So as we eat our way through the Lehigh Valley Good Taste list of restaurants, we are discovering one thing: Lehigh Valley standards of fine cooking are variable from the rest of the country.
We have had some delicious meals here, absolutely. Shula's, Emeril's, Pearly Baker's - there are a lot. But some things widely considered here to be fancy fine dining are just sort of crappy and not worth the money. At least to us.
Gibby had been talking about tapas with a coworker because when we lived in DC, there was a wonderful tapas restaurant where we loved to eat. Not a lot of ethnic diversity in this area results in few opportunities for tapas. His coworker recommended a place in Belfast, PA called Miguel's, which happens to be on the 25 Restaurant List we're eating through. We had to be up that way anyway yesterday, so we decided to eat there. Before we left, I looked them up online. Miguel's was previously called Casa del Mar, and seemed to have had a cult following. I was intrigued.
And then I was disappointed. It was awful. Not even remotely worth the money. The food was terrible, the place smelled weird, and the service was lacking. And the bread! How can you screw up bread? It was stale and yeasty. Even my Sprite had been filtered wrong and was mostly carbonated water. SPRITE! When the last of the tapas came out, my heart sank when I saw the fried eggplant:
It basically consisted of three too-thick rounds of eggplant that had been SOAKED in vegetable oil topped with wilted basil, raw tomato, and flavorless cheese. It was completely inedible from all of the oil. The waitress asked if I wanted to take it home with me and I told her very politely that I did not like it at all. She just kind of shrugged and cleared the table. Awesome service, guys. Way to make your patrons want to come back!
So. Complete waste of money. Never going back. Makes me wonder about the standards of the other restaurants on this list. We'll probably continue to try them out because it's a nice way to continue getting to know our area, but I hope they aren't all as crappy as Miguel's.