I honestly loved the food at Crows. Their vegie range is much more substantial than the majority of restaurants out there. People I’ve eaten with have enjoyed their meat based meals too. As to the contention that it is not Mexican, well the same lack of authenticity is said of the food at many restaurants that try, for example, to be Italian. Bit harsh. The staff could be friendlier though.
5 reviews of Crows Wine Bar & Restaurant in English
Up for a golfing weekend, my father-in-law, brother-in-law and I came to Lancaster on a recent Friday evening (March 18th 2011) looking for somewhere reasonably priced that served palatable food. Ignorant of the good and bad places to eat and making the worst decision since Eve decided she fancied a French Golden Delicious for dessert, we plumped for Crows on King Street.
Crows certainly looked the part – all the usual rubber cacti, gaudy sombreros and décor that you come to associate with most Tex-Mex restaurants who attempt to pass themselves off as something better than the Chiquitos chain (and failing) – and the menu when first presented seemed to be perfectly adequate. I should like to point out at this juncture that the time was approximately 20:15 on a Friday night and the, ahem, restaurant was maybe two thirds full.
Surprising then, that having waited approximately twenty minutes, we had to ask if it was alright to give our food order. In fairness, the waitresses had already taken our drinks orders and had even been back to check that the three drinks that we’d ordered, were in fact, what we wanted to drink. So that was OK then.
The evening - well the next 40 minutes – now became distinctly unpalatable. The arrival of our starter, the Nachos “Large” (well there were three of us sharing) caused not so much of a stir of anticipation of flavours to come, but rather a communal look of consternation. Quite clearly someone had emptied half a family bag of Doritos into a bowl, sprinkled a teaspoon of cheese over the top and then wafted a butane torch over the bowl a few times. Then, whilst this was nicely cooling down and congealing, that same person had spooned watery sour cream, Discovery pickled jalapenos and Doritos dipping salsa (mild) into a separate receptacle. Eh voila! Nachos Large, Bon Appetite! (Perhaps that should be Aqui! Bueno apetito) Either way, it wasn’t. Not even close. There was nothing here that you could sue for under the Trade Descriptions Act but “uninspiring”, “bland”, “insipid” and “dull” are four words not found on the menu but are easily used here to describe the “Nachos Large”.
More than a little disappointed, (but what the heck, it WAS just the starter), we waited for our main courses with perhaps less trepidation than perhaps we could have.
But it got worse.
A lot worse.
Two Steak Phillys and a Half Ribs n Buffalo Chicken Platter were unceremoniously dumped on our table, with the waitress retreating faster than a cat with its head stuck in a milk carton. She probably had a fair inkling of what was coming!
I’d like to quote directly from the menu here, if I may:
Half ribs n Buffalo Chicken Platter - £10.95
Half rack of ribs, crispy fried buffalo chicken in bread crumbs and BBQ sauce. Served with potato wedges.
Steak Philly - £6.95
Strips of beef with melted cheese. Served with chips & onion rings.
I’d now like to draw your attention to the wording “Half rack of ribs”. To me, that means half a standard rack of ribs, i.e. approximately 7. So, you can imagine our horror, incredulity and outrage (remember the waitresses had legged it) to see placed before us a handful of Birdseye chicken goujons and TWO - that’s right folks, count ‘em – TWO ribs.
My brother-in-law (the recipient of this bountiful splendour) appeared to go into something akin to neural shutdown, repeating the phrase “11 quid for that, 11 quid for that” over and over again.
My father-in-law and I, however, were in no position to help our distressed family member, for we had problems of our own. The Steak Phillys (“Strips of beef with melted cheese”) could possibly be better described (actually make that “definitely be better described”) as lumps of cheap meat and gristle, because, well, that’s exactly what they were.
And so, like any reasonably indignant human beings who felt that they’d be right royally turned over, we decided to complain. First problem here was getting a waitress to return, as both of them had seemed to develop sudden onset deafness and were finding previously empty tables far more demanding of their time and energy. When we did finally manage to get one of the diligent duo to come over, there followed a farcical repeat scene (twice) whereby we asked “Does two ribs equal half a rack”, the plate was removed and then brought back with the words “Yes, yes, this is right”
No. It. Bloody. Isn’t.
So we got up to leave.
And our treatment at the hands of this most dreadful of establishments turned a touch sinister.
