Sunday, April 1, 2012

Pura Vida Was Lacking

Last night we dined at Brandt Evan's Pura Vida in downtown for the first time, and overall we had a poor experience. I know that it has become a popular lunch spot for people that work in the area. Has anyone else had positive or negative experiences with dinner service? I was a little surprised.

First off, it was dead for a Saturday night. We easily got a 7:00PM reservation just the day before, and at no point was the dining room full. When we left around 9:00, it was mostly empty.

I saw some comments on Foursquare that the service was lacking, and that certainly was what happened with our table of six as well. Our server was absent most of the evening, with a significant wait to place our order and long lags between ordering and receiving food and drinks. We even watched "R's" beer sit at the bar for over 10 minutes before she brought it to the table. Keep in mind that they weren't slammed, and appeared to be adequately staffed. When she was around, she was pretty short with us but no notable attitude.

The meal didn't start off well with us discovering that some of the glassware on our table had visible lip marks on them. Gross.

But, on to the food. I ordered a cup of the Shrimp and Corn Chowder ($5) with oyster crackers and old bay seasoning. It was served lukewarm, and needed a lot more seasoning. It was pretty bland, but had potential. "R" and I shared the Duck Confit jar with balsamic onions, goat cheese, and thyme served with grilled bread and shaved local radish ($12). This was the only dish that we enjoyed. The concept is that the contents of the different jars can be used as a spread or dip.

For the main course, I ordered the Scallop special that came with four scallops and a mushroom spaetzel. As soon as it hit the table, I could see that the scallops were overcooked. Yup, totally dried out and they had taken on a gummy texture. The spaetzel was nothing special, and lacking any real flavor. The scallops were piping hot (first thing of the night), but the spaetzel was barely warm. "R" ordered the BBQ Duck Confit with jalapeno scallion mac and cheese with a Kentucky bourbon BBQ sauce ($24). The duck was tender and had a nice crispy skin, but the one thigh was a very small portion for the price. Also, the mac and cheese side reminded me of a certain boxed brand with bread crumbs tossed on top.

Am I totally off-base here? Anyone else have a similar experience? I usually believe in second chances, but this experience really left me not wanting to go back. Nothing was so terrible that it was worth tracking management down, but just overall it was a let down. It was pricey for what we received in portion size and quality, and I kind of don't care to try it again. What do you think?

Pura Vida
170 Euclid Avenue
Cleveland, OH 44114


Suzanne said...

I do like going there for lunch but it's been awhile because we have had some seriously lacking servers the last few times. We also decided if we go back, we're sitting at the bar.

I do love their cobb salad though. And I usually like the shrimp and corn chowder.

Live2cookathome said...

We took some out of town friends (8 of us total) a month ago and had a great meal. The duck nachos and buffalo style crispy pigs ears were can't miss starters. The chick pea jar was pretty good too. I tried multiple of the entrees and they were all good, although I don't remember any except my pork chop, which was great. Our service wasn't great but our server was just green, they weren't rude or overly inattentive. Sorry you had a bad experience. It's worth going back for the pig ears and nachos, if nothing else.

Jen @ Why CLE? said...

I still haven't gotten there, although this review makes me think about taking it off my "must try" list...

Alana said...

been there a handful of times for lunch - the food has always been good but the service has flat out sucked. long wait, rude/un-interested/non-personable servers.

Terry said...

I took some friends there the other night and had a great time. One of my friends is a vegetarian, the other isn't. They said it was the only place where they could both get a great meal. Don't judge the place on one night. Public square still needs some life pumped into it. I'd recommend trying it again.