I Had A Terrible Experience At This Restaurant Because I Am A Terrible Person

Posted July 28, 2014

My fiancé and I were extremely excited about checking out El Paraíso, the new upscale Cuban place that just opened up in our neighborhood. Or at least we WERE excited. Having just had one of the most disappointing dining experiences of my life, I have two words for you: Steer. Clear. Especially if you’re an awful human being like me.

The evening started off fine—at first. El Paraíso’s ambience is a nice combination of modern architecture adorned with traditional art, a touch of rustic in a classy nightspot. But things began to go downhill VERY quickly when I asked if they could please turn the music down. Our host, who obviously spoke English as a second language, seemed surprised by the request, so I repeated it again, slowly and condescendingly. I mean, seriously, I’m a guest in your restaurant—why would I do something like that?

We started with a round of El Paraíso’s signature sea salt margaritas. Because it was served in a cute little mason jar, it was far too easy for me to lose track of how many I drank on an empty stomach. It’s like, “Hello! You’re supposed to be a business! Couldn’t you tell immediately that alcohol would only fuel the seething, unrelated frustrations I brought in the door with me?”

I wish I could say our El Paraíso experience was a fluke, but honestly, it’s just one in a string of totally unacceptable situations I’ve created lately, at everywhere from Hernandez Auto Repair on North and Oakwood to my brother’s wedding.

There’s a diverse menu of tapas-style appetizers—too many to try in one visit! If you’re anything like me, you’ll want to go off-menu and demand a split order of the fried plantain chips and taro fritters, then berate the nearest server within earshot when this turns out to be something the restaurant does not offer.

On to the main course. This was maybe the biggest disappointment. Rather than pick any number of options available to me, I went item by item through different entrees, asking them to cobble together an off-menu Frankenstein of Cuban ingredients. You’d think that would be enough, but I also requested that a manager come to our table and assure us that the tortillas were gluten-free, even though I can eat gluten safely and regularly do.

I wish I could say our El Paraíso experience was a fluke, but honestly, it’s just one in a string of totally unacceptable situations I’ve created lately, at everywhere from Hernandez Auto Repair on North and Oakwood to my brother’s wedding.

El Paraíso might be some people’s cup of tea, but if you’re me? I’d just avoid human interaction altogether.