Report Card: Pocahontas Pancake House

Pocohontas Pancake House

Pocohontas Pancake House

Pocahontas Pancake House on Urbanspoon

http://pocahontaspancakes.com/

Overall GrubGrade B

 

The Breakdown:

 

Atmosphere: Grade B-: Pocohontas Pancake House was certainly nothing special from the outside. The outside of the building looked pretty much like all the rest of the little shops located on the strip near the ocean. On the inside, the décor was interesting but pretty dated. There was an abundance of Native American themed artwork around the interior, but the rest of the inside looked like it hasn’t been updated in a couple of decades at least. It was busy when we stopped by for breakfast, but you would expect a large crowd at a pancake house in a tourist town. Table spacing was okay based on the size of the place and the volume of diners.

High marks: Interesting Native American themed décor

Low marks: Bland exterior, dated booths and tables

…………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………

Service: Grade B: We believe our server, Nicole, took pretty good care of us. I say we believe because we honestly couldn’t remember a single thing about the service a day after our visit. That means two things occurred…1) there was nothing special about the service and 2) nothing bad enough to permanently imbed itself into our memories occurred.

High marks: Nothing really bad occurred

Low marks:   Nothing memorable occurred

…………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………

Food/Spirits: Grade B: We had coffee and juice for beverages for our breakfast (with Morgan chugging a glass of chocolate milk), so there’s not much to talk about in that regard. Morgan had French Toast (again) and Katina had a waffle (again) and I ordered a Meat Lover’s Omelet (again). Evidently we forgot to pack our sense of adventure for this vacation. Morgan didn’t say too much about her French Toast, but that’s probably because her mouth was jammed full of French Toast with each bite she took. I swear that girl thinks that eating is a race. Katina described her waffle as “good” which I am sure really distinguishes it from the hundreds of other waffles she’s eaten in the past. If you’re a waffle freak, you’re on your own here. The Meat Lover’s omelet was really tasty, but it contained no cheese. In fairness to Pocohontas, they do not claim to put cheese in the omelet in the menu description, but in my opinion the presence of cheese is a defining characteristic of an omelet. A cheese-less omelet is like chip-less nachos…it might be tasty but it’s just not right.

High marks: Assuming delicious French Toast and a decent waffle          

Low marks: Cheese-less omelet – pay attention to the descriptions on the menu.

…………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………

Value: Grade B-: The three of us feasted for around $50. In my opinion, that’s about $5-$10 more than I would expect to pay for a breakfast of this caliber. There are a few other breakfast places to try in Virginia Beach, but not too many. We would recommend Pocohontas Pancake House based on the quality of the food, even though it might be a tad on the pricey side.

High marks: Decent quality

Low marks: A little over-priced

Report Card: Giuseppe’s Italian

Giuseppe's wall of wine

Giuseppe’s wall of wine

Giuseppe's Italian Restaurant on Urbanspoon

http://www.giuseppes.com/

 

Overall GrubGrade B

 

The Breakdown:

 

Atmosphere: Grade B+: Walking in to Giuseppe’s Italian Restaurant might remind you of walking into someone’s house – if that someone were a raging alcoholic. Look at that wall of wine in the picture. The entire back wall of the main dining room is a wine rack. Giuseppe’s was nice and clean, and definitely felt more like a house than a restaurant. The noise level was a little high, and we found that our tables were a little too close to our neighbors.

High marks: Clean and comfortable

Low marks: Better table spacing needed

…………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………

Service: Grade B+: Our server, Susan, did a good job taking care of us. However, we honestly can’t remember a whole lot about her. The service was a little bland. Our orders were accurate, and we don’t recall having an extensive wait for any of the food, but there was really nothing memorable about the experience from the service angle.

High marks: No mistakes or big wait times

Low marks:   No pizzazz or anything else memorable

…………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………

Food/Spirits: Grade B: We started off with our traditional calamari as an appetizer. The marinara dipping sauce was quite tasty, but the squid itself was pretty rubbery. We realized when our entrees came out that we had barely touched the calamari and instead gobbled up the bread, which was pretty good. Katina had an iced tea, Morgan had a ginger ale, and I opted for a Bold Rock, which was a local microbrew that was okay but not rapture inducing. Morgan selected a pizza for her entrée. She enjoyed the spicy, sweet sauce and the crunchy crust, but thought there was a bit too much cheese on the pizza and it overwhelmed the dish. Katina selected the lobster risotto. It was creamy with lots of greens, but it needed a little more lobster. The sauce was a tomato based sauce that mixed nicely with the wine that was used for deglazing. I ordered the homemade meatballs. These things were massive and awesome. The meatballs were nice and tender. I wasn’t a huge fan of the pasta that was served with the meatballs (I found it rather bland), but I ordered the dish for the meatballs, so I was still pleased.

High marks: Great meatballs, nice sauce in risotto          

Low marks: Pizza too cheesy, pasta served with meatballs nothing special, need more lobster in risotto

…………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………

Value: Grade C: Portion sizes were adequate, and quality was okay but we’ve had much better. But the bill led to a little bit of sticker shock. I would expect dazzling service and an experience that would make us count the days until we revisited for a price of about $30 per person. If you have a real hankering for some Italian food and can’t find any suitable alternatives, you’ll get a decent but slightly overpriced meal at Giuseppe’s. I would exhaust all of my alternatives before I visited.

High marks: Adequate portion size and decent quality

Low marks: Overpriced for overall experience

Report Card: Nick’s Fresh Seafood & Steaks

The very imaginatively named Nick's Restaurant

The very imaginatively named Nick’s Restaurant

Nick's Fresh Seafood & Steaks on Urbanspoon
 

Overall GrubGrade B

 

The Breakdown:

 

Atmosphere: Grade C-: We decided to hit Nick’s Fresh Seafood & Steaks on our first night in Virginia Beach. We were pretty tapped out from the drive in, so we were not real happy when we realized we misjudged the distance Nick’s was from our hotel. It was quite a trek, and we were heartbroken when we arrived. From the outside, Nick’s looked a little on the dumpy side. Nick’s could have just as easily been a dry cleaner judging by the exterior of the place. Upon entering, there wasn’t much about the look of the place to put our minds at ease. Nick’s Fresh Seafood and Steaks looked more like a dive bar than a restaurant. There was enough crap on the tables and walls to be overwhelming, and it doesn’t look like the place has had a facelift since the Brady Bunch was still filming. There was no hostess, so it was seat yourself. Plus there were no menus on the table, so when I took it upon myself to grab a couple from a nearby bin, I was rudely told they were the wrong menus. Overall, off to a real bad start.

