Thursday, November 6, 2008

Worst. Meal. Ever.

Before we get into the review I would like to say that Michele and I made it safely to New Brunswick and are having lots of fun.

As many northern travelers know it is always an adventure to eat in a restaurant or hotel in any community in Nunavut and can lead to many colourful stories. In my food adventures no matter how bad the meal seemed there is always something that drags the experience out of the barrel and makes me think that this bad meal was a fluke. In the case of the Water’s Edge restaurant at the Nova hotel it was so bad that I left a big tip just for the shear amusement of the disaster and the story I had to tell. Let us begin.


Things started out bad the moment I walked in and realized I had left my wallet upstairs in my hotel room and had to leave to go get it. This was not an inconvenience since I was only standing at the “please be seated” sign for 15 minutes and no one had seated me yet anyway. So on my return and another 15 minutes of waiting (I was just turning to leave to go to a different restaurant) the “person who seats you” came to escort me to my table. I should have kept turning.

Lucky for me the “person who seats you” left a menu to occupy the next 30 minutes of my life. A note to anyone who runs a restaurant: If the area you are doing business in has three official languages (Inuktitut, English and French) try to have at least one of those languages somewhere on the menu to describe what you’re serving.

I watched the waiter and water girl walk by me and never once even looked in my direction and I was ignored when I said “excuse me” several times. Friends and family know that I am not someone who blends into a crowd and that I start losing my patience and good humour if left hungry to long. At this time I was just pushing my chair back from the table of invisibility when the “person who seats you” came by and asked if anyone had waited on me. Once again I should have done what the people on two other tables had done and leave but alas I decided to wait it out. The waiter finally appeared and described the special which I decided to order since I couldn't read the language the menu was in. Appetizer of Cesar salad followed by the main course of steak and potatoes and concluded with a desert. They used a fancy name for the main course but it was just steak and potatoes. I guess the fancy name is why they charged $50 for this meal.


Before the appetizer arrived the buss boy came over and offered my some water. If I had known it was the only glass I was going to get I wouldn't have drank it so fast. He also left a bowl of bread. I thought finally we can start and since I was very hungry I grabbed a piece and bit down on it. I immediately had to check to see if I lost any teeth. This bowl of bread had to have been around since Jesus was a cowboy. At least 10 minutes after this incident the appetizer arrived.

A Cesar salad is my favourite salad. It is the salad that all other types of salad look up to in envy. A Cesar salad can be played around with but must contain lettuce, croutons, bacon bits and Cesar dressing. Some would even say that parmesan cheese should be a must and I almost agree. A Cesar salad should also have a lemon wedge close at hand. What I was served was not a Cesar salad. It was a pile of lettuce with mozzarella cheese grated on top and drowned in Cesar dressing. NOTHING ELSE.

I was lied to on the first course of the meal. Every instinct was screaming for me to just pay for a portion of the meal and leave but I did not. The travesty continues with the main course.


After another long wait the main course arrives. At first look not to bad. The steak looked good the one lonely, diced potato was there and there was two pieces of broccoli floating in a sauce that looked like yellow bile. mmmmm I have eaten things that looked worse so I dipped a finger in and tasted it. Turns out it didn’t have a taste and its only purpose seemed to be to distract me from the mushy broccoli. The potato was undercooked with a couple of pieces hard and cold. At least the gravy was passable.

I was just about to cut into the steak when the bus boy started to clean the table beside me. The smell of Windex drifting across from the table is just what I needed with my meal. *sigh*. I had asked to have my steak cooked medium. When ordering steak at a restaurant be prepared for different than what you ordered because it all depends on the chefs idea of what medium is. I only asked the waiter to make sure the blood wasn’t squirting out of the steak. Well the blood didn’t squirt out so I can’t fault the cook for that but the steak should have been cooked on both sides. I don’t know how they did it but the steak was the consistency of boot leather. Trying to cut a piece of was like sawing through a 2x4 with a handsaw and it was like chewing bubblegum. I was so disappointed and disheartened that I didn’t even complain.

