Awful Arthur's... IS.
20 June 2011
So the other day, I snagged a free $25 gift certificate to Awful Arthur's Oyster Bar on General Booth Blvd, from one of those daily deals websites. Didn't cost me a thing, so knowing that Rob loves him some oysters, I nabbed that puppy. Did he want to go for Father's Day? He did. So last night, for dinner, we went there for the first time.
Things started out not terrific and got worse from there. Smokers lined the main entrance, which put me in an instant foul mood. I'm sorry, but it's gross, and I hate breathing it in and thinking of my children doing the same. Plus it gives me a horrible headache. Then there was a live band playing mostly metal covers, which isn't my thing, but so what. They were much, much too loud, though, and the kids kept putting their fingers in their ears. I thought it was amusing, so I didn't make them stop. The band wasn't that great, either, but again, so what, we weren't paying for the show.
The five of us were seated right away at a four-top, so Chloë had to sit at the end of a table. There were six- and eight-tops available, so in my head I wondered why we weren't seated at one of those... until a poker team came in and started setting up at those two tables. Ah. Poker. I see.
We ordered shortly after we were given our menus, which wasn't at first because who knows why, and then we proceeded to wait more than 40 minutes for our food. I ordered a Diet Coke and was given a Diet Pepsi, with no warning that it wasn't what I had ordered. Hello, Diet Pepsi tastes like toothpaste. It is bad. I asked, "Is this Pepsi?" She affirmed. "Oh, yeah, I can't do that, sorry. I'll just have some water." She smiled and brought me some water with lemon. With lots of seeds in it. Usually, I think, they take out the seeds. At least, they should. I sucked one up in my straw. And swallowed it. Maybe I'll have lemons growing in there.
Let's see, what else... while we waited, we each visited the rest rooms. Nothing sticks out in my head about those, so I guess they were fine, except we had to do the hokey-pokey around the sticking-out poker tables to get there, which wasn't awesome. The kids played with the soft-tip dart machine until Sophia started climbing the board to get the darts out, and I had to put a stop to that action. They were quickly becoming BORED and STARVING and CRANKY. Really, just what you want in three kids at a restaurant. Where was the food?!!
Meanwhile, the whole time, I'm posting on Facebook about the damn smokers going in and out of the main only entrance and parking themselves RIGHT THERE, so that we still had to breathe in their godawful odors the whole time anyway. Seriously, there has to be a law. Oh, wait, I looked it up. There is. Unless there is a separate entrance just for non-smokers, it is illegal in Virginia to smoke standing outside the entrance of a restaurant or other business. I didn't find what the distance was, but I bet I could now that I'm not on my iPhone, with a little due diligence.
Finally, the food came. Well, everyone's did except for mine. They gave Sophia Jack's burger and Jack Sophia's grilled cheese. Whining ensued. I smiled and switched the plates. (Competent servers know who gets what without auctioning off the plates or, like this, just setting them down wherever the feck they feel like it.) She asked me, "Do you need any silverware?" I smiled and said, "I... need my food." She walked off kind of huffily. But hey, it's not like anyone said to me, "Your sandwich will be right out," or any such thing. And I did smile. Nicely, I might add.
After another 7 or so minutes, my broiled crabcake sandwich was put in front of me, with all manner of produce piled on top of it. I unpiled the lettuce, and the onion, and the tomato, and found.. a very burnt crabcake. Was it fried? No, it was broiled. To oblivion. The server came back after another half-century, and I pointed out my extra-crispy crabby patty. I don't know what I said, but it was something like, "I... I'm not happy with this," in my apologetic tone. I can behave, you know. And I still was.
She agreed. I mean, how could she not? Picture a dog turd. It looked like that, only with flecks of green on top. Very dark, kind of La Mush, and not shaped terribly well. She asked if I wanted a fresh batch of onion rings or just the sandwich remade. I said I didn't care. I was starting to be a grump.
Meanwhile, it was 35¢ chicken wing night, like every Sunday according to the sign, so we had a half-dozen hot ones for Rob and a half-dozen salt-and-vinegar ones for me. With Ranch dressing for dipping. Now those were good. No complaints there. Actually, they were really good. So they get some things right, apparently. And Rob's oyster po'boy was just right, too. Let me point out the other good things: Yup. Nope. That's all I got. Oh, well, and the prices were great, and the kids' meals were okay. Except none of them would eat theirs. Except for the fries.
I tried the fries. They were... not good. Not one speck of salt, which, to me, is a must in a fry that's Frenchly made, and when I salted them, it wouldn't stick to them, either. WTF. I'm sorry, McDonald's is gross and all, but they make some damn good fries. Other restaurants should emulate their greasy, salty tastiness. That is a good fry. Fries that are all dark and hard and NOT salty are not good fries. And that is the whole truth and nothing but.
So I'm waiting for my crabcake sandwich to come back out, watching the poker players disappear out the front door every 30 seconds for a cig (honestly, why not just move the tables out there, since you're spending most of your time there anyway?) and finishing off the vinegar-y wings of deliciousness. The repeat dish was finally brought out, at which point I just asked for a box. Still nicely. I was just full. Of wings.
Everyone else was just about finished, since they weren't eating much anyway - except Rob, who was plum full of oyster po'boy like he likes to be. I said, "No dessert" and for once got nary a complaint. Apparently I wasn't the only one who wanted outta there.
Finally, my boxed meal and the check were brought out. I politely informed the server that they were in violation of Virginia's anti-smoking laws and that I would be following up with them to make sure they came into compliance. I made no mention of who I was or why that job was up to me, but she got all bitchtastic about it and sputtered some things sarcastically that I couldnt' hear because of the too-loud suckilicious band playing on the other side of the restaurant. I just knew, from her expression and the bit of tone I could catch, that it wasn't so nice.
We got our boxes, and my camera and purse, and I paid the tab. Which wasn't much, thanks to that certificate that had brought us there in the first place. I even left a rather respectable tip. And then we walked to our van.
When I turned around to take a picture of the entrance, the one or two smokers had turned into ten or twelve, lined up and giving me the finger with their eyeballs!
That picture is the only one that turned out clear, because as I snapped away, they all ran and hid, back in the restaurant, which made me cackle in a rather malicious way. I hate inconsiderate smokers. I really do. You rarely run into a considerate one, but I appreciate those that are.
And so we left and went home to have our Family Meeting, which went swell, thanks.
So... how was YOUR day?
P.S. For the sake of this review, as it were, I just went in and tasted a couple bites of the crab cake. It LOOKS much better, but it's so orange with Old Bay seasoning that I didn't have high expectations for taste. I was right. It's got so much seasoning and fillers that I could not even taste the slightest bit of crabbiness. Not one bit. I'll stick to Uncle Chuck, the fishmonger down at the Farmer's Market, thanks.