Thursday, February 22, 2007

Don't Eat It - Barton G, 1427 West Ave., Miami Beach, FL 305-672-8881 (Why do I bother with the info when I'm telling you not to eat it?)

"Barton G can be summed up by saying the following: beautiful venue, stupid food."
-James Norton

If you're looking for a tourist trap rip-off with rude service, Barton G is the place for you. I know what you're thinking: "But Colin, how can the piss-poor service, with side order of 'tude, I normally receive on South Beach get any worse?" Barton G epitomizes the "I'm entitled to a huge tip because I work at a trendy restaurant and I really want to be a model/outsourcer to India/China and I wear big sunglasses and True Religion jeans" mentality that permeates Miami-Dade county.

Cocktails -

"Oh cool, there's a chocolate monkey on my martini glass." - my friend Dan
"Actually, that's a chimpanzee." - the busboy

My friend and PhD student (and bio major in college), Jeff, upon hearing this anecdote asked me "did it have a tail?" to which I replied "yes". Well, Jeff pointed out, and I double checked , that chimpanzees are not monkeys, and monkeys have tails, apes (gorillas and chimpanzees) do not, so not only was the busboy's reply rude, but it was incorrect. That's doubly insulting.

The Wine -

"We'll have the La Crema." - me
"May I suggest something a little better?" - our waiter

Uh, excuse me? Am I the customer in this situation? I would have left the restaurant at this point, had there not been out of town guests dining with us that evening. As seems to be the usual course of action at Barton G, the waiter suggested a $90 bottle of wine, when I had ordered one that merely cost $60. Tacky!

The Appetizers -

"Oh, you simply MUST try the popcorn shrimp." - everyone

The popcorn shrimp is an insult to one's intelligence. A small handful of breaded shrimp that would be better at Long John Silver's is presented ever so cleverly on...who'd have thunk it...popcorn! What creative genius came up with that one?

Overall we found the appetizers to be overpriced, long on show, and short on substance. The plates and trays on which the meals are served take up far more room on the table than is necessary, and so the feeling of having the contents of your wallet dumped out is heightened. Maybe that's one of the sensory experiences they are trying to pull off.

The Main Course -

I actually don't remember what I had. It was some sort of southwestern-style fish, and it was actually quite delicious, but the experience was so unpleasant that I don't recall enjoying it very much. It's irrelevant at this point.

The Dessert -

My brother, as he often does, asked the waiter for his recommendation, and guess what, he suggested the most expensive food item on the menu. Wow, I'm soooooo surprised. It was a chocolate fondue that cost maybe $85-90. I'm not 100% sure and the Barton G website doesn't list prices. I'm not bothering to put the link on this review.

Just before we asked for the check, our waiter was magically transformed into an attentive and polite individual. Amazing how that happened, hmmm...

You might just feel like the victim of a mugging at the end of your meal at Barton G. I think I'll end this one with some more James Norton words of wisdom:

"If I were you, I would definitely take the time to visit Hofbrau Haus. Have a big beer. Then go to Miss Yip's for dinner..."

But instead of "I would definitely take the time to visit Hofbrau Haus" insert "I would not visit Barton G" and instead of "Have [an expensive martini]" insert "don't set foot inside of Barton G".

Barton G. The Restaurant on Urbanspoon

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