You will note that in the above paragraph I didn’t say chef I said “...fault the cook for…” I will explain that at the end of this review.


I stayed for desert because how can you screw up dessert in the north. Most of the desserts here are thawed and kept in a refrigerator until ready. This is not a bad thing because they taste great. In fact the desert I was served did taste great and there was nothing wrong with it except I had to eat if with a soup spoon.

Another note to all restaurants: If you are going to put out all the fancy silverware then you should leave it with the customer so they can use them. My waiter gathered up the forks and knifes and left me with a soup spoon and the dessert. I normally would have asked for the desert fork back but given the experience with the other courses I figured I was lucky to have at least the soup spoon.


The only part of the meal that was over quickly was the paying. The waiter was all over that. I spent a total time in the restaurant of around 2 hours. In act III I mentioned cook instead of chef because the next night over dinner at the Discovery Hotel I talked about the horrible meal I had and one of my table mates leaned over and whispered that the chef for the Waters Edge was in jail. My stomach turned several times because I couldn't figure out who would have been cooking.

The Discovery Hotel meal was excellent and much appreciated after the Waters edge debacle. For a review of the Discovery Hotel restaurant please go to the blog Qanuippit for this post. She has a better gift for words than I.


Anonymous said...

Wow! That's really a shame considering how new the Nova is relative to the other hotels. I've stayed there a couple times but I've never eaten there. I was actually disappointed that I hadn't eaten there yet since I've had a meal at least once at each of the other Iqaluit hotels. But after reading this it sounds like I should be counting myself lucky.

Anonymous said...

Who was cooking? Why it had to be the sous chef.

I'll strike that restaurant off my list for the week after next.

Kennie said...

Holy Cow! That is insane! Last time I ate at the Water's Edge it was pretty good - pricey, but good. Guess I made it there before the Chef's little 'vacation'.

Have a fun vacation - envious of you down in NB!

KOTN said...

I had a similar experience after they just opened, and have only been back for Italion buffet... mostly. The only other time, there was a waitress who recognizes us from another restaurant, and we were treated pretty well by her. I guess it is who you know... and always bring a cute well-behaved baby.

I hear mixed reviews of that place, I tend to stick to Chinese Food and Beers, or The Hotel.

Kate Nova said...

Its a totally mismanaged place. Drives me craaaaaaazy.

jen said...

I totally know what you mean, I did a breakfast there once and I had to finally walk into the kitchen to ask if the place was even open, apparently it was, so I requested a waitress who promptly sat us and then left for 10 years.

I can't much say I liked the Discovery all that much more especially because they absorbed my meal tickets from first air during dinner the previous evening (where I also had some leather steak) and then closed at 9am to prepare for Lunch service. Who stops breakfast service at 9am? Who stops service at all really?

I thought I envied those living with restaurants in Iqaluit, but really they have their own issues to deal with, mainly being you have to mortgage your house to go out for dinner. lol

Aida said...

haha, i thought it was the Nova. Frank had a bad experience but I wanted to see for myself, had breakfast there and it was only me and the kids there but it took them so damn long to serve my food and the waitress had the nerve to say my table was "messy" cause Ava had her crayons on the floor, WTF?. i wont go there again, perhaps i should blog about my experience there.

the sad thing is the rooms at Nova are really nice. I've not been to the restaurant at Discovery but Frank says it much nicer but more expensive.

The Frob's rest isnt any better, they used to be great but they are so understaffed now that its crazy, very poorly managed now. If there is any consolation, the Frob serves a great breakfast, imo.

Anonymous said...

OMG Dad....
That was a really good post, you had my laughing so hard I had tears.
Keep em coming!

Shelley said...

It's a crap shoot here, we had nearly the identical experience at the Discovery...except we didn't get the dinner rolls!