Quetzal: A story of patience, decent food and a slightly high cost

Mediterranean melt and garlic potatoesWhen I try to think of my passions when it comes to food and what I truly enjoy, it always comes around to one topic: sandwiches. When looking for a lunch spot, my mind always springs straight to places that will serve me good bread with meat and veggies in between.

That led me invariably to Quetzal on Union on the edge of Downtown Memphis. The restaurant certainly has some atmosphere. With warehouse-esque ceilings, slightly deconstructed walls and computers everywhere, you definitely get the feeling that the owners are trying to make this a hip coffee house.

Before I get into the food, however, you need to know, the waitstaff isn’t particularly interested in serving you fast. When I entered, I took a seat against one of the booths lining the walls. It was more than five minutes before I had to go on a quest to find a menu. If a place is crowded, this is forgivable. I give servers the benefit of the doubt whenever I can. Quetzal, however, was dead.

With two other occupied tables and two servers to cover, I was a bit let down by a lack of attentiveness. I’m more than willing to give them another shot on this. Maybe they were having an off day. It happens to the best of us.

The food is mainly what we’re hear to discuss, anyway.

I ordered the Mediterranean Melt, a focaccia panini. The sandwich comes with chicken, sun dried tomatoes, olives, Feta cheese and pesto. As a point of full disclosure, I should tell you: If put Feta cheese and pesto on a sandwich, there’s a pretty good chance I’m going to love it.

The Melt is no exception. The flavors meld quite well, though I could have used fewer olives. The focaccia is light and toasted to a nice crunch.

The one problem I have with the sandwich is that it’s way too easy to bite through the bread. This may seem an odd issue, “Why is ease of eating an issue?” you may very well ask. Well, once your teeth push through the nice crust their grill has left on the bread, there’s nothing else that stands in the way. I felt like I was in a Peanuts strip and Lucy was going pull the football away as I kicked at it.

You’ll be happy to note, I managed to escape without injury.

The sandwich comes with your choice of a side salad or garlic potatoes. The menu makes note that you should order the potatoes “while they last.” With scarcity like that, I had to order them.

The insides of a Mediterranean MeltThe potatoes were roasted perfectly. Just enough browning on the outside, fluffy potato on the inside. The seasoning isn’t quite right, though. Some bites were great with a larger amount of garlic (real garlic pieces, not garlic salt), others had no garlic on them and there was nothing to hold the garlic to the potato and no spices to help combine the flavors.

Overall, the potatoes are mediocre, but they’re definitely not meant to be the star of the show.

The food at Quetzal is pretty good, but definitely not worth the price point. With tip, my bill topped out over $17 for lunch.

And trying to cram Quetzal into an hour lunch break (even when in walking distance) is a push with the service.

Worth a try if you’re into sandwiches, but I can think of better sandwich shops in the area.

Quetzal on Urbanspoon

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