The statements made on this website are the personal opinions of Laura and Diane. If we feel that a restaurant visit is not up to par, please remember it is our opinion. If you disagree with us, feel free to write us at info@newenglandbites.com.

Sunday, August 19, 2007

Waterstreet Cafe

36 Water St.
Fall River, MA 02721
(508) 672-8748


It's times like this that I wish Sherlock Holmes was real. Perhaps he could have helped Mom and me find the rest of our lunch.

Mom and I decided that we were going to hit up another Fall River favorite - Waterstreet Cafe. Anybody who's anybody in Fall River has been to Waterstreet for its eclectic Mediterranean food, live music, and hot spot atmosphere. Waterstreet is located inside an old mill near Battleship Cove, and there is an outside cafe where you can relax under the soothing sounds of the crumbling Braga Bridge.

It took us about two minutes to drive down to Waterstreet as we live within the same zip code as the restaurant. At first I didn't know where to park, but when I got to the front of the building I noticed a large lot off to the left which made me very happy. I scored the first parking spot and noticed that there weren't a lot of cars in the lot. We walked around to the Cafe door and went up the few stairs and inside at 2:30 p.m.

The interior is very beautiful. It has a certain antiquity to it, and that is probably because of the large wooden cabinets, bar, and hutch as the main furniture pieces. Mom and I joked that we'd like to drag the hutch, somehow, to the Antiques Roadshow. There were painted masks in lighted cutouts in the wall over the bar area, and painted brick and strings of white lights surrounding some of the tables. All the tables were covered by a floral print tablecloth with a glass top, and there were several tables throughout the dining area (no booths - although there was a long bench at the front of the restaurant). Mom and I were certain that we were about to embark on an edible journey to the Middle East.

We were asked by a young waitress if we had a preference as to where we wanted to sit. Since we did not, she showed us to a table toward the middle of the room and left us with two large menus. It wasn't long before we were greeted by a gentleman who took our drink order. He wasn't dressed as if he were a waiter, so I'm thinking that perhaps he was the manager. Mom and I both ordered the diet cola, and we joked with him about not caring if we were brought Coke or Pepsi. He returned with two sodas topped with lemons. My glass was filled to the top, but Mom's was only filled about three quarters of the way. No worries. Since we had already decided what we wanted by scoping out the online menu before we left the house, the gentleman took our order. For an appetizer, we ordered the crab cakes with garlic lemon aioli ($10.99), and for our meal (which we later found out was actually an appetizer) we decided to design a platter of three Mediterranean sensations to share. We chose the chicken shwarma (chicken marinated in yogurt and spices), kibbeh (beef, bulgar, and all spice with pine nuts, yogurt cucumber sauce, and suluta), and falafel (with suluta and tahini sauce) for $14.99. This dish is served with both toasted and soft pitas. You can also order it with your choice of four "sensations" ($17.99) or five ($21.99). It was at this time that we were informed that the last of the chicken shwarma had been sold, and we would have to pick something else. Mom suggested the baked Feta with calamata olive tapenade. As the gentleman took away our menus, Mom remarked at how "daring" she was being by ordering something other than spaghetti and meatballs. I agreed with her as we glanced over a take-out menu that I had taken on our way in.

The prices here are high. Perhaps a bit too high for the area. It seems to be the kind of restaurant that you would find in a busy metro city like Providence. Waterstreet's focus is Mediterranean cuisine, but they do have pizzas, sandwiches, steaks, soups, salads, and appetizers. They even have a kids' menu, and we saw two children nearby happily enjoying a cheeseburger and a hot dog with fries. However, when you get into the depths of the menu, you'll find that they charge $10.99 for a cheese pizza, $5.49 for a cup of clam chowder, and $13.99 for fish and chips. I will say that they do have some interesting choices that I would like to try on my next visit, such as The Big Med Salad ($13.99), which consists of mixed greens, marinated mushrooms, artichoke hearts, sun dried tomatoes, calamata olive tapenade, roasted peppers, fresh mozzarella, and balsamic vinaigrette. I also like the sound of the chunky roasted chicken salad on grilled foccacia, served with fries ($7.49). They also have Thursday theme dinners from $9.99, special wine deals, sunset specials from $9.99 on Friday and Saturday from 4-6 p.m., and Sunday brunch favorites served from 10:30 a.m. to 3 p.m. Be careful, though. These "favorites" will take you from a $7.99 Texas style French toast to a $10.99 eggs Benedict dish. Waterstreet Cafe is also available every day for business functions, bereavement luncheons, showers, weddings, reunions, birthdays, retirement parties, and all types of catered services. They have a special room appropriately called "The Room," which is where they have the live music from Thursday through Sunday.

