Steph and I went to Boston Deli for her birthday dinner and were disappointed. It wasn't a complete fail but they seem to try hard at giving off that hip "I don't care" attitude that just doesn't work for me. Here's how the meal went down. We arrived and after a few minutes were told to take any seat we liked. They were pretty busy, it was Saturday around 6pm, but not completely full and no one was waiting for a table. We sat there and Steph was beaming with anticipation since she had read every review, every article and asked all her friends to tell her about the BBQ Brisket Burger. She knew every nuance of that burger by heart and she was ready to dig into what she told me was "The Best Burger In Tulsa." Ten minutes passed and our waiter came with our menus and took our drink order. Steph's glass of EOS Estate Zinfandel, a California wine, came soon after. It was very good for the price. A little more bold than I remember Zin's tasting but I haven't had one in a while. Boston Deli seems to always have a nice selection of wines. I ordered Mango tea which came about ten or fifteen minutes later along with the have you decided question from the waiter. They were out of ribs, the Saturday special, and the waiter didn't seem particularly interested in suggesting anything different. I couldn't decide at first but went with the Chile Gingered Pork Loin. My glass of tea went empty for about 20 minutes then they brought out some bread for the table. A slice of chile/jalapeno flavored, not too spicy just enough for flavor, and a slice seasoned with rosemary. It was tasty and fresh. The chile/jalapeno was a little dense while the rosemary was more light and chewy. I would have had a spinach salad but I forgot to order it and the waiter didn't ask, too busy needing to get back to their Iphone I suspect. We waited some time longer and they brought out our order. I'll start with the good, the Chile Gingered Pork Loin was fantastic. Nicely grill with a char on one side, perfectly cooked so it was still tender and moist. It sat on a bed of grits seasoned with Poblano peppers and was sauced with a little balsamic for sweetness. They put some asparagus on top of the whole thing and dropped a couple leaves of cilantro on it for garnish. To the side was a roasted lime. I wasn't sure why the lime was there, it didn't have much juice in it since it was a bit dried out by the roasting. I squeezed what I could and took the first bite of my nearly fork tender pork loin. The sweet balsamic, that little bit of char, the flavor of the pork and that spicy corn note from the grits all combined for a well balanced dish. That was the hit. Here comes the miss.
Steph's dish was sadly bad. The house ground brisket tasted horrible from the drenching of Worstershire it was given. We both wondered why they didn't just let the meat speak for itself. I was surprised the chef sent it out really. The bacon and bun were top notch but unfortunately you couldn't enjoy them as the Worstershire overshadowed everything. To make things worse the fries weren't any better. Imagine the greasy, soggy fries you get at some burger joints. Now take those fries, let them sit for a while and then drop them in the grease again until they're crispy, a little burned and not particularly appetizing on a plate. Well they taste even worse. A little crisp crunch when you bite into a pocket of grease. Steph couldn't eat them. She was trying so hard to enjoy her Birthday meal, one that she had built up for at least a week. She did the best she could to say nice things about it but in the end she had to admit it wasn't good. We were a little over half way through the meal when the waiter returned to see if everything was alright. What can you say at that point, it will take another hour if you try to send it back plus it's half eaten by then. Steph said everything was fine, I kept my mouth shut.
We skipped dessert given the slow service and being a little upset about the food and waited another 15 minutes for the check then a while longer to pick up the check and run the credit card and then a while longer to get the card back so we could go. By this time the chef was looking flustered so perhaps the whole place was having a bad night along with us. It happens.
I'll probably try Boston Deli again but it's going to be while before I'm ready. At least we only wasted $50 bucks, could have been worse.