High marks: None

Low marks: Cluttered, old, outdated, dirty…the list goes on and on

…………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………

Service: Grade B-: Apparently, old Nick isn’t dropping a fortune in labor costs. There was only one server that we could see, and the place was pretty busy. Despite what appeared to be an overwhelming situation, our server did a really decent job handling all our needs. Our server was fairly attentive, but not really engaging at all. That, however, is probably less her fault than that of the Einstein that decided one server would be adequate to handle 20 or more tables. There were other employees milling around, but we have no idea what their function was. Our order was accurate, and although there was a bit of a wait for the food, the wait wasn’t anything we’d consider to be inappropriate.

High marks: Accurate and attentive

Low marks:   Frenzied and not engaging

…………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………

Food/Spirits: Grade B+: Had Nick’s Fresh Seafood and Steak not been a 20 minute pilgrimage from our hotel, I might have made the family turn around and go elsewhere (I can sometimes do that since I usually carry the wallet, but Katina doesn’t let me wield too much power too often). It turns out that fleeing would have been a mistake. Nick’s had some pretty good food. The hush puppies were well prepared and delicious, and our daughter, Morgan, would have been happy making her entire meal out of them. Morgan did decide to go with her traditional plain turkey sandwich, which must have tasted better than it looked because she scarfed it down. But it was just turkey and bread, so that would be pretty hard to screw up. Katina ordered the “all you can eat flounder.” The flounder was lightly battered and according to Katina, perfectly cooked. She thought it was delicious, and we both found the French fries to be really good (although not the absolute best we’ve had). I ordered the bacon cheeseburger, which was advertised on the menu as being the best in Virginia Beach. I believe it. It was a really simple burger that was absolutely perfectly cooked with just the right amount of bacon.

High marks: Good flounder, fries, cheeseburger, and hush puppies      

Low marks: Entrees were overly simplified

…………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………

Value: Grade A-: We’ve got to hand it to Nick’s. Most of those who will visit this restaurant will be on vacation and probably working with a budget. Nick’s will be a good choice for you. Despite the poor start, Nick’s Fresh Seafood and Steaks turned it around with good food, generous portions (“all you can eat flounder” for Pete’s sake), and a completely reasonable price. We feasted for a mere $53, and we didn’t even order the least expensive dishes on the menu.

High marks: Portion size, quality, price

Low marks: Tidy up the appearance and increase staffing, and it could be an A+ next time

 

 

 

Report Card: Shorty’s Diner

Shorty's Diner

Shorty’s Diner

 
Shorty's Diner on Urbanspoon

http://shortysdinerva.com/

Overall GrubGrade B+

 

The Breakdown:

 

Atmosphere: Grade B: We almost missed Shorty’s Diner. According to my navigation unit, Shorty’s is on the wrong side of the street. I know what you’re going to say, Shorty, and you can save it. You need to pick yourself up and move to the other side of the street so we’re not all confused.

Shorty’s Diner (despite not being where it is supposed to be) was a real authentic looking diner on the inside. The booths and tables seemed to be really clean, and our silverware and other dining utensils passed inspection. We stopped by Shorty’s for some breakfast, and while the diner was doing pretty brisk business, none of the staff seemed overwhelmed.

High marks: Clean and authentic looking

Low marks: Someone built it on the wrong side of the street – my nav unit doesn’t lie!

…………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………

Service: Grade B+: Breakfast, in our humble opinion, is probably one of the harder meals to serve. There is usually not much patience in waiting for the first meal of the day, and that coffee better be fresh and constantly being poured in our mugs for us to be happy. With that being said, our server pulled it off. There was nothing really spectacular about the service, but everything came out correctly and there was minimal wait for the server when we needed her.

High marks: Solid and accurate service

Low marks:   Nothing special about the service

…………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………

Food/Spirits: Grade B+: We just had coffee and orange juice to drink (with some chocolate milk for Morgan) since this was breakfast (despite what you may think, we are not animals). Morgan ordered French Toast, Katina opted for the biscuits and gravy, and I selected the Meat Lover’s omelet. The French toast was scrumptious, as evidenced by how our daughter swallowed each piece with minimal chewing. She could give an anaconda pointers on how to swallow a meal whole. The toast was thick and sweet and rich, and according to Morgan, might be even better than my French toast, which I’ve heard is pretty awesome. Katina’s really enjoyed the biscuits and gravy. The sausage in the gravy had a nice kick, and the portion size was on the generous side. In a word, she thought they were delicious. The Meat Lover’s omelet was also good. It had a really nice flavor, but it was a little too light on the cheese. According to Shorty’s menu, the omelet is supposed to be “stuffed” with cheddar cheese. I’m not exactly sure there was ANY cheese in the omelet (which is kind of one of the characterizing ingredients of an omelet). However, the omelet was still really good.

High marks:  Fantastic French toast and awesome biscuits and sausage gravy    

Low marks: Minimal to no cheese on an omelet advertised as “stuffed” with cheese

…………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………

Value: Grade A-: We left Shorty’s just shy of having to unbutton our pants/shorts, which is a good sign when it comes to rating portion size. The quality of food was good enough to take us by surprise, and topping out at $31 after tip, we felt Shorty’s Diner was a real bargain. You could probably do a lot worse if you’re in the neighborhood than Shorty’s – just make sure when your navigation system tells you an empty lot is your destination, you look across the street.

High marks: Great value and high quality food along with really good portion size

Low marks: Some might find $31 a little high for breakfast (not us)

Honorable Mention: Pierce’s Pitt BBQ

Pierce's Pitt -- in the middle of nowhere

Pierce’s Pitt — in the middle of nowhere

Pierce's Pitt Bar-B-Que on Urbanspoon

http://www.pierces.com/

I was absolutely certain that both my wife (who seems to have a Magellan-like sense of direction) and my navigation unit had completely lost it on the way to Pierce’s Pitt. We got off the exit from I64 West and drove through this tiny little speck of civilization that’s usually present off of most highway exits (you know…the standard gas station or two along with at least a McDonald’s). Then we proceeded to leave this little hamlet of society and drive into the wilderness. At any moment, I was expecting someone in a jacked up pick-up truck to force me off the road. The last things I would hear would be Dueling Banjos playing from the truck’s open windows and some hayseed with less teeth than fingers telling me I had “a real pretty mouth.”

