Thursday, January 16, 2014

South Detroit: Don't Stop, Believe Me.

It is always exciting news when I hear about a new restaurant opening up in Windsor. Even though I may not be the first one to sample the food, it goes on my growing -restaurants to try- list. So when South Detroit (right next to Chanoso’s/Oishii at 255 Ouellette) came to town, I was pretty pumped up after hearing all the great buzz surrounding this supposedly unique eatery.

Unfortunately, my title says it all. I was a little hesitant to even write a review because I like to try and dig deep on finding at least something positive to say about a restaurant, but this time folks, I have truly drawn a blank and just like I have written glowing reviews, there are those times when I must inform others of negative experiences too. This is important to let restaurant owners know that they really need to step up their game if they want to stay in business.

Walking in, aside from the interesting artistic sign, one would expect somewhat of a South Detroit theme to honour our neighbours across the river. However, looking around, the decor was uninspiring, and we were just bombarded with TVs everywhere playing sports.

The food was terrible.

Let’s start with the “Mexican Town Salad.” It’s a shame to use an iconic name and skimp out on ingredients that give that authentic ‘Mexican” flavour, especially beans and tortilla strips for that nice crunch. Taking a certain ethnic dish and creating your own take on it can definitely work well, but in this case, it didn’t. Not one bit.

Mexican Town Salad

Oh and serving rock-hard avocado pieces is unacceptable. The amount overall was also less than desirable. A few bites and you’re done. For the $9 large salad, it was hardly worth it.

My flatbread “Ambassador,” which had feta, red peppers, spinach and marinated artichokes was completely tasteless, not to mention the copious amounts of cheese that stuck in my stomach.

Flatbread Ambassador

The timing to get our meals was at a snail’s pace, even though there were only a handful of people inside, and most were just having drinks.

Another disappointing part was the waitress. She acted like she was hung-over from the night before, with the personality of a wet dish rag. I guess it was too taxing to give a straight answer on what the actual size is of a ‘small’ and ‘large’ entree.

The music was extremely loud too and it was difficult to hear anyone else speaking. Nothing says fun like yelling over electric guitars.

Obviously, there was no dessert. We were more than ready to leave and go elsewhere.

I’d like to make excuses for South Detroit by saying that maybe the chef was having a bad day, or perhaps our waitress had a personal matter that carried on into work, but it doesn’t really matter, does it? This was a celebratory birthday meal for a friend of ours and it was anything but pleasant.

In my eyes, a customer should get what they pay for; quality food, good service and the desire to return. We got zero out of three.

If you’d like to visit South Detroit, perhaps your experience will be a better one then what we had.


**UPDATE**: After writing my review on South Detroit and contacting them on Facebook, this is the reply I received back. Any thoughts?

Hello Melissa. Let me start by thanking you for trying out South Detroit. I am sorry that your experience was disappointing. Could you let me know what day and time you where in? As owner/operators of small business, we take all comments, good and bad, very seriously and would like to do our best to remedy the situation for the next customers experience. "South Detroit" was named and created not to "honour our neighbours across the river", but to celebrate and identify one of the original names of Windsor and the contrast and connections between Windsor and Detroit. If you would like clarification on the concept we are trying to present please feel free to contact us. Good Luck with your writing career.

**Newest update: In terms of concept you came with expectations... which in my opinion a critic of any type should come with a open mind and evaluate the experience as it unfolds, again my opinion, I will address the concerns you outlined with front and back of house staff.