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Barbary Fig, St. Paul: candid review

hi TDQ,
Yes, I agree with you that we could have said something to the chef. And I definitely agree that i love when the chef visits the table. I've been reading chowhound for years, from nyc to atlanta to mpls and have never posted, and I think the way I expressed myself here may have been from years of pent-up frustration about bad restaurant experiences. Anyway, I still think that the chef/owner was in a rush to close up... maybe it was just an off nite (and I know any good reviewer should go back a couple of times). I may have also been blinded by my disappointment in the food. I also think some of what I was saying is stemming from a larger frustration with reviews in general. From reading reviews here and on city pages, sometimes it seems people like the chef so much that they have a hard time saying anything bad about the food. The chef may be an incredibly likable guy, but if the food doesn't cut it, I'm not going back. For example, I love alma, but I think Brasa is mediocre. Our chicken (one of the main reasons to go to Brasa) was incredibly dry. I make better chicken at home. But I think because people (including Dara at City Pages) are so in love with Alma and its chef (who is fabulous at alma), they have a hard time criticizing Brasa. I think the same could be said for B. Fig. Anyway, enough venting!
I love many restaurants in the city (112 eatery being my favorite), and I'll start posting more often as I try new places.

Barbary Fig, St. Paul: candid review

My husband and I moved to mpls. from NYC 2 years ago, and since then have been scouring the city for the best food in town. A few of our favorite restaurants so far: 112 eatery, alma, nami, jasmine deli, spoonriver, pizza nea in northeast and others. We love good food and continually hope to add new restaurants to our twin city list. So, saturday nite we ventured to st. paul to eat at Barbary Fig, which I had been reading about since we moved here. It seems like people either love it or hate it, and unfortunately I'm officially in the latter group. The meal was not only bland, but dishes like the grilled eggplant appetizer with roquefort cheese and the special lamb dish were pretty much inedible. The lamb/potatoes/veggie concoction was swimming in a dishwater-like liquid. The grilled eggplant was completely lacking in presentation and flavor. These dishes were the nightly specials, so we assumed they'd be good. From our point of view, it seemed like the chef was much more interested in closing up for the nite (at about 8:30pm, he was stowing away the patio's umbrellas, allowing the restaurant's spotlights to shine on all of the customers. Very romantic, in an interrogative kind of way.) and chatting with customers than worrying about how his food tasted. It's a shame, because we love good food, and when we fall for a place, we recommend it to everyone we know, but barbary fig is crossed off our list... and I don't recommend it to anyone on this board.