Ayse Meza, Frederick MD
Ayse Meza is Frederick’s popular Turkish/Greek place. I think normally the reviews are good.
As Yelp Renie from Newville, PA boasts, “It was perfect and everything tasted excellent. Service was warm, knowledgeable and friendly. Great beers on tap with a nice bar area. The atmosphere was cozy, fun and well appointed. Definitely worth visiting!!”
The double exclamation at the end means it’s super scrumptious. As for my experience, the service beast killed the culinary beauty.
You see, at 7:30 PM, I dropped off the spawn at a bounce house place. Spawn and friend-of-spawn were in for a two and a half hours giant bouncy castle bliss extravaganza. They give out those giant pixie sticks there. The bounce establishment closed at 10 PM. PM. Dinner reservations at Ayse Meza were at 8:00 PM. The two establishments were 10 minutes from each other.
That gave me an hour and fifty minutes to eat. Let me recap the timeline.
8 PM Reservations
10 PM pick-up spawn and friend-of-spawn
Everything in between those times was a cluster flock made pseudo-glorious by decent food. I was forced to eat some of it out of cardboard take out containers surrounded by a whining dog, over-sugared, over-bounced kids and a malevolent cat. Believe me, that was not my original intent.
First, let me tell you about the two courses eaten with love and peace and a sense of wonder.
The first course was the bread plate and the Bulgarian feta cheese. The bread plate was your standard hummus, babaganoush, and tzatziki with warm pita bread. Double-dipping my way down the line, the babaganoush to be excellent. I don’t know why I like babaganoush. It’s mushed eggplant. Yet, it has the funniest food name outside of frogurt. That babaganoush had a name and a flavor whose praises I could sing. The hummus was a little tahini heavy but still delicious. The tzatziki was milquetoast, pretty standard for the genre.
The Bulgarian feta cheese, two big hunks cuddled with a mass of pitted green olives and fresh tomatoes was pretty darned good. The feta was mild, but not mild enough to be overpowered by the olives. It was my Sonny and Cher – nice to kick back with on an old school Saturday night. (Ask your parents or grandparents about that reference).
The second course was the Sigara Borek and the Bruksel Lahanisi (a name to finally rival Babaganoush). The Sigara Borek laid menu claim to be their famous dish. I found it reminiscent of a greek taquito. I guess every culture has one. Ayse’s was filo dough wrapped around feta cheese and served with apricot jelly. As far as other people’s taquitos, it was just OK. I’d rather have a lumpia.
The Sigara Borek on the other hand, was as close to brussel sprout heaven as I care to get. They were sweet and savory and crispy and soft, and I’d eat about a thousand more.
Then the stress started. ‘Cause nothing spins a parent up more than thinking about his pixie stick juiced kid standing outside waiting for him after the bounce house baby sitter closes.
“No, really, I need to eat soon because of the babysitter….” My pleas fell on deaf, frazzled, fake-concerned ears.
At forty minutes, I politely inquired to the status of our main course. At one hour, I politely inquired to the status of our main course. Throughout the evening, the waitress would pop over every twenty minutes and say, “I’ll go check on your food.” At one hour at twenty minutes, I as politely as I could inquired to the manager as to the status of our main course.
They had delivered it to the wrong table forty minutes earlier.
Our waitress either did or didn’t have it re-fired. The manager got the order completed quickly enough for me to walk out the door with it. I’m not going to speak to the greatness of my steak. It was, as earlier described, eaten out of a cardboard box. It was eaten, not unlike its temperature, with a resolute cold blandness. The dessert was also expertly boxed. I guess there is a point to be had there. One point for Ayse. If I was not so disgruntled, it might have been the best baklava I’ve imbibed. Instead, it was a bitter sweet filo pill to swallow. I feel so proletariat.
I can say the food was wonderful, mostly. The service was the worst I’ve had in Frederick.
So I finish packing up our sad little takeout dinner and I say to the manager, "Hey, Lana, hey, how about a little something, you know, for the effort, you know." And she says, "Oh, uh, there won't be any money, but when you die, on your deathbed, you will receive total consciousness." So I got that goin' for me, which is nice.
Actually, the manager (not really Lana) comp’ed half. I guess I’m good.