Wednesday, August 17, 2016

In Englewood, Emma waiter has a bad day and Starbucks is a mess

Emma Restaurant in Englewood has a comfortable waiting area, but I found only a couple of other tables occupied when I had lunch there with a friend on Tuesday.


I had a wonderful dinner of beautifully composed pan-Latino dishes at Emma Restaurant in Englewood in May 2015, but didn't return until I met a friend there for lunch on Tuesday.

The restaurant was nearly empty.

Still, the waiter was having a bad day after serving a half-dozen spoiled teenagers who left behind a mess on their tables and on the dining room floor. 

Yes, he said, sit anywhere you like.

When I saw a seafood salad listed on the lunch menu for $18, I asked whether the dish was a ceviche -- raw seafood cooked in lime juice.

No, he said emphatically, he knew ceviche well, even caught fish and made the dish in his native Ecuador.

No. Certainly not ceviche, but good.

I ordered the Baby Kale Salad with brioche croutons and shaved Parmigiano in a Caesar dressing, and my friend chose Choripan, chorizo or pork sausage sandwiches in a chimichurri emulsion with french fries ($10 each).

When I asked for the check, our server showed us an image on his phone, said the total was $21.50 and asked how much of a tip we wanted to leave.

I said $4, and he said he could email me the receipt. Then, he disappeared.

I wrote down my email address on a pad at the front desk and waited almost 10 minutes for him to come out of the kitchen so I could give it to him.

More than a day later, I haven't received an email receipt.

Coffee at Starbucks

Across the street at Starbucks, the front counter where we placed our order for medium-roast black coffee was covered in crumbs, and the only empty table we found also was a mess.

The baristas were so busy handling the crush of customers they ignored basic housekeeping.

My consolation prize was a Cheese & Fruit Bistro Box ($4.95) I took home free, using rewards on my Starbucks card.

I've eaten a lot of kale, but never tasted anything as tender or as delicious as the baby kale in Emma's salad.

My friend filled up on the tasty Choripan, but couldn't finish the fries.


Emma Restaurant, 34 E. Palisade Ave., Englewood; 201-227-6103. BYO, metered parking on street or in a municipal garage about a block and a half away.

See post on our May 2015 dinner: Art on the plate

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