Retro Baltimore: 50 things we miss

Rave gone wrong

Shallow Thought Wednesday guru John Lindner sends news of a restaurant that did not live up to its billing. He wonders: "Was it me?" Here's John. LV

We hit Mimi’s Café in Elkridge after hearing raves.

Mimi’s styles itself as a New Orleans/French café, and Lord knows it was hot and muggy enough outside to be Louisiana.

But inside Mimi’s?

Their iced tea was good! It tasted like tea.

The pasta dish was nearly bland. My companion had a burger which she liked a lot. They did get her request for medium rare right; that alone wins extra points. And the thing came with bacon, so that’s sort of seals the goodness deal. The artichoke and spinach dip (we’d heard special raves about it) was OK.

Besides my immediate company, the most fun I had was people watching. In that sense, Mimi’s was not without character(s). There was a guy in a booth near ours who was laying some convincing war stories on his kids. I don’t know how they were receiving the tales, but I wanted to lean in closer and listen in. And there was a woman with a Joan Cusack thing going on. Her expressions ran a scale from impatient annoyance to fawning bonhomie. What a delight to watch the transformations.

Our server was competent, giggly. The bartender seemed disgruntled and possibly coming down off something … or still on the wrong thing: he frowned a lot and appeared to be very busily doing nothing.

My guess: Mimi’s has a long menu that has (may have) a short list of things they do well. (Muffins? Anybody know?) That or it really is just a step sideways from Applebee’s. Not to slight Applebee’s; it’s a perfect example of its niche.

Had our raver’s characterized the place as a glorified “family restaurant” chain, I’d have gone in with lowered expectations. I’d have cleaved to what appeared to be their specialties. Maybe I’d have left without the bitter taste of … not disappointment (it wasn’t that bad, just not … ravey) … yeah, actually, disappointment.

Was it me? Did I miss something?

I don’t want to smash a place because on one random shot it didn’t live up to billing.

Photo by Mary Margaret Webster courtesy Stock Xchng

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