A running rant about bad television, crappy products, horrible service, mindless politics, corporate and government ineptitude, moronic media, marketing overload, public idiocy, stupid entertainment, etc. Here's what's annoying me today:


Icy Martinis and Bad Fish

OK, enough politics for a while. Back to more important things.

Like why can't the new trendy martini restaurant in my town figure out how to make a martini that isn't full of ice chunks? Any why are they only half full?

It's not like we get out to trendy martini bars very often with two little kids. Maybe we aren't up on all the trends. Like we know it's correct to serve red wine in a much oversized glass, so it can breath (or some such nonsense), but when did this become true of martinis? And it's not like this was an oversized glass. It was just a much undersized martini.

And what's with the ice chunks? This restaurant, Mandrake in Beverly, is very cool, great atmosphere, and has been open about a year. We tried it out when it first opened and had the exact same experience with the drinks. Gave them a pass because it had only been open a week. But by now, I'd think they should know how to make a martini correctly. I mean, I wouldn't expect a perfect martini at a beer joint, or at the 99, but when you have a martini menu, you should be able to make a fucking martini without shards of ice in it.

And then there is the tuna problem. I am a bit of a tuna snob. Tuna can only be cooked one way: RARE. The best tuna dishes I've ever had were cooked by a chef named Brian Kilroy who worked at the late, great Love Noodle in Salem, and then hopped around to several other restaurants on the North Shore. It was perfect every time. Seared, sliced, and served over asian noodles and vegetables in a killer soy wasabi sauce. If you ordered it any other way than RARE, he would refuse to make it. He was the Tuna Nazi.

Mandrake's tuna appetizer was cooked correctly, but it seemed like it was prepared between a few hours and a few days before it was served. Yuck.

So while we will probably give Mandrake another chance at some point, it is on a 6-month probation for shitty drinks and stale tuna. One of our other favorite North Shore restaurants, Finz in Salem is also on a 1-year tuna probation for the bland, overthick, seared on only one side slab I got there this summer. Rare tuna is good, but a two inch thick piece of raw fish with no flavor is not.

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Blogger Trustee of Truth said...

This is where my WASP heritage shines. A properly made martini will always have a thin layer of fractured ice floating ever so gracefully on top. That is of course unless it’s stirred, however that is more of a gin specialty. At least this is how I was taught as a child to make my parents martinis. Additionally, the glass should be filled with crushed ice to cool while the shaking progresses and the Vodka is always kept in the freezer. Then once the very cold martini is pored into the very cold glass an integrated martini system or IMS has been achieved. In today’s modern establishments, the principles of IMS are rarely deployed. Typically bartenders serve martinis in room temperature glasses and shake room temperature liquids for only a few seconds. This will never enable the ice to fracture since it’s already started the melting process. The lesson here is never to expect a truly marvelous martini unless you make it yourself or better yet, teach your children to make them for you.

4:56 PM

Blogger Cranky said...

Well, I have been making them myself alot recently, and I ALWAYS keep my vodka in the freezer. Come to think of it, my enjoyment of a martini made in a bar has deteriorated just as my own experience of making them at home has improved. Hmm. Still, I have never been annoyed by ice shards in a martini at an upscale establishment, as I have at Mandrake.

8:47 PM

Anonymous Anonymous said...

it seems that every trendy bar in Chicago (where I am) has this notion that you should shake the hell out of a martini, and it is very annoying. Bartenders are being trained by other bad bartenders, and they think it is normal and totally fine to pour 1.5 shots into a metal shaker, shake for 15 seconds, and throw it out into a warm glass. This is a generalization, but I find that bartenders at "beer bars" tend to be much more knowledgeable on alcohaul and beer, and actually care about what they are setting down in front of you. More than anything, i think the main ingredient in a good martini is the person who is making it, and how much they care about the drink, their passion in their profession, and their knowledge of the product they are serving. Recently, I found a great local bartender at a place close by my house. he made the martini exactly the way i requested, and then set the shaker on the table with the leftover liquid he could not fill into my already-full glass. 2 min later, he walked over, and refilled the damn thing. he also was happy to inform me that 3 hours before I came in, he was stuffing his olives with blue cheese, and other ones with anchovies. Not my cup of tea, but I really felt good about ordering a drink from him again.

3:19 PM


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