Thankfully, in the midst of the acres and acres of woods, we came upon Pierce’s Pitt. Couldn’t miss the building if you tried because 1) It was huge and 2) It’s the only building around. Despite the remote location, there were a ton of people dining at Pierce’s Pitt. It was inexplicable.

Pierce’s gets the “Honorable Mention” treatment because it was essentially fast food (although in our case, not so fast at all), and thus we had no server to speak of. And despite quite a few bbq-themed selections on the menu, Katina and I both decided to order the catfish (we were planning on having barbecue when we got back to Ohio, so there you have it). We ordered, took our number and our empty drink cups, and then found one of the few vacant booths to kick back in.

Then we waited…and waited…and waited. We were number 41, and I am pretty sure they were almost out of the 60s when they called our number. I was hoping for an experience that would blow my socks off, but it was not to be. There was a pretty good amount of catfish with each dinner, along with a heaping mound of French fries. The catfish was good, but by no means the best I’ve had. Katina’s Granny can make some mean catfish in a pot in the back yard that would make Pierce’s catfish seem like canned tuna. The breading was a touch overcooked, but the filets themselves were tasty, if not a little overly crunchy. As for the fries…very good. But when the best part of the meal is the French fries or the hush puppies, then that speaks volume about the rest of the food. To be fair to Pierce’s, however, we did not get anything barbecued, and since that is obviously their specialty, maybe the saucy stuff is better. We have to recommend Pierce’s if you’re in the area, primarily because we’re not sure there’s any other choice. When you go, though, opt for some barbecue and let us know if it was as good as you hoped it would be. And one final note – the barbecue we had once we got back to Columbus was the bomb!

Honorable Mention: North End Pizza

north-end-pizza-header
North End Pizza Pastas and Subs on Urbanspoon

http://www.northendpizzavb.com/

Our first vacation review is a quick glance at a pizza joint called North End Pizza. Known for their “New York” style pizza, North End Pizza is right on the oceanfront. Inside and out, nothing about the look of North End Pizza is probably going to get most vacationers too excited. A fairly plain exterior and an interior that looks like it was lifted straight from a nearby Dairy Queen, if you hit up North End Pizza, you had better be going for the food rather than the atmosphere.

North End Pizza gets the “Honorable Mention” treatment because like most average pizza places, there’s really no service to speak of. We entered, placed our order with the cashier, and took out receipts and empty cups over to the fountain drink dispenser and then our somewhat sticky and greasy booth. After about 15 minutes, our number was called and after an acknowledging nod from myself, an employee did bring the pizza to our table along with a wad of napkins.

As for the pizza itself, it wasn’t too bad. The thin crust wasn’t too crisp or too chewy, and was just firm enough to not fall apart when you picked up a slice. A word of warning to any health nuts out there: you’re probably going to need your arteries Roto-Rootered if you eat more than a few slices of this pizza. If you’re in the camp (and I think this is primarily a college student mentality) that the greasier the pizza the tastier the pizza, then North End Pizza should be the end point of your quest for the perfect pizza. However, if you’re more like us and would rather not have to bury your pizza in grated parmesan cheese to soak up the excess grease (which forms a rather tasty but extremely unhealthy yellow-orange paste) then you may want to skip North End Pizza. Bottom line is that the pizza wasn’t too bad, but we’ve certainly had better (and worse). The price was reasonable, which may also be a factor since the majority of those who will visit North End Pizza will be on vacation and probably on a budget. If you’re in the neighborhood, we recommend you at least give North End Pizza a try. You can order by the slice if you don’t want to commit to a whole pie, and legend says they have some pretty choice salads, which is the direction you should definitely go if you post-first-heart attack.

Grubgraders heading east

Well it’s summer, and with summer comes the vacations.  And while Grubgraders loves the restaurant scene in Columbus, even we gotta get out every now and then and explore.  This year, we’re heading east — making stops in Williamsburg, Virgina and Boston, Massachusetts.  Why the sad look?…you know we’re bringing you all along with us.  I think next year we will head west, but we are certainly looking forward to our eastward journey this year.  I just hope I pick up a little Boston accent so I can drive my coworkers nuts.  We at Grubraders hope you all have a great summer, and we hope you enjoy hanging out with us on our trips.  You can bet Katina’s already got her list of restaurants ready.

Report Card: Mitchell’s Steak House

 

Mitchell's Steakhouse

Mitchell’s Steakhouse

Mitchell's Steakhouse on Urbanspoon

http://www.mitchellssteakhouse.com

 

Overall GrubGrade A

 

The Breakdown:

 

Atmosphere: Grade A: Inside and outside, Mitchell’s Steakhouse exudes classiness. We’ve seen reviews that are critical of Mitchell’s because of the lack of table linens, but we don’t have a problem with it. Personally, I get embarrassed when I drop some sauce on the white linens – it makes me feel like more of a slob than I normally do. Mitchell’s Steakhouse was very clean and the tables might be just a touch too close to each other, but we didn’t have any issues overhearing anyone else’s conversations. We had a very light wait for our table despite having reservations, but unlike Capital Grille in Pittsburgh, Mitchell’s only had us waiting for a few moments (we grabbed a seat at the bar and they had our table ready before the bartender could take our drink order).   The interior décor was nice and upscale, but might be considered a tad boring since it looked pretty much like every other premium steakhouse at which we’ve dined.

High marks: Very clean and contemporary

Low marks: Slight wait for table, décor not very unique

…………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………

Service: Grade A+: Katina and I had selected Mitchell’s because we were celebrating our wedding anniversary and we felt like getting pampered. So, I was ready to really tear apart our service, but I didn’t get that chance. Our server, Julie, was worth her weight in gold. This was one of those rare occasions when a server obtains near perfection in our eyes, and probably the main reason we score this category so harshly. She was amazing, and to the management of Mitchell’s Steakhouse, whatever you’re paying her isn’t near enough. Julie was very personable and wished us a happy anniversary without harping on it all night. She had an uncanny ability to not be near us when she wasn’t needed yet appear the moment we needed something from her. She made us feel like we were her only table, but I know she had more tables than just ours. The meal was very appropriately paced, allowing Katina and I to have a conversation but not having us waiting for food or drinks to arrive. Our orders were spot on in accuracy, and we could find nothing negative to say about the service. Outstanding.

High marks: Felt pampered, service was accurate, it was all good

Low marks:   None

…………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………

Food/Spirits: Grade A-: Like most of our dining experiences, we started off with drinks and an appetizer. Unlike most of our dining experiences, this one started off with personal menus, which was a nice touch.

