not-so-good eats: sinbad’s

November 30, 2012 |

Y’know, maybe I’m starting to see what those one-percenters are always whining about: sometimes it’s tough to be spoiled. Now, I’m not saying I totally get it: I haven’t felt the pain of paying taxes on my $12 billion’s worth of assets, nor do I claim to know the moral agonizing that goes into the decision of: to insider trade or not? But… I’ve eaten a lot of good Arabic food.

The disappointing meal.

Okay, so the parallel between the experience of being filthy rich and having eaten a lot of food—no matter the cuisine—is a tenuous one. But in both instances someone ends up making a big deal about something that no one else imagined was even an issue. “Wait—my bonus is only two million dollars? It was supposed to be two point five! What a disappointment.” Or, in my case, “Really, this lentil soup just doesn’t have the right balance of spices to be perfectly complemented by a squeeze of fresh lemon juice. What a disappointment.”

What I’m getting to is: Sinbad’s was kind of a letdown. I got a minty yogurt drink, a yellow lentil soup, and an eggplant sandwich, and my dining companions and I shared appetizers of hummus, tabouleh, and baba ganoush. Let’s start with the positives: the tabouleh, baba ganoush, and yogurt drink were all pretty good. I’m easily pleased by baba ganoush, and Sinbad’s did theirs right: it had a rich, smoky flavor imparted by the eggplant and was made with plenty of olive oil, making for a rich appetizer. The tabouleh was well-made, too. It was fresh-tasting, with lots of parsley, small pieces of juicy tomato, and not too much bulgar. Finally, the yogurt beverage was yummy. I could barely taste the mint (unfortunately), but the tart, lemony flavor of the yogurt was well-complemented by the saltiness of the drink (if you think a salty beverage sounds like a weird thing, remember how good Bloody Marys are).

Unfortunately, the negatives outweighed the positives of my mealtime experience. The falafel had a good texture, but was totally bland; ditto the hummus, which needed more tahini or possibly more salt—it was completely uninteresting. The soup was bland. The sandwich was bland. I have had fantastic yellow lentil soups before, and this version was completely forgettable. the sandwich was dominated by lettuce (yum!), with only a tiny bit of eggplant in it, and the flatbread was verging on stale. Also, as good as my yogurt beverage was, why couldn’t I taste any mint!?

I definitely didn’t dislike Sinbad’s enough not to go back, but if I I return to find my next meal similarly lacking in flavor and nuance, I’ll write it off completely.

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Category: Zocalo Hannah