Underwhelmed by the County General
Today was our second time going to The County General and the first time I’ve actually had the opportunity to write a review. Unlike what others have said about The County General, I just couldn’t see what the hype was all about. In fact, it seems as though we came on an off night. The service was tepid and the food was mediocre.
For starters, we got the roasted bone marrow, which was served with two pieces of bread and grated cheese. Dunking bits of the bread inside the marrow and sprinkling some of the cheese on top was quite delicious. Overall, It tasted fine - if a bit greasy - and was probably the best part of our meal.
Next, we had the Chicken sandwich, which MOTL had with the fried egg, and the burger, which I ordered with cheese. When I took a bite of the chicken sandwich, all I tasted was a mouthful of salt. I almost spat out the bite I had because the saltiness was too overwhelming. For me, then, it was a thumbs down. According to MOTL, though, you needed to bite into the sandwich with the avocado chutney and the cilantro to counter the chicken’s saltiness; he claimed that it was “almost a bit” too salty for him but that otherwise, it was fine. He added that it would taste better if he was drunk. This, of course, isn’t exactly the most ringing endorsement.
The burger itself was…okay. To be honest, I feel like the char that formed on the outside of the patty obscured the taste of the beef. For the first few bites, *all* I could taste was the char. When doused with their homemade ketchup, the burger tasted better. The cheese also added more flavour. It wasn’t the worst burger I’ve ever had but it certainly was far from being the best. At $16 ($14 + $2 extra for the cheese), this burger was a tad overpriced. I almost wish I’d ordered the steak frites, which the people next to me had; at $4 more, the servings were more sizeable and the steak actually looked quite good.
What left a bad impression for me, though, was the poor service. The woman who was working tonight was quite nice and friendly and consistently checked on her customers. The man, though, embodied the worst of Queen West hipsterism. (Can I also add that it is SUCH a cliche that he was not only decked in plaid but could be overheard from across the room talking to his friends about his band? There is nothing wrong with this per se but come check up on your tables every once in a while, you know? Ugh). He didn’t really check our table and didn’t refill our water jug even after we asked him twice. He forgot the order of steamed pork buns that the couple next to us asked for; when they couple called him on it, he shrugged and issued a half-hearted apology. While we were wrapping up our meal, a couple that came in inquired how long they needed to wait for a table. He wasn’t entirely responsive; after the couple asked him whether a table would be ready in 30 minutes, he said drolly, “something like that,” shrugged, and walked away.
Again, maybe it was an off-night, but the combination of the poor service, the mediocre food, and the fact that the servings didn’t offer good value for money makes me disinclined to return.