Friday, September 29, 2006

Piratz Tavern Mini-review

As promised, here is my mini-review of the Piratz Tavern. Remember, I’m not a real critic, I only play one on a blog.

As you enter the Tavern, you are greeted at the hostesses’ podium with a small basket with pirate-related items that you can take, including eye patches and cool silver skull rings. Unfortunately for me, they were kid-sized, so I wasn’t able to enjoy them. My wife could fit the ring on her pinky, but that’s about it. Suggestion for Piratz Tavern: adult-sized pirate SWAG!

Right past that is a small kids area that is stocked with books about pirates and has a television showing children’s shows/movies. Presumably you can drop your kids off here, but does the staff babysit them while you’re back at the bar? They would be a few steps and one door away from Georgia Avenue traffic.

The decoration is what you might expect. Piratey/nautical stuff is all over the walls. There is one wall that is covered in wine corks. The back section was relatively small, yet full, and seemed a lot more fun than the front, which was fairly empty when I got there. There is a giant wood table just feet from the bar at which a large party was seated. Past that was the patio, which had a pleasant atmosphere. The fence is high enough to hide the surrounding area, which includes a parking garage, among other things. However, unless they set up some heat lamps, that section might not be open for much longer. The music was varied, ranging from familiar Bob Marley songs to what I believe were Arabic tunes.

I didn’t go into the bathroom, but my wife said the women’s facilities were “really nice”.

The service was pretty slow, as they let us sit for quite a bit before they came over and took our order (and it wasn’t very crowded). I got the impression that some of the waiters didn’t show up. They also seemed to be having trouble with the computerized ordering system. In their defense, I would expect this from almost any restaurant on opening night. Usually it is a good idea to wait a month or so before eating at any new restaurant, but I decided to make this one an exception.

I wanted to try the pirateiest thing I could find on the menu so I ordered the (single) Simon’s Smoked turkey leg ($10). The only other place I remember having whole turkey legs was the Maryland Renaissance Festival. It was pretty good (and spicy), although I kind of wished I had ordered two legs, as I was still a bit hungry. My wife ordered the Caribbean Sweet Corn soup and the Fresh Catch sandwich. I tried the soup and it was good, but my wife said the sandwich was a bit plain, although she thought the bread it came in was great. They never specified exactly what kind of fish was in the sandwich.

Note that the food here isn’t cheap. Unlike most themed restaurants (Planet Hollywood, etc.), Piratz fancies itself a more upscale restaurant, and many of the entrees are over $20.

Overall, I give it an “incomplete”. It’s tough to make a judgment about a restaurant on its first night. I’ll try Piratz again in a few weeks and see how it goes. If anyone’s been and would like to post their review in the comments section, please do.


Rfustero said...

Turkey leg- pirate fare- I don't think so- I dont recall pirate ships with a lot of turkeys on them-- seafood yes- hard tack and maybe seaweed soup=- arrrrg now that is pirate fare- along with a keg of rum

Anonymous said...

I remember reading once that pirates and other seafarers rarely ate fish. It was considered bad luck to do so.

Terry in Silver Spring said...

How is the bar? Do they have a good range of beers on tap (I'd settle for some nice microbrews)?

Sligo said...

I think they usually ate incredibly salted meat (the salt preserved it for long voyages) and a lot of beer.

Trish in SS said...

My husband, 3 year old and I went to Piratz last night for dinner. It's definitely a restaurant still getting its sea legs. The hostess desk was staffed by two young girls (probably the owner's daughters) who didn't really seem to want to be there or to be working (they were playing outside when we first came in). The table #s were on post it notes stuck on the wall so, presumably, the waitstaff could find their tables. So, you could see that you were dining at a place still not quite established.

We sat right next to the kitchen and just behind the little kiddie cove. Which worked out really well for us because our 3 year old played in there the entire time. It's set up with books, a tv, pillows and a stuffed talking parrot in a cage. He spent most of his time with another little girl playing with the parrot. Our waiter, Thud, also gave him some pirate booty (a silver coin) which our son thought was so cool. So, we were glad to have been seated right behind this kiddie area because we could easily keep an eye on him while we dined. I don't think I would've felt comfortable with him up there unsupervised because as mentioned, this area is right by the front door and a very busy Georgia Ave.

The restaurant itself is long and thin and decorated with lots of various, loosely piratey stuff. We also glanced into the back area where the bar and outside seating were located. This looked like it would be the draw of Piratz - a decent bar and a great looking outside area. Too bad it was just too cold last night to sit out there.

My husband ordered the conch fritters appetizer and the catch of the day. I got the vegetable indian curry. Unfortunately, the appetizer arrived when our entrees did and the conch fritters were served without a sauce, which they definitely were crying out for. We thought the kitchen had forgotten the sauce so we asked the waiter for some. He told us that the chef was still determining what kind of sauce should go with the conch fritter so right now, there was none. Personally, I think you should have your menu locked down before you put an item on the menu but I did suggest to the waiter an orange chutney would be nice with them. My husband's fish was fantastic and fresh. My indian curry was delish (vegetarians have options at this place) but definitely could've used some basmati rice (which I also mentioned to Thud).