Our personalized menus

Our personalized menus

Katina ordered a Blueberry Mojito, which was well-balanced with just a hint of mint. The mojito had a nice strong blueberry flavor and virtually no alcohol bite. I ordered a Guinness because I like how the flavor of that beer complements most steaks and chops. We selected the Spicy Lobster for an appetizer. The Spicy Lobster consisted of lightly breaded bite sized chunks of lobster that were perfectly cooked. A spicy cream sauce accompanied the lobster. The cream sauce wasn’t really spicy despite the name, but did have a really nice flavor. For entrees, Katina selected the Twin Caribbean Lobster tails (big surprise) and I selected the lamb chops (even bigger surprise). Katina thought the lobster tails were nicely seasoned and they were served with regular melted butter. The tails were really good, but mixing a little heavy cream with the butter (a la Bonefish Grill) makes the butter thicker and causes it to stick to the lobster better. Yummy, but the lobster was still really tasty. The lamb chops came out as a fairly large portion (I find most lamb chop portion size to be on the small size).   Other than a couple of spots that had some gristle, the chops were perfectly cooked and absolutely delicious. Whereas Barrel 44 couldn’t get medium will right with their burgers, Mitchell’s Steakhouse nailed it. We has some green beans cooked with red pepper and bacon as our side, and they were simply some of the best green beans we’ve has to date. They were crispy and very flavorful, and made me not mind earing my vegetables (which is not an easy feat). After finishing off our entrées, we were ready to pack it in, but Julie was having none of that. We scored a complementary desert to share since it was our anniversary, and the cheesecake we selected was simply awesome. It has a nice, rich flavor without being overwhelming like some cheesecakes can be. We gathered up our stuff and headed out the door, but we were stopped on the way out and handed an envelope. Inside was a note wishing us a happy anniversary and a $25 gift card. Wow! We really felt like we were getting individual treatment. If you are going out to celebrate an occasion, we can think of no better place than Mitchell’s Steakhouse to spend your money.

High marks: Delicious drinks and appetizer, awesome green beans and dessert               

Low marks: A little gristle here and there

…………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………

Value: Grade B: We actually got a whole lot more for our money than we were expecting. Normally a bill the size of ours would fetch a grade of C, but the service and experience were so wonderful, we had to give Mitchell’s a B. Watch out though…you’re not getting off too cheap. But we can definitely say the at Mitchell’s Steakhouse, you get what you pay for (and then some).

High marks: Good portion size, great service, and a few perks

Low marks: A little expensive, but worth it

 

Report Card: Barrel 44

Barrel 44 in the Short North

Barrel 44 in the Short North

Barrel 44 - Short North on Urbanspoon

http://www.barrel44.com/shortnorth.html

Overall GrubGrade C+

 

The Breakdown:

 

Atmosphere: Grade B-: Barrel 44 is a whiskey bar located in the Short North. Inside, the place is small and quaint, and looks exactly like what you would expect a whiskey bar to look like. The inside is dominated by a large bar that is surrounded by black and white pictures and some battered tables, which gave the place an authentic feel. When we arrived, we were the only ones dining. We thought the music was a little loud, and we could imagine a raucous environment when the place fills up. Initially, Barrel 44 came off as really clean and tidy, but once we unwrapped our silverware, we found it to be absolutely disgustingly dirty. Hopefully, the silverware wasn’t a harbinger of bad things to come.

High marks: Quaint and authentic looking

Low marks: Music a little loud, really dirty silverware

…………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………

Service: Grade B-: Our server swapped out our silverware once we pointed out how dirty it was and we were off and running. Our server was pretty short, which we have no problem with except that every time she went behind the bar we completely lost track of her – like not being able to see that really ancient lady from behind when she’s in the driver’s seat. Service was alright, though. We had a little bit of a wait for our food, which seemed odd since we were the only ones in the restaurant. Our service was accurate, but it was kind of just blah. I would have expected more with nothing else to distract our server. If you really want to hear what great service is like, make sure you check out the next post.

High marks: Accurate

Low marks:   Slow service, hard to keep track of server

…………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………

Food/Spirits: Grade C+: For drinks, Katina ordered something called an Irish Spring and I just had a beer. The Irish Spring was really tasty. It had a nice mix of sweet and sour with some peachy undertones. For our appetizer, we ordered the Chili Mac & Cheese. The Chili Mac & Cheese was cheesy and hardy, with a couple of different types of beans and corn thrown into the mix. All of the flavors really mixed well, and no one flavor dominated the dish. It was very well balanced. However, from there the food went downhill. For her entrée, Katina ordered the Barrel Bourbon Burger cooked medium-well. What she received was a burger cooked medium. Again, we still seem to have trouble getting restaurants to nail the medium-well burger (here’s a hint – if there’s a pool of blood beneath the meat, it probably needs to be cooked longer. So, Katina spent half the meal tearing off the bloody parts of the burger, which left a nice clump of mauled meat on her plate when she was done. She thought the parts she did eat were fine, but she couldn’t taste the bourbon glaze that was supposed to come with the burger, and actually the fries were the best part of the entrée. That says it all. I opted for the Shrimp and Sausage Flatbread. Not going to sugar coat it, my friends – it was pretty gross. The shrimp were a little too large (non-jumbo shrimp would have probably been better from a texture standpoint), and the sauce/salsa was just all wrong. It was too sweet and it completely dominated the dish. I couldn’t even taste the Andouille sausage, which has some pretty strong flavors (it didn’t help that there were only a few small bits of sausage on the whole flatbread). I was really disappointed.

High marks: Good drink and appetizer 

Low marks: Burger not cooked to correct temperature, flatbread was not good

…………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………

Value: Grade C: The driving force for the value score in this instance is a lack of quality. Considering the low food quality, reasonable portion sizes, and the fact we each only had one drink, we feel like we overpaid. Unfortunately, we recommend you all pass on this one. There are plenty of other places to eat in the Short North.

High marks: None

Low marks: Low quality means poor value

Report Card: Quaker Steak & Lube

 

Quaker Steak & Lube

Quaker Steak & Lube

 
Quaker Steak & Lube on Urbanspoon

http://thelube.com/locations/ohio/columbus/

Overall GrubGrade B-

 

The Breakdown:

 

Atmosphere: Grade C: If not for the dingy appearance, Quaker Steak & Lube would have probably received a much higher overall grade. Even though the theme of the décor is service garage, we still found the place to be pretty dirty. Menus were pretty sticky, which is a little gross. The interior, besides giving off a stout grungy vibe, is decked out in automobile themed décor. Quaker Steak & Lube is probably what restaurants look like in heaven for NASCAR fans. This wasn’t our first pit stop into Quaker Steak & Lube, but we don’t recall our previous visits feeling so dirty. Tables were adequately spaced, and the noise level wasn’t too bad, but there wasn’t a whole lot of action going on when we visited. We imagine it’s a different story if you stop by during one of their weekly biker rallys.

