Thursday, December 18, 2008

Cosmo's Café - so close but sometimes so far

Cosmo's Café is one half of what should be the perfect destination for foodies in Knoxville, sharing a space with Gourmet's Market.

It should be said, and early on in this mini-rant, that when the food at Cosmo's is good, it's very good. Breakfast covers the standard eggs, bacon, and potatoes range that you might expect but includes huevos rancheros (which I am biased against as a southwesterner), a fairly tasty breakfast burrito, and a very well laid-out omelette bar where your eggy concoction will be made before your eyes in real time. The coffee at Cosmo's is properly gourmet with two varieties of caffeinated and a decaf at all times.

Having been there on multiple occasions, early impressions were that this would be our de facto breakfast destination for a long time to come. During our first visits we were not exposed to "one Knoxville Standard Service" (which will be fully explained in its own rant later... all in good time, you'll get the idea soon enough) but rather the manager took personal interest in customers, the staff was fairly attentive and food was brought out quickly and warm. Prices were a tiny bit high but since that's the case everywhere in Knoxville we had no problem accepting it and enjoying well made food (and raving about it to others).

One friend in particular had custom omelettes several times in a row and they were all perfect. I had various breakfasts, almost always centered around my favorite part: potatoes, and the wife enjoyed her eggs and bacon tremendously.

Then, as is my particular gift to find, service started to slide radically. It started with "oh, we're out of potatoes." They had just opened. And potatoes are cheap and easy to keep warm and fairly moist and tasty even if it were later in the day. I don't get it. When I want (or need) potatoes that's a problem. Ironically, in this case it wasn't me ordering anything with the succulent flesh of potatoes, but the wife. Then food took forever to come out on multiple occasions. Sure, in one instance it was a time-change and half the staff didn't show up but... Actually, food not coming out became a serious problem. I'm pretty patient and unwilling to confront staff almost ever but I had to ask about my food multiple times. I was frustrated. Luckily, since coffee is self-serve, and was readily available I was never driven to caffeine-withdrawal spurred rage. The pattern of course was clear, there was no one driving the kitchen. No expediter, no manager keeping things going when it was desperately needed.

I would love for this to change because, as I said before, when the food is good, it's really good and I could use a stable, no-thinking breakfast locale when I just don't want to get going in the morning.

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