Wednesday, July 25, 2018

The Old Spaghetti Factory

The Old Spaghetti Factory Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato It's been a long time since I've been to The Old Spaghetti Factory -- long enough that I really didn't remember anything about that. Wouldn't have gone except there was a group meet there, so keep in mind this review is based on large-party auto-gratuity service.

Their mains come "It's All Included", meaning theoretically you get:
  • Italian Sourdough Bread with Whipped Garlic and Plain Butter. This is not garlic bread. This is bread you cut yourself, and soft butter supposedly with garlic mixed in.
    • We were in a group so they brought a few plates of this and sprinkled it about the long table. I specifically asked for it later in the evening when the bread had run out and never saw it. Maybe it was brought to the table elsewhere but it's a long table and as I specifically asked for it, I really did expect that it would land closer to me if not brought right to me.
  • Soup OR salad
    • Small bowl of Minestrone Soup, or upgrade to Clam Chowder or French Onion Soup for $2.50. Quantity is maybe a cup and a half at best.
    • Crisp Green Salad, or upgrade to Small Caesar or Spinach Salad for $2.00
  • Spumoni Ice Cream
    • Choices were vanilla or "spumoni".
    • "Spumoni" was an ice cream mix. On the night I was there, it was pistachio and chocolate. If you wiki'ed it -- no there's no candied anything. Quantity is just around 1 scoop.
  • Hot Tea or Coffee
    • Nope. I didn't get that nor was I offered it.
Clam Chowder soup upgrade (+$2.50 with order of main)
  • Hard to find any clams amid the carrots and potatoes. When I did find something chewy I actually wasn't sure if it weren't bacon.
  • Soup had good bacon flavour though and thankfully wasn't thin.
2018-Jul-24 The Old Spaghetti Factory - +$2.50 clam chowder soup upgrade

Spaghetti with Browned Butter and Mizithra Cheese ($13.95)
  • One of my pet peeves is when a restaurant writes up something as being way more special and interesting than it really is. Here, it's "signature Mizithra" that is "deliciously salty".
  • Nothing special here. You could do better with plain ricotta cheese over lightly buttered spaghetti.
  • Absolutely do not order this.
  • Gets cold fast, probably because there's no sauce to help keep it hot.
  • You could try to rescue it with the garlic butter from your bread -- if you got any.
2018-Jul-24 The Old Spaghetti Factory - Spaghetti with Browned Butter and Mizithra Cheese

2018-Jul-24 The Old Spaghetti Factory - Spaghetti with Browned Butter and Mizithra Cheese

"Spumoni" ice cream from "It's All Included"

2018-Jul-24 The Old Spaghetti Factory - ice cream

Service was bizarre. They didn't try to take everyone's order, which was okay because people dropped in to the table during the first half hour of the reservation time. However, people who came later to the group table were asked about drinks and main first.
When I asked for my bill the auto-gratuity was mentioned and I was asked if it were okay. Huh? Do I get a chance to refuse it and add my own gratuity amount?
I don't really mind auto-gratuity -- as long as everyone at the table actually got reasonably personalized service since the auto-gratuity amount is on par with personal table service gratuity. But when you get less than what you paid for and less service -- it feels like a restaurant scam.

Sunday, July 22, 2018

Red Robin Birthday Burger

Red Robin Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato
For being a part of the Red Robin Royalty program, every year Red Robin gives me a free birthday burger! I usually go with a friend who likes Red Robin burgers, and this year she ate my burger while I got a non-burger menu item from Red Robin. Last year my friend got a veggie fajita at the Red Robin downtown location and was quite pleased with it, so I gave it a go.