You see, we’d had enough; we had no intention of eating the garbage put in front of us, had said as much and had said we’d pay for the drinks that we’d had and the god-awful nachos. But for some reason that caused the unleashing of……….the MANAGER!!! (flashes of lightning, rumble of thunder and sharp focus on the howling werewolf in front of a full moon. Well, you get the idea) Here came a man, who, quite simply, was going to put these upstart customers in their place. How dare customers complain??! How dare customers order food and then not eat it??! I’ll show them, etc, etc, yada, yada.
The manager’s opening gambit when we complained first of all about the Nachos was to give us a geography lesson – “You’re not in Manchester you know, this isn’t Manchester”. Well, Golly Gee, Really? And there we were thinking that the buildings we’d walked past on our way to this fine establishment had borne an uncanny resemblance to the Trafford Centre. There followed several more references to Manchester (“They might do that in Manchester, but we don’t do it ‘ere”) that provided us with enough clues to the fact that this idiot clearly thought that his talents were wasted here and that he’d much rather be in ……….well, Manchester. Our next complaint centred on the Steak Philly. “What do you expect from a burger?” we were rather pugnaciously asked (eyes glaring, nostrils flaring). “Umm, it’s not a burger” was the reply. “Yes it is”, “Er, no it isn’t”, “Yes……. (Manager reaches over to a serving station for a menu, reads the description (It might be in the Burgers and Steaks section, but it sure as sugar, AIN’T a burger) and promptly hides the menu under the desk.
Hmmm, now for our killer punch – “Two ribs equates to a half rack does it?” Cue winds blowing across the desert, tumbleweed balls drifting across the wasteland.
Nothing, nada, not so much as a self deprecating smile and fast shift of the blame onto the chef du jour (who was new, placed by the Jobcentre and only had one leg. Probably) No. Instead we got that most attractive of customer service traits – belligerence – “Well, what do you want ME to do about it?” The answer to that was easy – Let us out of this festering armpit of a cantina and allow us to be on our way.
Which he eventually did, with about as much grace as a late night kebab seller who’s already turned the grill off and a drunken buffoon has stumbled into his establishment mumbling away about a doner with loadsa chilli sauce.
This paragon of Customer Service had only served to re-affirm any niggling doubts that we might have had about what a good idea it was to leave. Calling us liars (“it’s a burger”), trying to de-mean us (“This isn’t Manchester”) and then being just plain bloody rude, this gentleman has his hands firmly on the holy p*iss-pot that is the worst in customer service and we shall never, ever, return to Crows.
As a footnote, we found the Bombay Balti just round the corner and had a fabulous meal, reasonably priced with great service.
Just goes to show. Eh?
I eat in crows quite regularly and am surprised by some of the comments below. The early bird meal deal has a varied range and is a good price. The fajitas in particular were very nice. I have always been impressed by the service, staff have always been helpful. There has been live music once when I was there and I was told that it is going to become more regular. Perhaps there have been some changes recently?? I would certainly suggest you give it another go
I'm sorry to say past experience - poor service, disapointing food and incorrect bills - combined to put me off Crows a long time ago. I'd have to see a lot more positive reviews here before I tried it again.
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Crows is a terrible place to eat. The food is below McDs. It is substandard, flavourless, unless you count salt and sugar. The menu contains so many items you know it is not "cooked to order". The service is somewhere between dismal and disinterested. This is not a restaurant it is a fast-food joint masquerading as a cafe. Don't eat there if you enjoy food. tex-mex it is not; mexican it certainly isn't. Have any of the people who have given positive freviews ever eaten either of these food-styles? Just because it has natcho and guacamole does not make it mexican.You can buy better guacamole and natcho from Aldi - that doesn't make Aldi Mexico. The owners and cooks at this dreadful place should go to Mexico try the food there and then be charged with deception. Truely dreadful.
Comment 1 comment on this review
West, 28 April 2008:
Crows has a fantastic restaurant serving a wide range of delicious food. The atmosphere is warm and inviting with fairy lights adorning the walls. It has booths so you can relax with friends but it also caters for large groups and parties. The food is excellent: the menu is based on tex-mex meals and there is a wide range of vegetarian equivalents such as burritos and burgers. The bar area is more open and looks more like a place to wait until your table is ready than a bar you'll settle into for the night. It functions as an internet cafe as well.
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