High marks: Table spacing was okay, not too noisy

Low marks: Dirty and sticky…debated on whether or not to get a tetanus shot after dinner

…………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………

Service: Grade B-: Here was another missed opportunity for a server to “wow” us. With little action going on other than us, I would have expected our server, Hubbert, to go that extra mile to impress us. But that didn’t happen. Don’t get us wrong; Hubbert did an alright job. Our service was timely and accurate. The service was just not memorable at all. We had minimal interaction with the server, but that’s really what we would have expected, especially if the place was hopping. Since Quaker Steak & Lube was almost empty, a little small talk would have been nice.

High marks: Quick and accurate

Low marks:   Nothing spectacular

…………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………

Food/Spirits: Grade B: Quaker Steak & Lube actually impressed us when it came to the food. We ordered some pretzel bites for an appetizer. The cheese sauce that came with the bites was quite tasty, but the bites themselves were super salty. We know…salty pretzels, how dare they? But this level of saltiness was beyond what you’d expect from soft pretzel bites. We’ve completely abstained from salt since our visit, since we’re fairly certain we received a year’s worth of salt with that appetizer. For drinks, Katina started with the Skinny Dragonberry Lime-N-Ade, which she described as fruity and smooth. For her second drink, she opted for something called the X-celebrate. This was the better of the two drinks and was a bit on the stronger side. It had lots of fruity flavors thanks to the midori and X-rated Fusion liquor. I opted for the Goose Island 312 Urban Wheat. It was smooth and more straightforward than most wheat beers. I found it delicious, and that’s a good thing since it came out in a pitcher-sized beer glass. For entrees, Katina ordered the QSL Burrito and I opted for the Arizona El Camino burger. We can already hear you griping…”Why didn’t you get the wings?” It’s fairly obvious that since Quaker Steak & Lube’s bread and butter are its chicken wings and the place is still open for business, then the wings must be pretty good. But what if you had to go there and you’re not a chicken wing fan? First, you’d be a weirdo for not liking wings, and second, you’d be in luck because Quaker Steak & Lube did an excellent job with our entrees. The QSL Burrito was surprisingly good considering Quaker Steak & Lube is not a Mexican restaurant (we could be overestimating the complexity of the burrito, as well). The burrito was a tad dry, but Katina fixed that with…wait for it…an extra side of queso. One of these days that woman is going to get a bucket of sauce with her dinner and still have the stones to ask for an extra side of it. Just hope I’m there to see the server’s face when it happens. The Arizona El Camino burger was downright delicious. Topped with Pepper-Jack and Cheddar-Jack cheeses, the “steak burger” was an ideal canvass for some bacon, sour cream, fire-roasted corn, black beans, and jalapenos. As a side note, is there any dish that black beans can’t make better? It was really an awesome burger, and I was very pleasantly surprised. We went ahead and got a piece of salted caramel cake for dessert, since we still didn’t feel the need to undo the button on our pants yet. The dessert, while not the highlight of the meal, was still really good.

High marks: Great burrito, great burger              

Low marks: Super salty pretzel bites

…………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………

Value: Grade A-: With food quality above expectations and really good portion sizes, we were pretty pleased with our bill. While the food quality seemed to exceed expectations based on how much we spent, appearance and service were below expectations. Clean those little issues up and Quaker Steak & Lube might become a regular spot for us. The rest of you all should definitely give them a try, and don’t feel like you have to order wings.

High marks: Exceeded expectations on food quality

Report Card: Liberty Tavern

Liberty Tavern, Powell, Ohio

Liberty Tavern, Powell, Ohio

Liberty Tavern on Urbanspoon
grubgraders Columbus restaurants

 

http://www.libertytavernpowell.com/

 

Overall GrubGrade B-

 

The Breakdown:

 

Atmosphere: Grade B: Liberty Tavern might not be the easiest bar to find, but we’d say it’s worth the effort to look for it. Traditional bar décor dominates the interior, and since it’s located in a shopping complex, we’re going to give it a pass for having a fairly boring exterior. Liberty Tavern did have a nice, big parking lot, which for us was a nice change (our other Powell based restaurant experience involved a parking lot that was basically an alley). Table spacing on the inside was nice, and the place was certainly clean (we did get there at noon, so if the inside was wrecked we would have been very concerned).

High marks: Clean, lots of parking

Low marks: Little hard to find

…………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………

Service: Grade C+: Liberty Tavern was empty when we arrived (as previously mentioned, we arrived at noon), but it was hopping by the time we left at 1pm. Our first drinks came out fairly quickly, but Liberty Tavern was a little understaffed. Once a few more patrons arrived, service slowed to a crawl. There was a particularly long wait between appetizers and entrees. We don’t believe this should reflect negatively on our server, who was also the bartender, but is more indicative of either poor scheduling or a place that’s business is growing faster than its staff.

High marks: Accurate, quick with the first round

Low marks:   Understaffed, slow service

…………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………

Food/Spirits: Grade B-: We snagged some Queso Pretzel Bread for our appetizer. What came out from the kitchen were bite-sized pretzel chunks that were lightly salted accompanied by a creamy cheese with a kick. Most of the bits of pretzel were soft, but the end pieces were a little hard. We would hate to think we were served a frozen soft pretzel that was, dare we say, microwaved instead of baked? We couldn’t prove it, but we’ve overcooked enough crap in the microwave to recognize the stone-like consistency that accompanies over-nuked food. Katina ordered a whiskey sour for her cocktail. It was quite sour with almost no whiskey bite, and that’s pretty much how she likes them made.   I ordered a Stone Arrogant Bastard to start with (I’ve discussed this beer previously, so we’ll skip the re-hash) and a beer called Lift (from Madtree Brewing Company located in the Nasty Nati – Cincinnati for those non-Ohioans). This Kolsch style beer was golden yellow, thin textured, and very light tasting with minimal to no aftertaste. For entrees, Katina ordered the Ginger Beef and I ordered the Bacon Wrapped Meatloaf. The Ginger Beef was not as veggie-laden as we expected, which was good. There was a nice amount of tender beef in the dish, and the beef had an unexpected but pleasant kick to it. Katina thought the dish had a nice balance of veggies and beef, but it was real “garlicky” which may or may not be a bad thing depending on how you feel about garlic. The Bacon Wrapped Meatloaf was served open faced with Texas toast, which was a little strange since there was only one piece of toast under one of the two pieces of meatloaf. The toast really didn’t add anything to the dish, which is why the lack of a second piece didn’t really bother me. The meatloaf could have used a little more sauce, but the meatloaf was juicy and really well-seasoned. The meatloaf was tender and perfectly cooked. I think the bacon pushed the overall flavor over to the salty side, but I didn’t mind (just made that second beer all the more important). The French fries that hitched a ride with the meatloaf were nice and crispy.

