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I was intrigued to see this place only two blocks from my apartment: “Conference Cafe - American Cuisine”! So I went in and, in my usual manner, I read the entire menu. It almost reads like a menu in the United States. However, beware! It...is NOT what it seems to be!
First of all, after visiting this place a few times, it is not busy at all and the music is too loud and of the worst choices. So much for ambiance!
As I read the menu, I saw an entry for “Chili.” Well, this is a wonderful American food, they have it on their menu, I am from the United States, and they must be able to rise to the challenge. So I thought “What the hay!” and I ordered it. What did I get? Well it was not chili at all. It was a bowl of watery solyanka (a common soup dish that, to me, tastes worse than anything that I have ever eaten)!. I immediately sent this back to the kitchen and, of course refused to pay for it.
Next, I ordered a”classic” hamburger cooked “medium.” I order mine with the bun, beef, and cheese only. On the side, I request pickles and onion. I also only order ketchup (catsup in some parts of the U.S.). What did I get? I got well-done burger with EVERYTHING (tomato, lettuce, mayonnaise, some creepy tomato sauce, lacking in pepper or salt and so on)! Also, there was a small tub of “ketchup” that was, in reality, only a spicy tomato sauce (sort of what is used for shish kebab in places around here in Bishkek). The burger was also so thick that there was a problem even eating the thing. One thing that is important (according to Anthony Bourdain) is that one must take a full bite so that ALL of the ingredients are mixed inside the mouth to create a lovely flavor that is to die for. No, they put on a special sauce, everything that they could throw at it and called it a “classic burger” that NO ONE in the U.S would EVER eat! I had this deep feeling that I was not in Kansas anymore. I sent this back as well and would not pay for it either.
The beer is good!
Now for the revelation! I spoke with the owner who said that she went to Georgetown University and spent many years in the U.S. She also confided that she hates ketchup. This was just the filigree. Next, she actually told me that the name of the restaurant was not really what it is! She said that, basically, “Conference Cafe: American Cuisine” is really a Kyrgyz food restaurant! I was astounded! I asked her, after this, “Do you mean that your name of your restaurant that tells me that you have real ‘American Cuisine’ is a fraud? That you are lying to me?” Well, the interview did not last much longer after that question. She was adamant that it is a “Kyrgyz” food restaurant. The unmitigated gall of this women!
So, what is my overall advice?
DON”T GO THERE!More
Date of visit: September 2018
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