I recently wrote a review on Yelp about my experience at Blue Nile Ethiopian Cuisine.
Synopsis: I don't like Ethiopian food. Not even a little bit.
The owner contacted me and was disheartened by my review and was worried that it would hurt his business.
I, too, have a small business and I know what its like to try to survive in this economy.
He offered to give me a free meal if I would come back and try it again.
I believe in honesty, and honestly?
You couldn't even pay me to go back. So.. what do I do?
Delete my review? edit out all the honest criticism?
I decided to keep my review short and sweet on Yelp, and post how I REALLY feel right here.
Which is this.
"So I'm feeling like a huge outsider among all these rave reviews.
I like to consider myself as someone who enjoys interesting dishes and flavors from around the world. I read nearly every review before I agreed to dine at Blue Nile last month. My health-conscious and ultra-zen yoga instructor friend invited me to join her family and close friends for her birthday here.
The atmosphere was alright, the menu was long and even after I read the descriptions of menu items I still wasn't quite sure what I was getting. There's no pictures at all on there, so luckily I had visited this site and was able to see some user-uploaded pictures so I knew what to expect.
I started off with the equivalent of a samosa. It was a crispy fried meat pocket. The outer shell was the best part, as the meat inside appeared and tasted just like ground beef with some ground water chestnuts and spices. They were nice and hot and fairly spicy. The flavor was not anything to write home about. The meat pockets were fist-sized and PACKED with beef. I wished they had a little more SOMETHING to them or weren't packed quite so tightly. The sauce that is served on the side was too spicy for me.
I ordered the veggie combo in order get the whole Ethiopian experience. What arrived was a gigantic platter with a spongy, bitter, crepe-like tortilla topped with different piles of unrecognizable mush. Actually, I shouldn't say that. I did recognize the bland salad in the middle and the pile of super-soft green beans. The rest was a mystery.
I can honestly say it started out pretty fun swiping blobs of mush from all the different piles and experiencing all the foreign flavors. The fun stopped as I got to the third pile and I began to notice that I didn't really like anything I'd had so far. I went ahead and tried the last couple pureed blobs and was ultimately disappointed. My top three piles were the yellow mush (I think it contained cauliflower or peas), the buttery spinach slop, and those green beans I mentioned earlier.
The girl who sat next to me got the meat combo. She said she enjoyed her food but that it was all very spicy. She said she had wished one of her dishes had been milder so that she could give her mouth a break. I spied a freaky rubbery-looking egg on her plate that came with her chicken. She hadn't touched it. I probably wouldn't have either.
I was hoping that the crepe bread would be good so I could just snack on that, but it was so disappointing that I literally felt sick toward the end. I packed up my leftovers in a box and brought them home to my husband to see what he thought.
It took me about 40 minutes to leave since the only staff member there was swamped. (She was great and super helpful, but she really needed some help there) My total after tip came to $20 and being a poor college student I felt sick spending that much money just on myself on food that wasn't amazing (or even good at all for that matter)
When I presented it to my husband at the end of the night I explained my interpretation of each of the leftover piles of slog as he tried each one and carefully evaluated the flavors and textures. He maybe gave it five minutes before we agreed that it was terrible and tossed it in the trash.
I guess the most disturbing part was that throughout our meal everyone at the table would ask each other how their food was and they all said it was really good! How could I be the only person who doesn't like this food? I like Thai food, Indian food, sushi, Mexican food, basically anything! I love food! But this stuff? Every time I think about eating it again I literally lose my appetite.
I'm probably not going to give Ethiopian food another go probably ever, but this place was really really busy, so SOMEBODY likes it, and maybe that somebody is about to be you. Good luck!!"