High marks: Well-cooked meatloaf, nice and meaty Ginger Beef             

Low marks: Slightly overcooked pretzels, meatloaf a little salty, better like garlic if you order the ginger Beef

…………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………

Value: Grade B-: Decent quality, average portion size, but slightly overpriced, we found the experience at Liberty Tavern to be pretty good. There were some slight issues with the service that affected their overall grade, but we still feel confident in recommending you give Liberty Tavern a shot if you’re in the Powell neighborhood. Just use your GPS if you got one or you may drive right by it (the entire town of Powell can be missed if you blink at the wrong time).

High marks: Decent quality

Low marks: Slightly overpriced

 

Report Card: Columbus Brewing Company

Columbus Brewing Company in downtown Columbus

Columbus Brewing Company in downtown Columbus

Columbus Brewing Company on Urbanspoon

http://www.columbusbrewingco.com/

 

Overall GrubGrade A-

 

The Breakdown:

 

Atmosphere: Grade B-: Before we officially get into talking about Columbus Brewing Company (CBC), we would like to point out that in addition to myself and Katina giving our opinions on the experience, our daughter, Morgan decided to not only grace us with her presence, but she also piped in with some really good observations. Columbus Brewing Company can be a little hard to find, so if you’re en route and feel like you might have missed it, keep going. I always feel like it’s just past where it should be, if that makes any sense. Morgan thought it looked better on the inside than outside, and we have to agree. But, the outside isn’t bad, even though Morgan thought it looked like a car service station. The inside was clean and decked out with fairly contemporary décor. Our previous experience with Columbus Brewing Company is that it can get pretty crowded since 1/3 of the interior seems to be devoted to the massive bar, which only allows for limited seating. You can see the fermenting vats through the glass along the back wall, which is pretty neat. And, much to Morgan’s delight, the restrooms were clean and elegant – she was amazed they had lotion in them. We visited Columbus Brewing Company on a Saturday for brunch. This was our first brunch at CBC, although we’ve eaten there for dinner service on a number of occasions. It was pretty busy, so the place was just a touch noisy. CBC should have gotten at least an A in this category, but they made a crucial error. When we arrived, the hostess was folding some T-shirts and rummaging around (I am assuming she was looking for a particular size for someone). She did not acknowledge us at all, so we stood there for 5 minutes waiting for someone to notice us. Finally, a passing server seated us. The hostess should have delegated that responsibility quickly to someone else once she figured out she wasn’t going to be able to take care of us while she folded the laundry. Contact with the hostess is the first contact diners have with the restaurant staff, usually, and therefore sets the tone for the entire experience. That little faux pas cost CBC at least a letter grade, and is probably the only reason their overall grade wasn’t in the A range. Don’t worry, we will definitely be back to grade a dinner service, as our previous experience with CBC had been exceptional.

High marks: Contemporary décor, elegant restrooms, clean and spacious

Low marks: Service station-like exterior, ignored by hostess

…………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………

Service: Grade A: We included the issue with the hostess in the atmosphere category because it set the tone for the experience and we didn’t want to penalize our server if they turned out to be really good. We are glad we made that decision, because Emily, our server, was able to quickly get our experience on track. Emily was personable and attentive without hovering, which is a nice skill to have. She even brought me a sample of a stout beer they had just tapped, and I didn’t even have to ask her for it. Food came out at a nice pace, and there were no errors with the service. We would wager that Emily would probably knock out an A+ service if we would have been there for dinner. Her opportunities to wow us were a little limited since we were there for brunch.

High marks: Personable, accurate, and quick service

Low marks:   Wish it would have been dinner service so she could really impress us

…………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………

Food/Spirits: Grade A-: From previous experience, we know that Columbus Brewing Company is home to the best appetizer that we’ve had so far. Of course we had to order it, but since Morgan was with us and has an unhealthy infatuation with pretzels, we had to get two appetizers. We opted for the Wood Fired Pretzel Bread and the Hot and Sour Fried Calamari. The pretzel bread was awesome. It came with both a creamy cheese sauce and a yellow mustard sauce that had a nice little kick to it. The pretzels themselves were warm and soft. The Hot and Sour Fried Calamari, which has always been our consensus pick as the best appetizer we’ve tasted to date, was disappointing. The sauce, which is nice and thick and sour with a spicy kick, was served on the side. Previously, the calamari was tossed in the sauce. Our advice for CBC is to go back to tossing the calamari. Plus, the chunks of calamari were a little tough, so they probably weren’t quite cooked to perfection. The dish also came dressed with chunks of what looked like oranges, which really did nothing but make some of the breading on the calamari soggy. Katina and Morgan both drank iced tea, but I wasn’t going to a brewery without getting a beer or two. I started with CBC’s Razz Wheat, which was a wheat beer with a hint of raspberry flavor. It has a sweet flavor but was well balanced. After finishing that beer, I selected the Plaid Ferret Scottish Ale by Weasel Boy Brewery in Zanesville, Ohio. It arrived in what looked like a glass beer can, which was neat. The beer itself was very dark brown. It was smooth and slightly bitter with a touch of sweetness. Overall, it was much milder than the color would suggest. It was a really excellent beer. Katina ordered the Orange Glaze Salmon for her entrée. She felt like the salmon portion was a little small. The glaze was tasty but not too sweet. She thought the sticky rice had good flavor and a bit of sweetness, but needed a little more sauce. I ordered the Cajun Jambalaya. It came with a robust sauce that had just a bit of kick to it. The entire dish was perfectly cooked and surprisingly meaty. I usually find jambalaya thin on the meat and heavy on everything else, but this version had more than enough meat. There was plenty of chicken, shrimp, salmon, and Andouille sausage to make the dish almost perfectly balanced (though I could have used more sausage since it’s my favorite). Here’s where we hit the pleasant surprise during the meal. Morgan selected the Chicken and Waffles, and by the end of the meal Katina and I wished we would have ordered the same thing as Morgan. The chicken came with a cornflake breading, and Morgan ate the chicken breast so fast we’re not sure how much she tasted it. She did comment that it was a little salty but she thought it was delicious. This was her first chicken and waffles, so she didn’t realize the chicken and waffles were supposed to be eaten together. The waffle itself was perfect, with just a hint of vanilla in the mix. Then the kitchen staff at CBC decided to top the waffle with honey butter and maple syrup. Morgan couldn’t tell where the butter ended and the syrup began. The waffle tasted sweet, and the butter and syrup just enhanced it. You could sauté a boot in honey butter and slather it with maple syrup like that found at CBC and I’ll eat it and ask for seconds as I choke down the shoelaces. Absolutely amazing — this now gives us more reasons to hit CBC when we’re downtown.

