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Nov 21, 2011 06:00 AM

What is your single worst meal ever in the DC/Baltimore area?

I've always thought this was a difficult question, but no more. I finally had a meal so bad that it stood apart form the rest.

Can anyone else name a meal that you can point to as a monument to awfulness?

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  1. The original comment has been removed
    1. Are you going to share with us that horrible meal?

      Probably the worst meal I ever had was 5+ years ago at Notti Bianche. My boyfriend and I went because at the time Tom Sietsema was talking it up non-stop. Most of the dishes were underwhelming but the real crime was the fish dish they served me. There is no doubt in my mind looking back that the fish was way past it's due.

      As the waiter brought the plate through the dining room people were turning their heads because the smell of the fish was so strong. Even the people sitting next to us commented as my boyfriend and I were trying to figure out if it was just a fishy smelling fish, or if there was something wrong with it (I believe it was a whole fish, being offered as part of a pre-fixe menu).

      The next step was our fault---I picked at it, ate the sides around it but did not send the fish back. I was younger and less experienced in restaurants. Plus we couldn't figure out if it really had just gone bad. The next day we realized we should have sent it back, but we were also pissed that a chef who was getting major accolades in the local papers would send a dish like that out. It had to have gone through at least 4 different workers in the restaurant before arriving at my table and if the fish in fact had gone bad, like many of the people around us thought, then it is horrifying that they would send such a dish out in the first place.

      Notti Bianche
      824 New Hampshire Ave. NW, Washington, DC 20037

      1. Share yours!

        I would say Tres Reyes Taqueria near Hyattsville was the worst. My girlfriend and I were starving and ordered almost a table full of food, and threw away nearly all of it.

        Marrakech was fairly bad too.

        1. The original comment has been removed
          1. My worst was pad thai at Thai Chili at the Verizon Center. It was the worst I've ever had - really sweet, gloppy and full of things like broccoli and cherry tomatoes, which have no business being in pad thai. It was truly inedible (and that is something that I almost never say). It was the straw that broke the camel's back - so vile that I decided then and there to never order pad thai again in this country. I only broke my resolve once - I had high hopes for Thai X-ing, but it turned out to be lousy too.

            So, Steve - what was your awful meal?

            Thai Chili
            701 7th St NW Ste F, Washington, DC 20001

            18 Replies
            1. re: woodleyparkhound

              The Pad Thai I had two weeks ago at Asia Cafe was lousey had poor service from our waitress since we used a gilt coupon which restricted most of the menu - we would have saved money just ordering off the menu as normal.

              1. re: agarnett100

                Thai food was my worst, too.  We went to Ruan Thai in Wheaton, which was fairly well rated in the Post at the time.  It wasn't busy, we didn't go in at some weird hour, but the food was horrific -- watery, tasteless, it was hard to even describe it as "Thai-Spiced"!  

                But the food was just one aspect of the almost surreal experience there.  The same song played on the CD/ sound system, over and over, a droning song about death.  That one song looped the whole time we were there.

                "Goodbye my friend, it's hard to die,
                when all the birds are singing in the sky,
                Now that the spring is in the air.
                Pretty girls are everywhere.
                When you see them I'll be there.
                We had joy, we had fun, we had seasons in the sun.
                But the hills that we climbed
                were just seasons out of time.
                Goodbye, Papa, please pray for me,
                I was the black sheep of the family.
                You tried to teach me right from wrong.
                Too much wine and too much song,
                wonder how I get along.
                Goodbye, Papa, it's hard to die
                when all the birds are singing in the sky..."

                Needless to say, rounding out the surreal atmosphere was the deeply depressed, silent server.  She looked like an aunt or something, not a regular waitress.  Her spirit seemed utterly crushed and solemn.

                We could only wonder at what horrific tragedy had stricken the family.  It had to be bad enough that their lives were destroyed, but not bad enough that they would not open the doors that day and lose a few $$.

                1. re: AsperGirl

                  Wow. I'm stunned. I've had many wonderful meals at Ruan Thai - it's one of my favorite restaurants. I can only think you hit them on an off day - a way off day.

                  1. re: woodleyparkhound

                    Yeah, it was well rated. I think maybe something terrible happened to them and they decided to open the restaurant even though they were upset.

                  2. re: AsperGirl

                    Ruan Thai is my favorite for Thai in the area. Just goes to show that a restaurant experience can be so different from one day to the next or even one hour to the next.

                    1. re: Steve

                      Thanks for pitching in. With all the positive comments here, now I want go back and try again. I feel like we've missed out because of maybe one bad day.

                      1. re: AsperGirl

                        Go for the spicy boneless duck and the fried watercress with cashews, shrimp, and squid.

                        1. re: Steve

                          Thank you for the recommendation! I'm excited now, I'm so looking forward to it.

                    2. re: AsperGirl

                      Ha. I love how you remember the lyrics to the song.

                      1. re: mdpilam

                        I think you can find the lyrics to "Seasons in the Sun" pretty easily. 8<D

                        Why they would play it over and over is truly mind-boggling.

                        1. re: mdpilam

                          We must have heard it a dozen times. We were making up alternative lyrics to the song after a couple of loops...

                          "My God this curry's hard to eat
                          When there's flavor in the sauce or meat!"

                          Of course we were trying to have a little fun because they looked so sad we weren't going to complain.

                          1. re: AsperGirl

                            if only it had been a cover version in a different language. that might have been the degree of separation needed.

                            1. re: hill food

                              Oh dear god, no. My husband is an audiophile. That would have sent him screaming off the cliff. He's more likely to rate a restaurant by soundtrack than by food. (That's what made this experience so doubly painful).

                              1. re: hill food

                                As it was written by Jacques Brel, the original language of that song is French. It sounds better when you can't understand the words.

                                1. re: flavrmeistr

                                  Brel? really? I would never have guessed.

                                  you do know he's alive and well, right

                                  1. re: hill food

                                    Good to hear. Sumbitch owes me money.

                              2. re: AsperGirl

                                that is truly hilarious!

                                oh, now i'm gonna have that stupid song in my head!

                                1. re: alkapal

                                  It is addicting, isn't it? It's actually possible to make rhymy food critic commentary in words set to that song.