I guess I should’ve realized a place named Mojito doesn’t exactly scream “family fun”! Greetings, fellow Clinton Hillers and surrounding-area denizens. It’s Tillie’s sidekick Van (I guess she’s the star since her name is in the headline) documenting another one of our lunchtime expeditions. This time, we hit Mojito, the Cuban restaurant on Washington between Flushing and Park avenues. And it didn’t exactly work out to be the best of choices for me and the Tillster, but I’ll get into that. First, let me tell you how we ended up there.
On our previous trips, we had gone to a few spots on Myrtle Avenue and another on Vanderbilt. But when mapping out our next destination, I decided that Tillie should get in touch with her Brooklyn roots—particularly, that Wallabout, South of the Navy Yard side of her that comes from me. (Actually, I’m from Mobile, Alabama, but when I moved to BK a few years ago, I used to live directly across from the Navy Yard, next to the Sweet’N Low factory. Shout out to 38 Cumberland Street!)
Anyway, I know that area is starting to really take off with new restaurants, shops and a grocery store opening soon. I picked an old standby for us to go to, Mojito, which has been around for a few years. I had only been there a couple of times, but Tillie’s mom and I (and lil’ T) just popped in a couple of weeks ago one evening for some drinks and empanadas. I took a quick glance at the lunch menu, which I’m prone to do nowadays, and had it in the back of my mind to come back since we had such a pleasant experience.
So on this day, after doing some shoe shopping at the Fulton Street Mall (for Tillie, not me), we hopped on the B61 bus from downtown and made our way to the restaurant. Tillie and I had been out for a little while, and I almost thought of just heading home, but we stuck it out. I had food and a bottle for her, so how bad could things be?
We got in the restaurant and were told we could sit anywhere. The place was roomy enough, so we grabbed a little two-top with space around us and I asked for a high chair. I set Tillie up and while I was doing that, we received our cigar box with the toast and dipping sauce in it, along with the menu.
Let me interrupt myself here, because from this point on, my attitude shifts from optimistic to “ehh” about the place.
After getting the toast, it was at least five minutes or so before the waitress came back to our table. I saw her hitting other tables multiple times before coming to ours. When she did arrive, the first thing I ordered was a glass of water, which I needed after munching on dry toast! With that request made, I went for the pollo varadero—grilled chicken with onions and peppers with a citrus flavor, served with saffron rice and black beans. This lunch special also came with a soup (chicken potato) and a soda. Little did I know that it would be a while again before I saw the waitress!
Anyway, as I was waiting (mainly for that elusive glass of water), I prepared Tillie’s stash of goodies for her, led by the fresh cherries I sliced up for her. From the moment I gave her the first one, she developed this ravenous appetite for them the likes of which I hadn’t seen before! I didn’t want to dump them all out on a plate for her, so I was giving them to her a few at a time. I was afraid she was going to bite her hand off thinking it was a cherry!
My soup arrived, which at least had some moisture for me to partake of, then two bites in, the water—water, at last!—and the soda, then the main course. It was a lot to take in at once with trying to handle the cherry-eating machine that was Tillie, too. Then my waitress was off yet again, not to be seen or heard from until I asked to have my leftovers wrapped up and get the check.
But it wasn’t just our waitress, NO ONE in the restaurant ever came around to check on us: How’s everything? Anything to drink? Aww, what a cute baby! Nothing at all. We were pretty much ignored, which is pretty impressive because I’d think a guy with a baby would stand out among the other patrons!
I have to admit, though, that while the service and welcoming atmosphere was lacking, the food wasn’t: The flavors were exploding in my mouth! I mashed up some beans and rice for Tillie to take a bite of, in between her cherry scarfing, and she seemed to feel the same way, too. It might’ve been one of the best lunchtime meals I’ve eaten around the ‘hood.
But as great as the food was (and cheap, too: My mini-feast was only 10 bucks!), I wouldn’t recommend going there for lunch with a baby. It’s the first time I felt that “Oh great, a baby” vibe, and I’m sure it won’t be the last. But don’t worry about us: Tillie and I will keep plugging away!