Off night at La Flor
My husband and I ate at LaFlor in Woodside last night. One word, YUCK!
We had eaten there many times over the years but not lately.
Lesson...never, never ,never order off the main menu. Order specials only.
Our mistake. They have a horrible chicken dish called pan seared chicken.. This mess shows up with some awful glop as a sauce.
Grilled chicken breast was tough as shoe leather. Mashed potatoes had no taste. I didn't eat the chicken. Told the waitress.
This moron did not offer me anything other than a salad. I'd already had one, by the way. And didn't even take the item off the bill.
And the tomatoes in the green salad were way over ripe.
Sorry La Flor, you've lost 2 fairly frequent customers.
La Flor Bakery and Cafe
53-02 Roosevelt Ave, Queens, NY 11377
i haven't been there in the longest time, but I always ordered off the menu and not specials, and never had a problem, their shrimp tacos were always consistent and good and so was their chicken sandwich--and stringy fries.--sorry you had a bad meal, but I wouldn't assume the entire menu is poor, maybe that's just not a good item...but, again, haven't been in a long while, so can't speak for recent events...
OK - well have to say I have also been a long time La Flor customer and fan, have brought many folks there for some delicious and interesting food (usually off the menu too) and hadn't been there in a while
some of our favorites from the menu have been
and these have been consiistently GREAT over the years.
I find VIKO to be a nice person but he is not there during lunch as he works a JOB in another restaurant.
the cornmeal crusted calamari with adobe aioli
the mexican pizza
and their hamburger which was always very good
so went there this Monday May 23, 2011 to celebrate my son's fiance's graduation.
We were looking for a casual yet delicious and reasonably priced lunch and I said - oh let's go to La Flor - don't usually go there for lunch but thought it would be fun.
What a disaster.
First of all it was a MOnday and DEAD.
we were the ONLY customers when we came in around 3 pm
We ordered 2 appetizers and two main courses for 3 people
It took over 30 minutes for the calamari to come to the table
the other appetizer didn't appear until the main courses? (we just ordered them all together and no one asked)
the lady serving us has been there forever - very nice but ...
anyway, we were starving and gobbled it down but noticed that the calamari were tough and rubbery - NEVER had that experience at La Flor before AND the adobe mayo aka aioli was kinda bland. OK - as stated we waited about 30 minutes for this to show up and we were starving so I beckoned the waitress and told her " hey, just an FYI - the calamari is very tough and rubbery - overcooked - please make sure to tell the cook because it's normally not like this" we are not asking you to replace it because at this point we are really hungry OH and can you please bring us some lemon (which normally comes with it)
NEXT - it took at least another 10 =15 minutes for the rest of the food to come out.
other dishes we had ordered
pizza with fennel sausage and mozz - tasty but the crust was tough (not the normal way for La Flor)
Eggs Mexicana - looked like barf and tasted bland. But my son was hungry and he just ate it. Nothing really wrong but certainly not worth $8 - 9 and it took another 5 minutes for the side sauces to come out that gave it any flavor. Have you ever made scrambled eggs that look like broken up pieces of egg and thats what this was. with 5 -6 tortilla chips surrounding it in a pretty pattern. More effort seemed to go into the look than the taste.
Shrimp Chulupa - now I had asked the waitress what a shrimp Chulupa was - had never had that there before but had had some other very good shrimp dishes. So she told me it was a fried tortilla with shrimp and avocado crema.
What came out was a steamed tortilla, slathered and drowned in avocado crema and to add insult to injury - the one shrimp I tasted out of 3 on the plate was going BAD.
At this point, I confirmed the taste with my son and called the waitress over.
I pointed out to her that she had told me that the tortilla was fried and showed her that it was white and steamed not crispy and fried (the underside that you could see once you lifted up the tortilla. I also think a challupa should be more of a masa cake but OK at least grill or fry the darn tortilla - and don't DROWN in in sauce to mask your lack of work and skill.
She apologized, asked me if I wanted anything else.
So - I ordered the Mexican Pizza - at this point I had more or less lost my appetite and should have said no but I also needed to get something for my husband who was picking us up shortly. MISTAKE. this time I didn't even complain, felt defeated - the pulled pork on the pizza was not bad but tasted "OLD" that taste when something has been in the frig too long. It seemed to be the mode of the day. THere was not one single dish that was GREAT never mind GOOD.
OK so now we ask for the bill and the waitress absent mindly asks "how was everything"
WRONG person to ask because I am usually quite honest
so I told her that it was VERY DISSAPPOINTING... and reiterated what the problems were and pointed out the ones I hadn't told her already.
She apologized again, and when she brought the bill she said, I didn't charge you for the calamari. We still ended up with a $30 plus tip bill for a VERY DISSAPPOINTING MEAL.
and yes, I would like to let VIKO know about this because he works hard to keep the place goign but seemed like it was quiet and they were trying to push out food that should have been tossed and that this particular lunch chef was incompetient. As a food business owner, as painful as that is to hear, I would personally rather hear it and work on correcting it rahter than to have customers a. complain on public forums like this and b. not come back - thus adding to the problem not creating solutions.
I can understand why you were anxious to leave but if patrons don't complain to Mgmt, they have no way of knowing about the problem/issues that will eventually affect their survival. Just waiting a long time to return or venting here is ok but doesn't really help you or the restaurant.
I can't begin to count the number of times I've mentioned/pointed out a food/service/seating issue to a mgr/owner and been sincerely (Or so it seemed), thanked by that person.
Many times it's something in the kitchen that's basic and simple to correct, EG: over salted/spiced food,, especially soup or gravy/sauce.
As long as they're pleasant and helpful, we all try or should try, to have patience with inexperienced wait staff but I refuse to deal with uncaring, obnoxious staff and neither should anyone else. Most mgrs and all owners know how injurious bad staff are to a business and would be grateful to have the opportunity to correct the problem, either by retraining or replacing staff.
Owners/Mgrs, especially those of local/ neighborhood businesses, need their patrons help in succeeding. Otherwise, they don't make it and before long we have another fast food eatery or, even worse, an empty store.
Conversely, I'm quick to praise an especially well prepared/innovative dish, a friendly, personable Server and a positive dining environment, EG: appropriate lighting and non ear splitting music.
interesting that we both have had similar experiences in the same week.
and while we rave about places I think we need to point out problems too.
I just posted a message on their facebook page for Viko to contact me about an experience I had at his restaurant on Monday (see post below) Will be interesting to see if anyone gets back to me - the facebook page seemed underused and only had 8 people following/liking it - which means it's not an active page or a space they promote or use.
By the way, I will try them again but not with guests who haven't experienced it before and with some caution. You never know what problems someone else is going through - so the benefit of the doubt prevails. But if business is off and the prices are high for the location and such - and if the quality is off too (and not just an abnormal experience) then this could be one of those down hill alerts - I certainly hope not.
Personally as a food professional I think they need to revamp the menu and offer some lower pricing for the type of food they are serving to attract a wider neighborhood audience as well as the chowhounder types who are willing to travel. They are not expensive but they are also NOT cheap. And the value for money has to be there for places like La Flor to survive.
BTW personally I have never liked their cookies or baked products - always found them too dry even though the reviews are always good. But to each his own. However I can say that the food we had on Monday was past it's prime, not well cooked and took WAY too long. The service was OK - and the waitress tried to make it right, but the overall experience (like how about bringing us some bread or something while we were waiting for the first 30 minutes in an EMPTY restaurant. - They just were off their game.