Right on the border of Broward and Dade is Gamaroff's; this used to be Gusto's and Thira's Greek restaurants; now it's a "Bar and Grill" that tout's their $15.95 "NY Steak", as if there is such a thing. There is no person named Gamaroff as far as I can tell; the place is still owned by Greeks. I guess the greek concept didn't work here.
Budget restaurants intrigue me, and they have lunch deals that rival the Ale House restaurants. I was in the area so I wandered in just before 3AM.
I stood at the hostess table waiting for her to return; the first thing she said was "Would you like to sit at the bar?". No, if I wanted to sit at the bar why would I be waiting at the hostess stand?
Gamaroff's is a big room; more of a sports bar than a restaurant. There's a big bar with TVs; it didn't seem like somewhere I'd want to eat lunch or dinner. Maybe if I was having a burger.
There's a big stage that ruins the layout of the room. The tables are arranged awkwardly throughout the room. They have live music here now and than.
Gamaroff's Dining Room
I ordered an Iced Tea with extra lemon and went through the menu. They have a lunch menu but the entire dinner menu is available all day. On their web site they tout a $9.95 fixed price special, which is actually $10.95. I decided I'd go with the "5 course meal" and the 1/2 Rotisserie Chicken as the entree.
My server only came by occasionally, so I was waiting long after I'd decided. Finally I see her coming towards me and she puts a glass on the table and asks if I'm ready to order
"This is iced tea?", I quipped. "No, it's brewing so I brought you some water". Fantastic. Water with extra lemon. You know what they say; when life gives you lemons, make lemonade, which is what I did. >She seemed confused when I asked if I got a choice of salad dressings; I had forgotten to ask at Bokamper's and I paid the price. "Sure", she said, as if it was the first time anyone asked that question. "Blue Cheese Please".
The salad and soup came out almost immediately.
Gamaroff's Salad w/Blue Cheese Dressing
Clearly this isn't the Capital Grille; the soup de jour was Chicken Noodle, which should never be the soup of the day. I didn't care when I ordered because even without the soup this is a good deal. I tasted the soup and it was as bland as chicken broth could be.
Gamaroff's Chicken Noodle Soup
I know that this wasn't from a can, because canned soup is much better than this. I left it and worked on the salad, which is the kind of salad you used to get 25 years ago with any meal you ordered at a restaurant. I think it was the first time that I ever got a cucumber end in a salad though.
On my servers next pass she asked if I was going to eat the soup, and I said "No, it's not very good". She said. "I agree. I tried it earlier". Fantastic.
Music here alternates between dance and soft rock; the Bee Gees followed by Don McLean followed by Donna Summer. Just ridiculous considering the Age of the late afternoon crowd.
A runner came out with the chicken, which came with a monster load of "steamed vegetables".
Gamaroff's Half Chicken with Vegetables
He ran off before I could ask for butter; I can't really eat vegetables without SOMETHING on them other than salt. Of course my server was nowhere to be found. After about 5 minutes I saw her bussing a table and called her over and asked for some butter.
Now I still had no iced tea, which seemed impossible. How long does it take to boil water?
So I'm waiting and waiting for the butter, but nothing. At no time during my time here did my server show any urgency to get me anything. It was like she loaded up a tray and made her rounds and then went back to reload the tray. Meanwhile I'm halfway through with the chicken and I still can't eat any vegetables. Finally she shows up with some butter. "Tea is almost ready, I haven't forgotten". Great, are you kidding me? A few minutes later she dropped off the tea, which was served in the same glass as the water with a lot of ice. I polished it off fairly quickly, only to have the empty glass remain on the table.
I forgot that the deal came with dessert, so I was ready for my check, but no server. I'd only eaten half the chicken and was going to bring the rest home. No server. I decided I might as well go to the bathroom; usually I wait until after I've paid the bill.
As I returned to the dining room I spotted my server perched at the table; I guess I messed up here round by not being there when she showed up. I asked her to wrap the chicken and for the check. "You don't want dessert". Oh yeah, what are the choices? They had cheesecake, so I ordered that. "Do you want the vegetables also?", she asked. "No, just the chicken".
"More tea would be good also". She seemed confused, but took the chicken and the tea glass. She returned with the cheesecake; the kind of portion you get with a fixed-price meal.
I wasn't going to eat a big piece of cheesecake anyway. It was fine. But my server was bussing some tables and I was concerned that she hadn't brought out my doggie bag. As she walked by with a big load of dishes, I got her attention. "You didn't forget about my chicken, did you?". She thought for a few seconds, "Oh yeah". I asked her to bring the check also.
She came back with the chicken. I checked it, and of course they threw in the vegetables as well.
This whole thing cost just over $16 with tax and tip, which is pretty cheap considering that the faux chefs in Fort Lauderdale are charging $19 for a half chicken with no soup or salad and a tiny side. Unfortunately it's not a very pleasant place, and the service is frustrating.