Monday, October 13, 2008

Fickle Freakout at Farouks

On Friday, I took my bike to Carytown on lunch break. I walked the whole length of the shopping district and couldn't decide on a bite to eat. Each place I considered offered too much uncertainty. I wanted something familiar, predictable, and fuss-free. That's right, Indian buffet at Farouks.

Wait, what?! Haven't I talked endless smack about that place being one of Richmond's worst restaurants? Well, I just wanted to calibrate my suck-o-meter. And what better than guaranteed suckiness, for such a task? Also, I was kinda punishing myself for being so fickle.

The lunch buffet at Farouks is $7.99. They always have a saag, tandoori chicken wings, a bean dish (like daal or chole), a chicken and a veggie currie, rice, raita, iceburg lettuce salad, and a few watered down chutneys. Is this making you hungery? Along with these dishes, you get the worst naan bread ever created. In fact, most of the dishes are in league with the bread. This was true eight years ago, when I ate this stuff without employing any criticism. And it's still true today. Blechhh.

But somehow, a buffet is generally cut some slack in the quality department, because... oh, that shame inducing quantitiy factor makes it hard to criticize after eating so damned much of it. Which leads me to my point. I wanna speak my piece, even after I've been served and asked for seconds and maybe with my mouff full.

I go up to pay the man who's running the register.

So, I've noticed that a lot of businesses are closing on Cary Street.

"Yes. It's true."

Are you worried?


I never see anyone eating in here whenever I come in. Are you doing enough business?

"We will be alright. There is nothing to worry about."

They say the rents are too high in Carytown.

"Yes, that's right."

You must own your building.

"Yes. So we are safe."

(c'mon Jason. Tell him he'd be better than safe if he'd serve better food.)

See ya.

"Have a nice day."

Okay, so I didn't exactly stand and deliver my true feelings. That was gutless. Now I've just got a belly full of regrets to show for that little experiment. In case I didn't clarify it well enough. Nothing's new under the sun at Farouks. It's still amazingly bland and boring. Someone out there will probably correct me and point out that Northwestern Indian cuisine tends to use fewer spices or some such enlightenment. But I don't care. I just want to see the natural selection that's thinning out Carytown zero in on those places that are truly deserving of extinction.

To clense my palate, I'm headed to the Festival of India next weekend. You should too.


  1. The Festival of India is so good! Of course, I have a hard time limiting my samosa intake... ;)


  2. Brie,
    I'd be surprised if the samosas at the festival will be as good as Bombay Grocery. But I can recommend this. We get it every year:

  3. Neither you nor Brie, being veggies, would like them but the BEST somosas I have ever had were from street vendors in London. Usually lamb, although I wouldn't bet money on any of the ingredients, you could get these from street carts or (and these I thought were the best) from random window stalls (literally just a window on the street where you could buy all manner of 'walking' food). They could be a bit messy with tumeric coloured oil running all over your hands and wrists while trying to eat. Yummy.


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