I'd give this place a big thumbs up for parents and there were lots of other parents and kids there when we dined at about 6:30. They have a kiddie menu and just the decor alone will keep the kids entertained.

Piratz is different and funky and it's so great to see a non-chain spring up in DTSS that we'll definitely be going back and supporting the place. They still have some kinks to work out but nothing that would stop us from going back again.

Terry said...

Your waiter's name was Thud? Good heavens, someone should smack his mother for that.

Anonymous said...

We went on Saturday night. Service was not good--owing to the fact that three waiters called in sick. These things happen when a restaurant is new.

Food was good. I, too, thought it a bit more expensive than I expected.

I thought there would be more pirate themed things going on--for example, I though the waiter would be dress liked a pirate or we'd be greeted by a host dressed as a pirate. A bit disappointed by that.

Overall, it was fine. Not worth the hype, in my opinion. And not someplace I would rush to take kids to. I did take my daughter (6 years old) thinking it would be really cool/funny to go to a restaurant with pirates.

I might return in a few months when they have the kinks worked out.

They did not have any beer on-tap. Just bottled.

Capt. Jack Sparrow said...

I was at Piratz on Saturday night and both servers I saw were dressed in pirate's garb. In fact, our male server's velvety pants were perhaps a bit too tight... I didn't need to see all that!

We'll go back once they get their "sea legs."

Sligo said...

I hear that it's closed on Mondays. Can anyone confirm?

Anonymous said...

We just returned from dinner there and not only were both our servers dressed as pirates, we wanted to ask if they only hire servers with ponytails!

There were a lot of glitches in the service, perhaps because they hired guys who owned pirate garb instead of guys with serving experience.

My husband had the pirate stew, Salamgundi. It was interesting. I was served the wrong sandwich and didn't realize it till I had eaten half - it was pork, not beef, and I assumed it didn't taste much like garlic because they chickened out about it... The best thing was the passionfruit mousse dessert.

So, so-so, but only their first week. I would go back and try it again. I want to try the salt cod entree. And actually get the garlicky steak sandwich.

Anonymous said...

The little-girl "hostesses" are a little creepy and they scream "poorly planned family-run establishment" rather than something professionally planned and thought out (say, why not hire a hostess rather than make your kids work?); the service stunk (took forever for anyone to notice us; we ordered an appetizer that never came, and when I mentioned it, they STILL didn't bring it - what they should have done is bring the appetizer anyway and not charge me for it; and one of the side dishes that was supposed to come with my salmon did NOT come with my salmon; I had to point this out, and then it finally came out after I was already done with my meal); and it's WAY overpriced. Why the heck would I suffer through horrible service for a not-so-great-anyway $18 piece of salmon -- when I could get GREAT, ATTENTIVE service and EXCELLENT food for the SAME PRICE at Ray's the Classics? Sorry, Piratz (stupid spelling, too) -- gimmicks won't keep anyone coming back. And "working out the kinks" can be an excuse for only so long. What a disappointment; we'd been so excited.

Anonymous said...

... not that family-run is a bad thing; usually it blows chain restaurants out of the water, but when the service is careless, little children are hostessing, and the food is priced like a very upscale restaurant (while tasting very average), "not a chain" doesn't really help. Family-run restaurants can be -- and should be -- very tightly run ships that feel particularly gracious, not particularly like they don't give a hoot that you're even there. Sorry - am I inconveniencing you by asking for my drink for a second time?! If you don't know how to run a restaurant, don't open one.

jen said...

i haven't eaten there (and i probably won't because it's too expensive for what they are serving) but i think it's a great place to get a drink. the beer is more moderately priced than the food, and i love the back patio.

i just wish they had reasonably priced vegetarian bar food/appetizers to go with the beers. my new favorite place for cheap beer and some snacks after work in ss is mandalay. they have $2 beers and you can order appetizers in the bar area.

bill said...

I have been here a few times, and while never 100% satisfied, it is always a lot of fun.

The service is, if you are being served by pirates. So, not so good.

But the menu has never let me down. It is (at least as far as I can tell) authentic food from the caribbean which is always something new and interesting.

While my favorite dish is probably not authentic by any means, it is a lot of fun, and tastes great. It is the "Steak on a Stone" You get a decent sized steak, served on a piece of granite right out of the oven. The steak is already cooked, however, the stone allows you to cook it more to your liking, as well as keeping it warm throughout the entire meal.

I fully reccommend this place...but don't go if you aren't in the mood to sit back, relax, and take your time. The atmosphere makes up for the slow service, but only if you are in the right mood.