After multiple mouth watering experiences at Alor Pasta, I could not wait for an opportunity to try their original location, Alor Cafe. Sadly, my experience there fell far below my high expectations. Alor Cafe earned a mere two star Baconboozer rating for their poor, slow, and confused service, and disappointing food and menu.
I went on Saturday night with my best friend, Christina, who I hadn’t seen in months and who was only in Staten Island for one night. So we wanted to pick something special. We made an 8:00 reservation and were seated immediately, directly in front of the stage. The band hadn’t started playing yet, and we were told when they did we could move if it was too loud. Christina and I ordered a glass of Malbec each, and as soon as the band started we had to move as they were extremely loud. Despite moving all the way to the back of the restaurant, I still felt like I had to scream through the whole meal to have a conversation.
Not to the fault of the restaurant, but the menus posted on Yelp or Whereyoueat – where I had done my extensive research – were not up to date. Many of the dishes that I had been excited to try were not listed on Saturday’s menu, such as three cheese mac and cheese, chicken liver mousse, crispy taquitos, or the duck confit, liver sautee, or braised short rib savory crepes. Instead, I found the menu to be underwhelming and uninspired; I had envisioned some adventurous foodie options – hard to find on Staten Island – and found basic and boring food.
I went with the grilled octopus with chorizo appetizer and lamb shank entree; Christina went with the blue cheese panzanella salad (hold the blue cheese) and basa entree. I was disappointed to be told a few minutes after ordering that the octopus was unavailable, and instead went with the duck shawarma. We had finished our glasses of water before switching tables and the glasses were not refilled throughout the entire remainder of the meal. After switching tables, our new waiter seemed overwhelmed and confused.
Christina was happy with her salad, especially the toasted chiabatta. My duck shawarma was ok, but kind of weird. The Singapore sauce was sweet and yummy, but I barely tasted the horseradish and the leafy greens overwhelmed every bite.
The entrees took a while to come out, and we were getting pretty thirsty, but our waters remained empty.
Christina really enjoyed her fish, and I must say it did look good. I found my dish to be sad looking. I wish they would have served the lamb on top of the grits, but instead the huge portion of grits came on the side and were completely bland. The sauce from the lamb could have really helped them out.
By the end of the meal we were unimpressed and uninterested in dessert, and this never happens. I had ordered the crispy prawn buns and seafood crepe to take home to Justin, and that was brought out at the end of our meal. The confused waiter brought us a check and asked us to verify that it was ours, as he was, in fact, very confused for some reason. Luckily for him, it was ours, and we paid and left.
Above are the menus we got; I’m not sure how frequently they change it. The food was decent; the take out I brought to Justin (prawn buns and seafood crepe) might have been the best things we ordered. But nothing was great. And the unfilled water glasses went from being a little annoying halfway through the meal, to being ridiculous by the end. Our waiter was so frazzled and slow with our order that we didn’t even have the chance to ask him for the refill. The loud music was actually pretty good, but not what I had wanted for a long catch up conversation, and it became pretty annoying to have to yell to hear one another. The decor was cozy and cute, but nothing exciting. When compared to its pasta counterpart, this restaurant experience was extremely disappointing. Two stars for you, Alor Cafe.