High marks: Chicken & waffles = heaven, good beer, good jambalaya   

Low marks: Calamari not as good as on previous visits, salmon portion a little small

…………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………

Value: Grade C+: Again, this category holds the least amount of weight in determining the overall grade. Columbus Brewing Company had high quality food, and you get what you pay for. We found brunch to be a little more expensive than we expected, but we highly recommend you go to the Columbus Brewing Company for brunch. And get the Chicken and Waffles for Pete’s sake.

High marks: Great quality

Low marks: A little pricey

Report Card: Molly Woo’s

th230JTVYJ

Molly Woo's Asian Bistro on Urbanspoon

http://www.mollywoos.com/

 

Overall GrubGrade A-

 

The Breakdown:

 

Atmosphere: Grade A: Molly Woo’s might have received an A+ in this category if it wasn’t located in a mall. On the inside, Molly’s is clean and spacious (despite the mall location) and the décor is suitably Asian. You’d be really hard-pressed to find any Cameron Mitchell restaurant that isn’t clean and really well-maintained. We visited on a Friday at around 5pm, and even though there were plenty of diners, the place was pretty quiet.

High marks: Clean, spacious, appropriate décor

Low marks: Mall location

…………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………

Service: Grade A-: We’re not going to mention our server by name, mainly because we were served by the “bar team.” We usually avoid this scenario if possible because usually the service suffers due to a lack of focus from the bar staff. We were quite pleased, however, by the service we received by the bar staff at Molly Woo’s. We didn’t always have the same server come to wait on us, but the staff must speak to each other, because other than physical appearance you would have thought we had one server since the service was smooth and flowing. Our drinks and food all came out after normal wait times and there were no errors.

High marks: Accurate, friendly, good service

Low marks:   Multiple servers prevented any real engaging

…………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………

Food/Spirits: Grade A-: Katina started with a drink called Godzilla, which she followed with a drink called a Kiwi Cooler. Both drinks had a tropical feel to them – the kind of drinks you’d enjoy at the beach. The Godzilla was not very strong tasting, and it went down faster than a bunch of Tokyo natives fleeing from the monster that shares a name with the drink. The flavors of citrus and midori were easily detectable. The Kiwi Cooler was a bit stronger, but still really good. It had a (and I am quoting Katina here) “yummy strawberry-kiwi taste.” I settled on a couple of Tsingtao’s. I’m not a huge fan of Asian beer, mainly because it all tastes the same. I mean I like those beers…they’re a nice change, but I couldn’t live off of them. We selected the Kung Pao calamari for our appetizer. We’ll be honest, we only selected it because it was on the happy hour special list. At this point in the game, you have to have some pretty special calamari to impress us. We were really interested in the sauces that came with the calamari: a ginger ponzu sauce and sriracha mayonnaise. The calamari was well done and the sauces were nice, but nothing about the dish really stood out. For her entrée, Katina ordered the Honey chicken, and I selected the Garlic chicken. The chicken in the Honey Chicken was crisp, and the sauce was sweet thanks to the honey but it still had a bit of a kick to it. Katina has ordered extra sauce (see previous rant/post about tipping) which she felt made the difference. I found the Garlic chicken to be pretty tasty, but I did not find it spicy like it was advertised to be, not could I detect much garlic flavor in the dish. I could detect a soy sauce type of flavor and the sauce was definitely salty like it was made primarily from soy sauce. The dish did not taste anything like I expected, but it was still really tasty.

High marks: Tasty, tropical cocktails, tasty Honey Chicken           

Low marks: Calamari was good but not great, Garlic chicken did not taste like advertised

…………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………

Value: Grade B+: We spent right about what we expected to at Molly Woo’s. No doubt the fact we got our drinks and appetizer as happy hour specials helped with the price. Portion size was pretty good, and both Katina and I took some food home for the next day (on a side note, the leftovers didn’t seem to take reheating very well). Quality was also really good. Just so you all understand how we approach the value category, a B or B+ means we think the price is right where it should be for quality and portion size, and we usually recommend restaurants that score in this range. To get an A, we have to be surprised by how low the total is on the check. For an A+, we pretty much have to think the server made a mistake and forgot to ring in half of our meal. So, it’s pretty hard to score above a B+ in this category, and as such, we are really comfortable recommending Molly Woo’s.

High marks: Good portion size and good quality

Low marks: Leftovers did not reheat well

Here’s a Tip for Ya

For those of you not aware of this tipping (or should I say, non-tipping) trend, check out the following article:

http://www.marketwatch.com/story/story?guid=5748e94e-06b5-11e3-bc6e-00212876b3fc

 

Now I’m no server activist or anything, but this is the dumbest idea I have ever heard.  Tipping is the way we, as semi-professional diners, communicate our level of satisfaction with the service.  Katina and I have had lots of experiences where we’ve eaten somewhere that had some pretty good food, but we wouldn’t return because of the poor service.  That’s why we consider service as part of our overall grade when we are rating the dining experience.

There is nothing I like better than nailing someone who has provided lousy service with a crappy tip.  Here’s my personal hint for all of you…never leave nothing for a tip.  If you’ve had bad service and your response to that is to skip the tip, your server is probably going to think you either forgot or you belong to one of those weird groups that “doesn’t believe in tipping.”  I don’t believe in income taxes but I still gotta pay ‘em, so if you’re being served at a restaurant, TIP!  If you’ve had a rude server or a totally botched experience because they’ve had a bad day, leave them a tip of $0.01, that way the server knows exactly that you thought the service was severely lacking.  Also, write out the total like you would on a check, so any crooked servers can’t magically make you $0.01 tip into $10.01 once you’ve left the building.

