It used to be a good restaurant once upon a time!
Passing along the Faqra road you always come across the familiar Chez Michel special stone sign. It's a beautiful place - a house built with huge stone blocks, a wide terrace decorated with a lot of high trees, relaxing chairs, all under a high tent favoring the cold mountain breeze. A perfect first impression of this nice place, where a feeling of class and high standard makes you comfortable. Reaching our table I started looking at the details, waiting patiently for someone to welcome us for a drink and the order.
What I liked:
- Their big ceramic plates, clean and pleasant to eat in. - The spacious restaurant. - The sound system. - The nice and relaxing tissue chairs (Not wooden and hard like other Lebanese restaurants) - They offer Pepsi and Coke.
Everything runs on slow-motion in this restaurant:
- We had to wait for 15 minutes to have someone throw the menus in the middle of the table for us to choose from. - The waiters didn't approach our table more than once every 20 minutes. - The Arguile guy brought the Shisha when we reached and didn't pass to fix it even once during the whole two hour Sunday lunch. - We ordered the bill at 4pm and waited for it to be delivered at 4:20pm - We had to ask for coffee from 4 different waiters before it was served.
The Big Problem:
At Chez Michel, the big problem is that there are no head waiters only unprofessional part-timers running around the restaurant with their trays and that is the maximum of their know how. Every dish was delivered by a different waiter, and during lunch there was no specific responsible waiter to refer too so it is impossible to ask for a favor or order something new. I asked for a Diet Coke and enjoyed the process: The first waiter went directly to another- who seemed to be in charge of our section- and asked him for my Diet Coke by pointing his hand at our table. The second waiter was busy so he continued to his table and remembered 15 minutes later to come back with the Coke. The same thing happened when we ordered the bill; the first waiter we found passing by went to the second and the second to the third until I shouted and received this 'precious' bill 20 minutes later.
Unorganized and not prepared to handle a full house.
- Some of the plates are too sour and too salty to eat. - Hummus, the simplest of dishes was watery and the Tehini flavor covered everything else. - Thyme and cheese salad's lemon sauce was too prominent. - The meat is good. Not as good as that of Halabi or Kababji, but its fine. - Sambousik is undercooked - Fatayer is too sour. - Chicken liver is too oily with a very strong lemon taste. - More than half of the dishes contain a lot of garlic.
Again the waiters:
- After we finished lunch, plates were not removed from the table until we asked. - Waiters were really too unorganized. - You don't feel a welcoming ambiance in this restaurant. - I didn't see anyone smiling from the manager to the waiters.
- Fruits are offered - A oud player, a nice one man, show starts at 2:30pm and plays for an hour. - The valet service is polite, professional and quick. - The architecture of the place is very nice and the view as well. - A woman from the village prepares freshly made mini mankoushe and markouk bread.
Would I repeat the experience? No