Walking into Lemonade in Venice is at first quite frightening. This is because the place is set up sort of like a buffet/cafeteria and while that alone can be frightening to someone, the real frightening part is that the entire first section of the lineup is salads. And while these are more like your creative sweet potato or radish than lettuce and tomatoes, there is certainly a staggering amount of veggies. I quickly looked around to see if they had anything I could eat and found a nice menu that detailed some of the real food that Lemonade had to offer.
There was actually a whole section of menu dedicated to Fish and Fowl, and some of these looked good, but I felt like I was in more of a sandwich type of place, so I kept searching. What really caught my eye were the Pot Roast Sandwiches (served in Sourdough Rustic Rolls, which I guess is really different from urban sourdough), and one of them in particular looked especially delicious. This was the Beef Short Rib and Mac and Cheese. I asked the woman behind the counter whether that sandwich came with any other ingredients and she assured me it didn’t. As we walked down the aisle I saw that these sandwiches were quite literally borne of pot roasts, because they had the pot roasts themselves on display for all to see. The simmering short ribs looked delicious and I couldn’t wait to make them a part of me. The sandwiches generally come with some sort of greens, but there is also an option to get a couple of their strange salads instead of the greens. Although I had no desire to be a part of such food, I did get a couple of those salad-esque sides for my girlfriend. I am so selfless.
We also got some of their namesake lemonades to accompany our meals. What makes their lemonades unique is that they mix in herbs like mint and rosemary with their ades. Some see this as creative, but I see it as strange flavors getting in the way of juice. I did, however, try the Pomegranate Tarragon lemonade, which had such a subtle tarragon flavor that I could handle it. Plus, who doesn’t want to imbibe dragon herb?
We paid up and took our numbers back to our table to await some sort of sign that our food was ready. About 10 minutes later, the sound of my name was the sign that I needed. I walk up to the counter to retrieve our sandwiches and noticed something strange about mine. It was certainly beefy, but there was something amiss. This thing came in the form of a green tomato. I asked the man behind the counter if this was actually the Beef Short Rib and Mac and Cheese sandwich and he assured me it was, so I brought it back to my table ready to write a complainy blog post about how the first person didn’t warn me, but as I removed the green tomato slice, I found that there was a strange stash of jalapenos and a complete lack of macaroni. I looked at the menu I had at the table and realized I had been given the complete wrong sandwich. Instead of my wholesome unvegan order, I had been given the BBQ Brisket, Green Tomato, Cheddar and Jalapeno Sandwich.
Upon discovering this, I brought the sandwich back up to the counter with my receipt and explained my issue. The people seemed confused, as though this had never happened, and after a minute they told me they would redo my sandwich. No apology was offered, which was fine by me, but after a few minutes of preparing sandwiches for other patrons, it was apparent that they hadn’t rushed to right their wrong.
Finally, after a wait nearly as long as the original, my name was called again and my sandwich was ready. This time it was the real thing. I hoped that it would be better than their customer service. Luckily, it was. The beef was incredibly tender and the spices it had been cooked in made it very flavorful. But really the sandwich ended there. Although putting mac and cheese in it was a nice thought, it really added nothing to the sandwich in terms of flavor or texture. In fact, if the mac and cheese hadn’t been there at all, I don’t think the sandwich would have tasted any different. I’m not sure if this means the beef was so good or the mac and cheese was so blah, but whichever it was, I would have liked to have felt like I was eating all the ingredients of the sandwich.
Needless to say, my trip to Lemonade was disappointing. I understand that restaurants make mistakes and I certainly don’t fault them for that, but I do fault them for not heeding my question of whether I got the right sandwich and later making very little attempt to fix their little mishap. This wasn’t about me being an unvegan who hates vegetables, it was just disappointing service and a sandwich that didn’t make up for it.