Serving is hard.  Oh, it’s not rocket science, but these poor souls are dealing with all kinds of attitudes, and trust me, nothing has a worse attitude than a hungry person (Katina sometimes scares me when she lets herself get too hungry).  I want to be able to give that server who goes above and beyond expectations to make my experience memorable a nice huge tip, and stiff the crappy servers with a horrific tip.  And, I don’t ask to speak to the manager — that’s what old, cranky chicks do when they’re mad.  Besides, if my server is having a bad day and it shows up in their effort, I don’t want them to get fired.  A horrible tip might just send a much needed message to the server to get it together.

Do I think that servers are getting underpaid with their hourly wages?  Of course they are.  But I like the idea that if I go to a restaurant twice and have two completely different experiences with respect to service, both servers are not going to make the same amount of money from me.  Tipping creates a little competition, which is a good thing.  Think about your job and your peers.  Isn’t it much nicer when the money you make is indicative of your skill at your job.  I work as a pharmacist in a facility that is unionized.  So no matter how much smarter I am or how much harder I work, I will still make the exact same amount as the person who is doing just enough not to get fired.  That’s not the type of person I want handling my food and influencing my dining experience.   I would hate for my anniversary dinner to go off the rails because Vinny the server got dumped by his girlfriend who also keyed his car on the way out.  That guy is going to need some real incentive ($$$) to keep it together.  Plus, if your dining partner is anything like mine, that server is going to have to remember some tweaks to the entrée and they probably going to get sent back to the kitchen for a side of some type of sauce. If that gets accomplished in a timely fashion with a good attitude, then I want to let that server know I appreciate the effort.  I can do that with a tip.  I could also do it with a nice pat on the ass and a “Good job,” but I’d rather not go to jail because of dinner service.

So, if someone asks you if you think tipping should be eliminated, answer honestly.  But, if your answer is “yes” then do the world a favor and never eat anywhere nicer than McDonald’s — ever.  Because not tipping turns that hard-working server into a drive-thru employee.

Report Card: Beef O’Brady’s

Beef O'Bradys. from the inside

Beef O’Bradys. from the inside

Beef O'Brady's on Urbanspoon

http://beefobradys.com

 

Overall GrubGrade B

 

The Breakdown:

 

Atmosphere: Grade B-: Well, we missed the turn for the Beef O’Brady’s parking lot, but that has more to do with my horrible sense of direction and a really damn slow navigation program. Beef’s looks pretty nondescript from the outside, and on the inside Beef O’Brady’s looks like exactly what it is – a sports bar. Lots of big flat screen televisions and OSU memorabilia adorn the walls, but that’s pretty much the case with every sports bar located in and around Columbus. The B- score comes from the high noise level, which normally is to be expected in this type of establishment, but not one that is pretty much empty, like Beef O’Brady’s was during our visit. The tables are spaced nicely, but the seats are fairly uncomfortable. Add to that the fact that there were a plethora of menus on our table, and all of those were really sticky, which makes us wonder a little bit about the hygiene of the place.

High marks: Straightforward décor, good table spacing

Low marks: Nothing really unique, sticky menus, uncomfortable seats

…………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………

Service: Grade B-: We really don’t like being served by committee. A good service to us means the same person takes care of our needs from start to finish. We don’t mind if runners bring the food to us, as long as our server accompanies them. The server’s name on our receipt is Steven, but we were served by no fewer than 3 different servers. All of them did an okay job, although the service wasn’t really engaging. The B- score, however, reflects a mistake (albeit small and quickly corrected) made with Katina’s order. We ordered our food pretty much straight up with very few tweaks (which is rare, especially for Katina), and the joint was far from jumping, so there was really no excuse for any mistakes.

High marks: Okay service

Low marks:   Not engaging, multiple servers, less than perfect accuracy

…………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………

Food/Spirits: Grade B: We started with a Whole Lotta Steak Nachos for our appetizer. While it didn’t seem to have near the amount of steak on as the menu picture suggested it would, it was still delicious. These were probably the most “American” tasting nachos we’ve ever had. The tortilla chips were nice and crispy, the steak was tender, and the use of a little bit of cheese sauce and shredded cheese instead of dousing the whole pile in cheese sauce kept everything nice and crisp. These nachos were better than most nachos we’ve gotten and Mexican restaurants. Katina opted for the Signature Sangria to drink, and I chose a Great Lakes Dortmunder Gold for my drink. The sangria was pretty good (not the best we’ve had) and was very fruity with some blackberry dominance. I’ve reviewed the Dortmunder Gold before, and I still enjoy the thick texture and hint of spiciness. I was just a touch disappointed with the beer selection at Beef O’Brady’s. It seemed a bit anemic, but the beer menu was so confusing that there was a good chance that I just missed half the selections. Katina ordered the Pulled Pork Sandwich with onion rings instead of fries (she got fries delivered to her, hence the aforementioned mistake, but was quickly presented with a plate of onion rings).   The pork was nice and tender and the sandwiched was dressed with Sweet Baby Ray’s barbeque sauce, which is one of Katina’s favorites. We were impressed with high quality, lean pork on the sandwich. I ordered the Prime Rib Sandwich with fries. We’ll start by saying the fries may have been the most perfectly cooked fries we’ve had – they were scrumptious (Katina even ate some of the fries she received in error, which is like buying a dress, wearing it once, then returning it to the store the next day). The Prime Rib sandwich was probably the driest, greasy sandwich I’ve ever eaten. There was supposed to be a creamy horseradish sauce and brie cheese on the sandwich, but I am almost 100% convinced those ingredients were left off. I mean how can you miss the taste of horseradish – it’s a dominating flavor. Thank god for the au jus or the sandwich would have been difficult to choke down. Overall, it was pretty good, but I don’t think it was quite served the way it was supposed to be.

High marks: Great nachos, really good pulled pork, phenomenal fries   

Low marks: Prime Rib sandwich didn’t live up to the hype

…………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………

Value: Grade B: Two or three drinks, and appetizer, and a couple of decent sized sandwiches took us just north of the $50 mark. Not too bad. We left satisfied, but there was definitely not enough left over for doggie bags, so portion size was good but we wouldn’t call it generous. Beef O’Brady’s is definitely a nice place to eat if you looking for some pretty decent bar/pub style food. Make sure you stop by if you can navigate that stupid round-about in Hilliard.

High marks: Decent quality, not too expensive

Low marks: Portion size could be a tad more generous