Thursday, June 19, 2003

Note: I edited this post after waking up Friday, because I realized it was way too rant-like and defensive.

So what's with the reviews of Tulip that complain about the food, then end with "...but I love the place and I'll go back again and again"? I feel like that's quite an accomplishment on Tulip's part. Maybe we should make that a selling point -- sort of the way the guy from ThatNotSoFreshFeeling.com does a Travelog entitled "Shitty Writing for the Truly Bored" which is, quite frankly, hilarious. "Come to Tulip and sample our unique and mediocre cuisine!" (In Tulip's defense, the food does not suck. I should know because I own the place.)

In his recent blog review (dated June 16, no permalink), Not-So-Fresh calls attention to a number of specific food crimes. (I've edited them out here, because you can read the post yourself. Allow me to say I take them all seriously and I'm treating the missing potatoes and carrots in particular as a felony.) Then he ended with a glowing recommendation! Evan Rail sort of did the same thing, to a lesser degree, in his overall positive Prague Post review.

It's interesting that the customer in this case did not complain, despite the fact that there were some severe problems with the meal. No, I'm not saying the customer is to blame for the shortcomings of the kitchen. I'm just pointing out one complication in trying to please customers here in Prague. People are so accustomed to bad service, they're happy you even brought them the food, so they rarely say anything if there's an actual problem with the order. They should! I spoke to the my partner/manager about the missing carrots and potatoes, and he was shocked. (OK, so he said it was "weird," i.e. that doesn't normally happen.) If any restaurant in the U.S. left out a crucial side dish, it would be unacceptable. When I'm at Tulip, I raise a stink if a dish is sub-par (as it's a partnership, I do order and pay like a regular customer). And I assure you there will be hell to pay about these missing carrots and potatoes!

What I recommend at Tulip: Nothing with meat, not because it's bad, but because unlike my four partners, I'm a quasi-vegetarian. I dig the veggie lasagna big time. The tofu burger is great, although totally unlike your typical tofu burger -- indeed, some people say it's too tough. (Contra that, I say your typical tofu burger is way too mushy.) The fennel-goat cheese salad rocks, as does the croque monsieur salad. And from what customers tell me about the desserts, they're usually excellent, but frankly I'm not the dessert kinda guy. I would rather spend the money on an excellent cocktail or three from the lounge.

One of my current ongoing missions, between writing articles so I can earn money so I can invest more in the cafe, is to improve the quality of Tulip's food to the point where nobody in their right mind can honestly say the meals are not totally scrumdiddlyumptious. This is happening as we speak. We have a new chef from Portland, Maine who's making changes in the kitchen that will lead to greater focus on consistency and quality and ever more tasty servings of our delicious Tulip cuisine.

So if you don't like the food, please come again, because it's getting better every day, and if you still don't like it, come back a third time and a fourth time, and then again and again, because that's how great Tulip is.

The hours are 11 a.m. - midnight, open to 2 a.m. on Friday and Saturday.


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