The Worst Meal You’ve Paid For

Those of us who engage in regular bouts of food reading and writing enjoy extolling the virtues of various foods and restaurants. Many of us have been moved by the skill and talents of various artisans throughout the world and have little difficulty in heaping praise on those we think deserve it.

There is a flip side to this. In order to find good food, we have to sample a fair amount. This means, for every great place that we find, the odds are great that there have been moments where we were surprised at just how bad food can be prepared and served. I don’t mean poor, where the food is edible but uninspiring. I mean BAD, in the “Holy-Christ, my soul weeps for those souls who enter this establishment” kind of way.

The worst restaurant I had ever had the anti-pleasure of visiting was a pizza place in Northern Virginia. At the time, I had already found a decent pizza place and it was firmly in my restaurant rotation. But for some reason I turned to this other place, likely under the pretense of not tying myself to only one pizza option.

And then, for some other reason whose logic escapes me, I ordered pasta. Specifically, a simple marinara.

What arrived was pasta that was both crunchy on the outside, and soggy in the middle. The Sauce? The sauce was water with a reddish tint, with a tiny pool of Kraft Parmesan Sawdust pooling itself into mini quicksand. The meal was inedible, and I called the place to have them either supply something of equal value, or return my money.

The phone jockey was annoyed at my protestations but soon agreed to send out pizza as compensation. The food was only slightly better, as it was recognizable as pizza. Tepid and lacking any level of flavor, but it was still pizza. From my point of view, it was better than the pasta. I had a bite or two, and then tossed it, and never called the restaurant again.

Six months later, it closed.

What was the worst meal from a restaurant that you have had? Leave a comment below.