As we overheard another couple getting the last of the shwarma, Mom and I both commented on how long everything was taking. We hadn't gotten the crab cakes yet, so we assumed it was coming with our supposed dinner platter. Perhaps they were short on kitchen staff because we really seemed to have been waiting for a long time, and there were under ten customers in the dining room. What was going on? Also, Waterstreet didn't offer anything for us to munch on while we were waiting. We would have appreciated a scoop of hummus and some toasted pita chips, especially since we had to wait so long to get fed.

When we finally got our lunch, one statement came to my mind - is this it? My face fell as I slowly came to realize that I was about to pay $10.99 for two measly little crab cakes sitting aside a dish of sauce on a clean white plate. The platter wasn't much bigger. It held two pieces of kibbeh, about a half cup of falafel, and four tiny slabs of baked Feta. Thank goodness for the four slim pita slices on the plate that were keeping the rest of the food company, although none of the pitas were toasted as the menu stated they were supposed to be. I was just praying that everything tasted good or else I would have started bawling my eyes out. Fortunately for me, it did. The crab cakes had a crunchy outer shell with a moist interior and a delicious crab taste. The lemon aioli cooled off the hot crab meat and gave it a tangy kick. I would have loved to have another, but that would have meant that Mom wouldn't have had one, so I decided to start on our "platter," if you can call it that. I started with the falafel. Although very dense, it had that lovely chick pea taste. I spread some of it on a nearby pita, but I had to be careful to save some for Mom since there almost wasn't enough to go around. Next I tried the baked Feta. Now I'm a Feta fan, so of course I was enamoured of the taste. Lastly I had my serving of the kibbeh. It really was nothing special to me. It tasted like cool hamburg with a few scattered pine nuts around the edges. I was just thankful for a bit of protein at that point to keep my energy up so I wouldn't faint when paying the bill.

I think we ate in under 15 minutes, and that is only because Mom eats slow. She kept telling me to fill up on the greens and scattered tomatoes that were hiding under our "huge" serving of food on the platter. I did, but it wasn't enough. I asked her if she was full, and she wasn't. I was not happy. It was especially a shame as everything tasted so good. It was also a shame because we found out after we left that the "platter" wasn't a dinner option. It was actually an appetizer. I don't know if this discovery makes me happy that there is still hope for their dinner portions, or mad because I paid $14.99 for a ridiculously small appetizer.

After seeing my friend Pam and her boyfriend stop in, Mom and I realized that we had been waiting quite a while for our waiter to return. We informed Pam about the non-existent shwarma, and she seemed a bit bummed as it sounded really delicious. It was at this point that I decided I wanted to use the ladies' room. We looked around for our waiter, but he was no where to be found. As the place started to fill up a bit more, we caught glimpses of our waiter going in and out of the kitchen area with plates. He did come over to us once to see if everything was OK, and it was, but that was the last time we had actual contact with him. I think we finally caught his attention because he soon came over to clear our plates, but unfortunately it took a few more minutes before he returned with the bill - a whopping $31.48 for almost nothing.

Crab cakes - $10.99
Choice of 3 (kibbeh, falafel, baked feta) - 14.99

Coke - 4.00

Subtotal - $29.98

Tax - 1.50

TOTAL = $31.48

I don't know - maybe we're pigs. However, I don't feel that we got our money's worth here. Perhaps we didn't order enough food (we did only get two appetizers), but hey - I'm no Rockefeller. I don't even have a job yet; I'm still on unemployment. Give me a break! I got what I could afford. I was just disappointed because I had such high hopes for this place, and aside from the interior, parking, and the taste of the food, everything else was kind of a bust. Our waiter seemed to disappear again, and just before I could ask him where the ladies' room was. Since I was tired of waiting, I decided to leave $38 on the table for him (including 20% tip), say goodbye to Pam and company, and leave. As we walked out, Mom reminded me how skinny most Mediterranean people are. Now I know why - THEY DON'T EAT! You may ask why I'm rating this place a 3 (good). The reason is because the food is good, and if you live in the area, you should try it at least once. Would I go back? I would, because there are other things on the menu that I would like to try. However, if I'm really hungry and I'm looking for a quick meal that is going to give me a lot for my money, I'll hit the McDonald's Dollar Menu ... and that's just what we did afterwards.

P.S. - When we left, it was 5 p.m. That means that it took us an hour and a half to eat nothing. Oh, and their paper lunch menu boasts different prices than both the online and regular menu that we read at the restaurant. Does this mean that the lunch portions could be *gasp* even smaller than they are normally? C'mon, Waterstreet. I can get a king size appetizer of Gold Fever Wings from Pub 99 for under $12, and you certainly get your money's worth there. I'm starving ...