fact that I pride myself on knowing all the local spots inside and out, I've refused to try that awful looking place known as Plan B. I'm glad to know that my suspicions were well-founded.

              3 Replies
              1. re: Carniv0re

                Glad to be of help :-D . We were actually thinking of going to Le Gamin that day (a first in a looong time), but remembering the unfathomably slow service that we had endured there the last few times we had lunch there, we decided to check out Plan B instead...
                Yes, big mistake: unlike you, we did not listen to our inner warning bells.
                Btw: I have heard from friends that Milk Bar serves good salads and sandwiches plus other goodies, and that they also serve excellent espressos and cappuccinos. I have peeked in and the space looks bright and very nice.

                1. re: FoodWine

                  stopped into milkbar today. i had basic poached eggs on country bread. the bread was robust and delicious, but my eggs (sprinkled with scallions) were overcooked. the coffee was decent. i'm not sure what they're serving, but i still think guerilla makes the best coffee around.
                  i think that the milkbar people are still trying to get the hand of things (service was hectic) but i'm hopeful for them. i think it will be a great addition to the neighborhood.

                  has anyone has tried their sandwiches? 9 bucks seems a bit steep, but it might be worth it if they're good.

                  1. re: oystersallday

                    So far we have only had salads at Milk Bar and have liked them. Their sandwiches look huge, but I have not had a chance to try them yet. If they are as tasty as their salads, I am willing to pay for quality.

                    We think their espresso & cappucino is excellent.
                    Did you mean "Gorilla coffee"? If there is a place called guerilla coffee, I have not tried that one. But I have tried Gorilla coffee, which is good, but personally I / we prefer the cappucino & espresso at Milk Bar. Different tastes...

                    So far so good. They seem to be very popular. And they seem to be very friendly people.

              2. We go there often and have never had a bad experience. Hmmm.... Interesting!