Unlike other places where you need to dress to impress, Spider Kelly's urges you to "come as you are," whether that's in a "t-shirt or tuxedo." Maybe you shouldn't put away your fancy clothes just yet.
I know. It's the first week, give it time, they're learning, blah blah blah. I'll tell you what I thought on opening week, and if you decide to give it a chance and tell me things have improved, so be it. But this is how they are introducing themselves to the (hungry) public.
We arrived and were directed to the couches in the back while we waited for a table. The hostess estimated a 15 minute wait, which ended up being about 30 minutes. We were on comfy couches with beers that eventually showed up, and didn't mind.
When seated, we ordered the pulled chicken flautas as an appetizer, I got the three-day chicken, J the Dr. Pepper pork chop, and a side of grilled cole slaw.
Appetizer, noun: food or drink served usually before a meal to stimulate the appetite. (emphasis added).
We waited a short forever for our food before being served the flautas and entrees at the same time. Our server said something along the lines of "Oh yeah, the kitchen doesn't know which thing is supposed to come out first, so..." So? J said his chop was OK, a little undercooked (sound familiar) but he "wouldn't dare send it back since it would probably take another hour to get it again." My chicken, which was supposedly brined for two days and then hanging with herbs and spices for another before being fire-roasted, was pretty good, but it wasn't rocket science. It was two legs, one had more meat than the other, and there was no indication on the menu of which exact chicken part(s) I'd be receiving. There were no sides on either plate, not even a sprig of something--our meats decided to "come as they are," you could say. The flautas? It would have been better if they had gone the way of the grilled cole slaw, that is, never have come at all. The room temperature chunks of chicken ("pulled?") placed in a sub-par cold and raw flour tortilla on top of watery (and flavorless) green liquid (the alleged "avocado/cilantro cream"). Aren't flautas supposed to be fried, more like taquitos? This dish was reminiscent of the Whole Foods taqueria (RIP, it's since been ripped down for the big renovation), but J says the appetizer was "less appealing" than the WF version. Ouch.
As we waited our second forever of the evening to get our check, I realized I felt a little off. What was it that irked me--the way there's NO beer on tap and we had to pour our own drinks? Was it the blaring 90's soft-rock music, a strange occurrence considering the tiny bar area? The single stall bathroom? The lack of side dish and inedible appetizer, which made us look like we're on Atkins or something?
Twas dehydration. We ate plates of salty meat with no drinks or distractions after our beers disappeared.
As J settled up the bill, a busboy arrived and asked if we wanted water. So THAT'S what those water glasses on our table were for! And it's not like we could have asked our server for a drink or requested our side dish--it was hard enough to find the guy so we could pay and get the heck out of there. I peered around at other tables, it looks like no one got the sides they ordered.
Whole Foods closed at 10:30, but we got in by 10:28 to buy some proper dessert.
Forget the service, or lack thereof. The saddest part is that even though India Curry House, Spider Kelly's predecessor, had way superior food any day of the week, this place will thrive as another mediocre loud American food overflow spot for people who want to mostly drink and do a little eating, and don't want to wait to eat the very decent food at Lib Tav.
3181 Wilson Boulevard
Metro: Orange Line to Clarendon