Marie Callender’s

Date Thu, November 12 2009

mariecallendersI bugged Ryan for over a year, literally, to eat at Marie Callender’s and it never happened because it’s just a little further away than he usually likes to drive. Finally, he conceded while we were waiting for a later showing of a movie (although, we never wound up going). Of course, the name is quite big and the brand well known so I had high expectations; that’s why I wanted to go in the first place!

The building itself is old fashioned, decorated like a cot. We entered by the bakery which is more impressive than most restaurant bakeries I have seen down here. I made me nostalgic for Perkins. The inside was laid out confusingly and the decor was reminiscent of the 1970s. I found it amusing, maybe annoying but it infuriated Ryan for some reason. He kept saying how he was in some old lady’s house and I could see it.

The service was okay but we were seated at a table with only one set of silverware, which they failed to notice. We were served with complimentary corn bread, a touch you don’t find at many restaurants. It seems only restaurants which serve “foreign” cuisine tend to give you bread. I like corn bread well enough; although, I haven’t had a lot of it. It was different and kudos for that.

That’s really where my good thoughts end. The menu was ridiculous. I expected it to focus on American food, with a southern touch but that section of the menu was the smallest and included a lot of things erroneously. There were strange foreign dishes, burgers and fish – all things which I would never expect to order at a restaurant like that. There was a soup and salad bar and ribs which aren’t my thing but definitely are a decent option. We both settled on the pot roast but we usually try to get something else. We both really couldn’t find anything else on the menu that looked awesome.

I’m a big fan of pot roast, too. It’s kind of my default order and definitely represents American food to me. I was floored by the tiny portions and the overall, disgusting presentation of the meal. I couldn’t tell if there were potatoes or anything the way the pot roast was just slopped over it. And the roast itself? Quite strange. You know how there’s that sort of really good pot roast taste that all post roasts should have? Well, Marie Callender’s never got the memo. This tasted nothing like any pot roast I’d ever had. It was spicy, almost burned tasting. Ryan didn’t finish his, if I recall correctly.

We hoped that dessert would be good. I was hoping we could still stop by the bakery for treats, if not visit the restaurant. By this time, Ryan had made it clear he didn’t want to return, ever, and how horrible an idea this was on my part. We ordered a piece of cheesecake to share. It was good but very sweet. That is actually my fault for the flavour I picked but you win some, you lose some.

I was still interested in picking up a pie on the way out but that thought quickly fled when we saw the bill. For two meals, drinks and a shared dessert, it was over $40. That is utterly ridiculous for a restaurant which can’t even do pot roast right. I would expect that at Carino’s, maybe. We’d still be able to have an appetizer, though. I never expect Marie Callender’s to be so damned expensive and it wasn’t worth it at all.

Let me repeat: not worth it at all.

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