Occasionally, The Bitchy Waiter gets to go to a restaurant and have someone fuck up his order for a change. After nearly a score of waiting tables, (as in four score and seven years ago…), the dining experience for me is almost always uncomfortable. I want to help the server; I stack my plates, I never complain, I over tip and God forbid I go out with a large group of people who want to push tables together and all be on separate checks. When I eat out, I spend the whole time overcompensating. Waiting tables has ruined the experience for me. But I went out to dinner a few nights ago.
There was a craving for Chinese food in the homestead so I Googled, Zagated, and CitySearched until I found a place that was highly recommended. The reviews for Hunan Park were good and the price was right, read cheap. It was little bit out of the way but I was feeling adventurous. Why not? Off to the Upper West Side I shall go! With address in hand and salivating for some good orange chicken, my dining partner (none of your beeswax, busy bodies) head to Columbus Avenue and 70th Street. When we get there, we go back and forth on the supposed block and see nothing that serves egg rolls. Every other ethnic restaurant is on that block but not one fucking Chinese place. We look up the address and realize we are standing in front of it, but it is now some lame ass deli that I applied for a job at about three weeks ago. What the fuck? Did Hunan Park up and leave? Never fear, there is another location on 91st Street, only twenty blocks up. We trudged ahead. At 91st street, nuthin’. A grocery store, a post office and a homeless lady who may or may not have been Chinese. We call the mysterious Hunan Park and they say “No! No! Ninety-fifth Street. Five Five!” Four more blocks and we finally behold the wonder that is Hunan Park; the magical mystical Far East heaven that has made me travel all the way from Queens to a neighborhood I didn’t even know the name of. Hunan Park was a dump.
“Well, Zagat gave it a 9 for decor but a 19 for food. It must be good. There’s no one here though, that’s weird.” As we ignored every red flag that was waving before us, we stepped into a place that may as well have been next door to me in Queens. Zagat can not lead us astray, could they? There was an old man sitting at a table with headphones on and a pile of food in front of him. He looked like he could be a close personal friend to the homeless lady at 91st Street. The only other people eating were employees on this fine Friday night. We sat “anywhere” and a waitress threw some water glasses and some chips with duck sauce at us. She looked like she was in a real hurry, like she must have been in the middle of giving a manicure to someone else at the same time. She came back about ten seconds later and said “you ready?” We politely asked for more time so she moved about two feet away from us and stood there staring at us. No pressure or anything, Fawn Lawn Young. It was only 9:30 and they didn’t close until 11:00 so I don’t know what her fucking hurry was. Maybe it was Chinese New Year or something and she needed to go build a dragon mask. We ordered an egg roll (greasy and possibly frozen) and vegetable dumplings (I didn’t try them because they were green and I don’t like green food) for our appetizers. I then ordered pineapple chicken because they didn’t have orange chicken. It came out as some doughy fried chicken with about six cubes of canned pineapple next to it. And a huge bowl of sauce that may as well have been called High Fructose Corn Syrup with MSG. Across from me, my dining companion had a plate of Moo Shoo Chicken that was said to taste like dish soap. Again, I didn’t taste it because I don’t like food that tastes like dish soap. The only decent thing we had were the two bottles of Tsing Tao beer. Perfectly prepared, they were.
The check came along with an orange slice (fancy!) and fortune cookies. I wrapped up my chicken because even though it was horrible, gummy, disgusting and I thought it tasted like shit, a homeless person might want it. We put down $43 dollars and left. No one else came in the whole time we were there except for a group of three who walked in, looked around and left. And another couple who picked up some food to go. Zagat was wrong. They lied to me and owe me $43. How long will it be before I am ready to again venture to the other side of the menu? Days? Weeks? Hunan Park and Zagat just made this bitchy waiter a little bit bitchier.