Veggie Fajitas ($14.99) Seasoned vegetables, black beans, mushrooms, cabbage and carrots. Served with Cheddar, salsa, sour cream and warm flour tortillas.
  • Tortilla filling come literally steaming hot to your table in a hot dish to help keep it hot. You assemble your own tortillas and when you run out you can ask for more. The kitchen does them in batches so you can't really ask for, say, exactly two more tortillas.
  • Did they forget the seasoning? Tasted horrible and with a bitter aftertaste, probably from the bell peppers.
  • Fortunately made palatable by the salsa, sour cream, cabbage, and cheddar cheese. Shredded cabbage is hiding under the sour cream.
  • Just the flavour is enough to not recommend it. The one redeeming quality however is that this is quite a lot of food and you probably don't need to steal any of your friend's bottomless fries.
2018-Jul-22 Red Robin - veggie fajita

2018-Jul-22 Red Robin - veggie fajita

2018-Jul-22 Red Robin - veggie fajita

2018-Jul-22 Red Robin - veggie fajita

Hop-Salt Fries ($6, bottomless) Steak fries hand-salted and seasoned with Tettnang and Hallertau hops, inspired by Samuel Adams Boston Lager
  • DISCLAIMER: I don't drink beer! I ordered these for, you know, science. And for everyone else who doesn't drink beer and is curious but doesn't want to be down $6 yet no wiser. I knew going in it was probably going to be bitter -- I was just hoping for "interesting" too.
  • Strongly bitter aftertaste from the seasoning, enough to make you forget any saltiness that might be on it. You are probably supposed to also eat them with the "Signature Beer Flight" ($4.50) seasonal special currently available. You will already have had a mouthful of bitter stuff and these bitter fries won't faze you at all.
  • If you don't drink beer, chances are you will think "what the hell"? At that point you can either give your order away to a beer-drinking buddy who might possibly appreciate whatever subtle hops flavours are here... or just slather it with the condiments at the table. Heinz ketchup does a fine job of rescuing these fries, and you don't even need that much.
2018-Jul-22 Red Robin - Hop-Salt Fries and fajitas for veggie fajita order

Friendly smiling service on a very hot Sunday afternoon. Not pushy at all about drinks, which I really like, especially when some days you just can't lunch considerable portions and might not even be able to finish one of Red Robin's considerable-portion drinks.

Thursday, July 12, 2018

Bistro Wagon Rouge

Bistro Wagon Rouge Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato A good friend of mine treated me to Bistro Wagon Rouge for my birthday this week. Lucky lucky! Lots of interesting neighbours nearby including The Pie Shoppe.

Our waiter was really good at describing/selling the menu items, so you'll want to be careful actually not to get too carried away by ad copy.

Complimentary Bread
  • A nice retro touch you don't see much anymore. Warm, and butter softened for convenience.
  • Really handy if you order moules frites (mussels and fries) to get at the tasty soup.
2018-Jul-11 Bistro Wagon Rouge - complimentary bread

House Burger ($18)
  • Touted as the best in Vancouver so obviously I had to try it.
  • Composition is nothing too adventurous. Sweet caramelized onions were a nice touch.
  • Fries were great - hot and and fresh, very crispy on the outside. Could have used something more sour as a dip to balance the heaviness of the meal though.
  • When they asked how I wanted my burger I went with medium rare and you can see from the pictures it did come out basically so though the center looks quite rare.
  • Very tender and juicy burger. And not being a big meat or burger connoisseur I'd have to guess that by "best burger" it's not in the interesting-ness of the burger but rather the really good patty inside.
  • At $18 it's pretty steep but it's a thick patty and a filling meal overall.
2018-Jul-11 Bistro Wagon Rouge - house burger

2018-Jul-11 Bistro Wagon Rouge - house burger medium rare

2018-Jul-11 Bistro Wagon Rouge - house burger

Asparagus ($12)
  • Always curious about ways to make asparagus tasty so I was sold on it by the description of the compound butter.
  • Turns out... this tastes like asparagus with just some butter on it. Whatever subtleties in the special didn't really come through for me.
  • And at $12... pass.
2018-Jul-11 Bistro Wagon Rouge - asparagus

Moules Frites
  • My friend's order. I got to try some of the thai curry (one of the options) and it was good.
2018-Jul-11 Bistro Wagon Rouge - moules frites

2018-Jul-11 Bistro Wagon Rouge - moules frites

House Made Lavender Lemonade ($4)
  • Lavender flavour in a not-too-sharp and not-too-sweet lemonade. Pretty decent.
  • The slice of lemon might fall sideways and block the flow of the drink so you might want to pull that out.
2018-Jul-11 Bistro Wagon Rouge - Housemade Lavender Lemonade

Pretty busy shortly after 6pm. Not many tables in the small place but bar seating is possible for dinner. Confident, pleasant, and not-pushy waitstaff.