REVIEW: WHIST

The Monster is lazy.  It’s a Sunday morning, he’s meeting friends for brunch and he has visions of a buffet filled with delectable eats.  But he also feels the hangover, has a ton of work to do and doesn’t really want the day to involve anything where driving acumen has to come into play.  It feels like the kind of day where driving any lengths will surely involve some sort of accident.

So not terribly far away is Whist at The Viceroy.  A few years back The Monster remembers a Sunday brunch that while not on par with the Four Seasons, would do the trick in a pinch.

Walking into The Viceroy reminds The Monster of when he used to actually leave his house at night.  There was a time when coming here involved bouncers and lines and tons of pretty people.  From the sad collection of people milling about that might no longer be the case. 

First problem when we arrive, no Sunday brunch.  Seems Whist does the brunch some Sundays and not others.  When asked if there is any rhyme or reason to when they do in fact have the brunch the hostess looks at The Monster with thinly veiled contempt, as if she has just been informed her shoes are ugly.  They are.  The Monster didn’t buy them for you and he definitely didn’t tell you to wear them.  Oh well.   

We sit in the near empty inside as it’s a bit brisk outside and get ignored.  And ignored some more.  That’s okay, we’re busy chatting that we hardly notice menus aren’t brought to us, water isn’t poured.  But then we get ignored some more.

When menus and water finally do arrive The Monster’s water glass is only filled halfway.  It’s going to be one of those days.  Before a smoothie order can be placed the waiter is scurrying off to hide in the corner again and ignore our table.

The menu has a whole slew of egg dishes The Monster ignores from the “Brunch” options.  Instead, the “Bites” and “Plates” items will be where the food will be ordered from.  Since a buffet isn’t an option, The Monster decides to order his own buffet off the menu.

Grilled shrimp with watermelon, radish, cucumber, yuzu, jalapeno, shiso sounds right as do the chicken wings with tamarind-chili glaze and pickled mango.  For a main course the grilled chicken wrap with romaine lettuce and Caesar dressing is the choice.  Other options that had a shot but aren’t ordered include the hummus plate with crudite and grilled pita; market chopped salad with over roasted and raw vegetables in shallot-lemon vinaigrette; chickpea falafel wrap with feta, tzaziki, tomato.

Somehow the waiter leaves again before The Monster is able to put in the smoothie order.  And it’s the smoothie that is the panacea for his headache.  Flagging down a busboy the smoothie is finally ordered.  Will it arrive is the next question?

And now the wait for the appetizers is on.  And it takes forever.  Nevermind the place is empty and we’re starved.  The food is just not coming out.  Waiters and busboys stand by idly as we begin to gnaw on our own fingers out of starvation.

The smoothie arrives.  We pass it around between the four of us eking out the little bit of nourishment it provides. 

And then we wait some more for the appetizers.  And water.

When they come it’s time for an unexpected surprise.  They’re tasty.  The wings are fruity and play nicely against the more acidic pickled mango.  The shrimp are large and nicely grilled.  Both appetizers are gone in about three nanoseconds.

Feeling better, there is now another long wait for the entrees.

When they finally arrive there is another surprise.  The chicken wrap is basically tasteless.  The Monster finishes it because he’s still hungry.

So, indifferent service, long waits, hit or miss food, all situated in the mirrored and green environs that is the Viceroy.  That’s what you get here.

Why go?  The night before was a doozy.

Monster rating: 2½/5 Monsters     

 1819 Ocean Avenue
Santa Monica, CA 90401

(310) 260-7511

Whist at the Viceroy on Urbanspoon

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