Cleopatra's Restaurant - Casual RestaurantFood ☆☆☆☆☆ Ambiance ★★☆☆☆Service ★☆☆☆☆Creativity ★☆☆☆☆ Value ☆☆☆☆☆meal for 2 $30 -35 plus drinks
This was our first visit to Cleopatra's Restaurant. It was a VERY slow Sunday night and the restaurant was almost empty. The restaurant had lots of handwritten signs about free lunch sandwich with purchase of sandwich. As I was entering, these signs made the restaurant appear to be more of a lunch spot than a place to get dinner. The van with the tacky signs was not a good indicator either.
Once inside, the appearance is not too bad. Not great. The restaurant has lots of windows which gives it the fish bowl look and it is hard to mask this. There is a long row of booths not the side towards the open kitchen. This is kind of odd as typically open kitchens are designed to allow the guests to see the kitchen. The wall of booths blocks this view.
The interior is very clean and everything is well maintained. Somewhat stark. We were quickly seated as it was empty....
Service was amateurish. Slow and not attentive to what as happening at the tables. Drinks empty and not refilled. Long time to get served etc. They ran out of many items on the menu and the server was not aware of this. We were told 5 minutes after ordering that they did not have one of the sides. Then 5 minutes later we were informed they had not lamb chops or shanks. A professionally managed restaurant would inform the wait staff on what they do not have for the evening and the customer is told about these as the menu is handed out. Not 10 minutes after you have placed your order. Then to top things off, one dish was served about 5 minutes before the other and the restaurant was empty.
For Dinner, I had the Beef Shawarma with a side of lentils and artichoke and the filo dough stuffed with beef.
Shawarma gets its name from the Turkish word that means turning. This should be a deeply marinated beef on a vertical spit that slowly turns against a grill for hours. The meat is shredded.
The beef Shawarma at Cleopatra's was more like marinated beef stir fried with onions, peppers etc. The flavor was good, but the beef was VERY tough from using a beef cut with high collagen. Collagen is the substance that makes beef tough. Typically this type of beef is cooked for long periods of time with moisture to allow the tough collagen to break down. Cuts of beef with high collagen levels are used in stews. So, good flavor, but too tough. I suspect the Shawarma was left over from the night before as it was very dry on top of being tough.
The sides were quite good. The filo was flaky and well made and the lentils and artichokes were a good combination.
We also had the Kofta Kabobs with falafel and cheese stuffed filo dough.
Kofta is a mixture of minced meats that have spices and onions added. The Koftas as Cleopatras was a mixture of lamb and beef.
This plate was an extreme let down. I hate to write bad reviews as we try to find great local restaurants. Unfortunately, bad meals happen. The Kofta Kabobs were extremely dry and tough. The best way to describe these were rocks. Once again, these Koftas were on the heat for quite some time. Most likely leftovers from the night before that were re-cooked and dried out more.
Next was the Falafels at Cleopatra's. Falafels should be deep fried balls/patties of ground chickpeas and/or fava beans. Egyptian varieties are typically made with fava beens where other countries will use chickpeas. The fava bean variety should have more flavor as this bean is sweeter and richer.
The Falafel was the worse I have ever tasted. The falafels were extremely sour with some bitter notes. I don't know what they added but they should stop. I spit mine out. There are few things that I have eaten that tasted so bad that I had to spit it out. I have eaten Durian fruit several times (world's stinkiest fruit) so for me to spit the falafel out is an indicator of how bad this was. My educated guess is the falafel mixture was made several days ago and it fermented (spoilage from yeast, molds or bacteria) which made it go sour and created the bitter off flavors. The falafels were terrible.
This is the only time we ate here and every restaurant can have a bad night.... but the falafel was not edible and the Kofta was not much better. Bad meal.