Friday, July 20, 2018

My Mid-Day Meal at Clementina

Metro Detroit has so many new places to eat that we can barely keep up! We have been trying our best to visit every space as soon as we can, but we have quickly learned that we need to wait a few weeks for the new restaurants and pop-ups to get their flow before we give them a proper review. So, we waited a few weeks to let Clementina work out the kinks before we stopped by. Unfortunately, we didn't have a great experience when we finally visited for lunch on Tuesday afternoon.

Clementina is the new pop-up restaurant and bar in Capitol Park that is owned and operated by the people at Prime + Proper (across from the park). This food truck style space features unique group seating and a relaxed vibe for patrons to enjoy food and drinks. The food is Latin influenced and the menu features items like salsa, guacamole, ceviche, tacos, nachos, and more. They also have a unique bar that serves up frozen specialty drinks and a small assortment of liquor and beer. They even have an activated charcoal ice cream that you can get to cool down while you hang out in the park. In theory. it sounds like a really awesome addition to the area, but as you will learn, it just didn't deliver.
I arrived at Clementina around 11:30 a.m. on Tuesday and was greeted at the "door" and given a menu to look at. No one explained if I should sit down or head up to the truck so I asked and was told that I could place an order and sit anywhere I wanted. So, I reviewed the menu and went up to the window to place an order. I inquired about the coconut and grains and asked if there was any way for it to be made vegan. The person at the window stared at me for a long time before they explained that they thought that it was made with milk. I asked if they could check for me and they begrudgingly inquired before again telling me no. After a long pause, I asked if there was anything that I could make vegan and with an annoyed air in her voice she told me, "you could have a mushroom taco without (indistinguishable) in it." I said, that sounds great, I'll have that. Then I inquired about the salsa or the guacamole and decided to get some guac and chips to round out my meal. I gave my name and waited for my order to come up. I also asked for a drink and was very sternly told that I wasn't able to order any drinks including water at this station. There was a separate line for drinks and I didn't want to go over there and re-ring my credit card, so I went drink free for this meal.
When my name was called I walked up the window and was handed my order. My bill came to just under $18 for the meal (without a drink) so I was surprised to find that I only had one taco and a small helping of chips with a hefty helping of guacamole with some interesting toppings. The taco was anything but hefty and was not very appetizing. It tasted like it was barbecued, but I couldn't really put my finger on the taste. I'm not sure what it would have tasted like if I didn't have to take off the cheese and the cream, but the vegan version was nothing to write home about. The gauc was topped with some interesting items like grapefruit and mandarin oranges and was actually very good.  I wouldn't usually like something like this, but it had a unique taste to it and it was refreshing to eat something so fruity and light on a hot day. The only problem was that the chips that were meant to be dipped into the guac were not edible. I almost took a boomerang to prove it to all of you but I assure you that no matter how hard I tried I couldn't not bite into about half the chips in my bag. They looked fine, but were as hard as rocks. So, I only got to enjoy about half of the guac that I ordered before I ran out of chips to eat it with. But, being fat and cheap I made sure to hovel the rest in my mouth with a fork.  
Overall everything about my experience was disappointing. The food wasn't very good and it wasn't very fresh. It was however very small and very expensive, something that seems to be a staple in Detroit these days. I really like the bar, I really like the seating, and maybe the drinks are good (I didn't get to try), but I can't recommend anyone stopping by the food truck for a meal in its current state. There is simply too many other good spots in the area to spend that kind of money on a sub par meal. I also can't stress enough that if you are trying to get people to come out and eat at your space in 2018, you need to offer a vegan option! There are tons of us out there and we don't like to waste your time and food skills on changing up an item you created. Create something for us and we will come out and give it a try!
I might go back to have a drink sometime this summer but Clementina's service and staff left a bad taste in my mouth and its going to take me a minute to get over it. On the flip side, the stores and markets in the park are killer, so stop by for those if you're in the area! 


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