October 21st, 2005

Tom Lehrer is Smug

alas for the meat faucet

I have fallen out of love with the Midwest Grill.

It's not like the place has become a roach motel or nothing, but the all-you-can-eat Brazilian barbecue churrascariafest is no longer the Oh My God You've Gotta Go There destination that it was back in 2002. That was back when Lynn, Grog, Jan, Jammer and I (in any combination) would routinely meet for meat. We nicknamed it The Meat Faucet for its copious amounts of hot and cold running barbecued goods, brought to your table and carved just for you by handsome Brazilian lads. I admit I haven't gone too often in 2005, and maybe just a few times in '04, but for a while, babe, the Meat Faucet was where it was at.

Perhaps the place grew too large for its britches (I remember before they converted the second dining room to the buffet, and you had to walk around other diners in the front room to get to the side dishes.) Or perhaps it's because in the past three years, other churrascarias have manifested themselves in Metro Boston like the Green Field, Cafe Belo and Cafe Brazil, and so the Midwest is no longer the best by virtue of being unique. Or perhaps it's the sign outside advertising valet parking.

All I know is that when folks came from out of town, as soon as we had determined their dietary preferences, those with a carnivore bent were immediately taken to the Midwest. And so it was last night, with the Berg Sisters in town, that I found myself over at the former meat mecca, and something was off. I'm just not sure exactly what -- no, wait, I can perfectly sum up the problem.

They're no longer serving their delicious mashed potatoes.

You don't understand! This is heresy!

The mashed potatoes at the Midwest were of a particular brand of delicious. For some reason they went so well with the rare sirloin and even the lamb. I love eating a forkful of meat and potatoes IN THE VERY SAME BITE so you can tell I was quite smitten with this delicacy. But why were they so special? What made them so good? Lynn eventually determined that the potatoes were made with just a hint of beef stock. Ah ha!

But alas, them taters is no more. Lynn told me they haven't had the potatoes for ages now. I dimly recall not eating the potatoes the last time I went, but I seem to recall thinking it was only an anomaly. They're just out of potatoes tonight. There'll be more next time. But no.

There will be no more potatoes.

Your starchy options at the Midwest Grill side dish buffet are now limited to extra-glutenous rice and roast new potatoes (if there were plantains around, I didn't see em.) The rice is good, and I ate quite a bit, but ... no.. It's no mashed potatoes.

"What if you could make 'em at home with instant potato flakes and beef bouillon?" Lynn asked.

"That's not the point!" I scowled, turning a forkful of rice upside down over the plate.

Additionally, while the kielbasa at the Midwest last night was very delicious as usual, the other sausages were terribly overdone to the point of being crunchier'n breakfast links. Didn't care too much for the lamb last night, either, and the chicken (as always) was very dry. Wouldn't have been as dry if there had been, say, mashed potatoes. So in conclusion, blah blah potatoes blah blah rar potatoes snuh snuh snuh whats taters precious grah.

So I'm sorry we're through, Midwest Grill. I may return every now and then, but I'm off to find bigger and better places. I shall miss your wine wench with her ample posterior, and I will miss your acoustic guitarist known only to us as The Brazilian James Taylor ("Well, the first of December was covered with snow / But not on the road from São Paulo to Rio...") But I have to move on. I'm sorry. It's not you, it's me.

No, wait. It is you. And your goddamned lack of potatoes.

the rice pudding for dessert was really really really delicious, though.