Friday, January 28, 2011

Morgantown restaurant bucket list

 Al’s Pizza
 Ali Baba Restaurant
 Archie’s Restaurant & Pub
 Asian Garden Restaurant
 Black Bear Burritos
 Blue Moose Cafe
 Bob Evans
 Boston Beanery
 Brew Pub
 Brick Yard Pub
 Buck’s Corner Pub
 Buffalo Wild Wings
 CafĂ© Bacchus
 Cafe of India

Tuesday, January 25, 2011

Tudor's Biscuit World

Tudor's just opened in Morgantown today, and all of Morgantown is a-frenzy. People from southern West Virginia go crazy about its biscuits like they're addictive. It's native to West Virginia, and has only really been expanded in the southern counties. I've had it once before, a quick trip through the Weirton's Tudor's when it first opened, but I was unimpressed. I thought I'd let Morgantown's Tudor's redeem itself - especially since the Morgantown location has its own Twitter account.

I had a break in classes today, so I took at trip through the drive-thru (maybe my first mistake). I knew of the general area that Tudor's was in, and I actually happened upon the building by chance. There is a sign outside, but the building is very plain looking, with no signs on the actual building. Luckily, where I decided to turn was correct, and as I was driving, I realized I was in the Tudor's parking lot, and I had in fact driven around to the drive-thru, though there were no signs directing me, and I was driving blindly. It's a miracle I stumbled upon this, honestly.

Boy, was this an experience. I ordered a biscuit and a platter to try a little of each. I had to repeat my order six times for them to understand. Six. At one point, the girl said, "So, you want that chicken thing, right?" And I said, "No, I want the 'chicken tenderloin platter lunch special.'" This was quite rude and almost embarrassing. I pulled around to the window and I waited at the window for a good five minutes before anyone even took my credit card to charge me. After handing it back, I waited another 8 minutes or so before receiving my meal, with no "thank you" or "sorry for your wait" or anything. The customer service, at least the drive-thru, receives an F.

When I got home, I was only hoping the meal would be better. As it so happens, the chicken platter was tasty. I got mashed potatoes and cole slaw as my sides. The potatoes were creamy and buttery with country gravy on top. They tasted homemade, and the cole slaw was average - on the warm side which is never appetizing for a dish supposed to be cold. The chicken tenderloins were a bit dry and salty, but for a fast-food restaurant, they were pretty good. I wished I had more gravy to add a more hearty flavor to the tenderloins. As far as fast-food goes, this is what I expected.

I also got the "Thundering Herd" biscuit simply because it sounded the best: sausage, egg, cheese, potato on a biscuit. I was excited about the addition of the "potato" - essentially a hashbrown - because it's different from McDonalds. But honestly... they both tasted the same. I wouldn't be able to tell the difference, except Tudor's sausage seem to be of an even lower quality, as there were hard bits and pieces I spit out.

I've said a lot, even if there isn't much to say. This is an average fast-food chain, even though native to West Virginia, it can't make up for the mediocre food.

Grade: C
Tudor's Biscuit World on Urbanspoon

Sunday, January 16, 2011

Cafe Bacchus

Cafe Bacchus is at the end of High Street, and it's one of the only "high-end" restaurants in downtown Morgantown. Because of its price tag, I hadn't tried the restaurant before as a casual dinner. As Brittany and I take on all (never tried before) restaurants in Morgantown, this was next on my checklist. One, because it is so close and two, because I've heard good things.

I wanted to like this restaurant; I really did. From the outside, the restaurant looks like a house, and when you first open the door, you basically walk through a curtain. While this probably is supposed to add to the atmosphere, I felt as if it was tacky. We walked a little further, and there was a chalkboard that listed special events coming up (they had one for Martin Luther King, Jr. day), and they took our coats to hang up. Then, we were seated in one dining area. Since it was basically a house, there were various rooms; I counted about four. Each had a different wallpaper/color, but all had white-tableclothed tables, complete with lit candles and black cloth napkins. Our room also happened to have a bar, which looked very nice lit up and stocked to the max.

The decor had a very warm, expensive feel. The fireplace next to us was luxurious, and the menu, which I soon found it, had a very expensive feel, as well. Most entrees were at least $25, which I'm okay with. I'm perfectly okay to pay a higher price for a very good meal. Unfortunately, my meal wasn't quite worth the price tag. None of the items seemed like something I would really like, as many had one or two ingredients that I knew I didn't like. However, there was a "striped ravioli stuffed with ricotta, spinach, and sundried-tomato in a pesto sauce" that caught my eye. It was $20. Perfect, I thought.

I ordered that, and while we waited, we were served bread (which we ended up having about two or three bowls of), along with minced olive and butter. Brittany decided on a salad and "Vietnamese rice paper rolls filled with jump shrimp, cucumber sambal and mint serviced with spicy ginger lime dipping sauce." When my dish came out, I was disappointed in the total of nine raviolis. While they were tasty, with typical ricotta and spinach stuffing, I was still hungry after my dish. That is not my idea of a $20 meal. The seasoning was on par, salty spinach and smooth, creamy mozzarella and ricotta cheese. The mixture complemented the different seasonings, and the pesto sauce was very creamy and added a hint of sweetness to the dish.

In fact, I was still so hungry after the meal, I used some of the bread slices to dip in the leftover pesto sauce, which is where the extra baskets of bread came into play. Brittany wasn't too pleased with her dinner, though her salad was tasty, she couldn't really get over the texture of the rice paper rolls.

Honestly, it's nothing that I couldn't have got at a typical Italian restaurant (a la Olive Garden) for at least $10 less. I won't deny the food was tasty, but it wasn't $20 tasty, and I feel I could even make it. The menu seemed as though the chef was trying too hard to be different. He had eclectic sense of flavors, but instead of finding out how they all taste together, they are just fused together, so it sounds like they should be good. But as far as the actual taste goes (as in Brittany's meal), they just didn't mesh. Sure, they sound good, but tasting good is very important. Well, at least to normal patrons, and not the usual Cafe Bacchus goers who probably like the "status" of the restaurant.

The only redeeming factor of the meal was dessert: vanilla bean cheesecake with a walnut crust. Otherwise, this dinner would have probably been a "D." The cheesecake was silky smooth and had a very New York-style, with a prominent cream cheese flavor. The walnut crust had actual crushed walnuts that just crumbled as soon as my fork hit it. It was definitely homemade, and a decent-sized portion. For only $7, I should've made my "dinner" of just cheesecake and had a more pleasant meal.

Luckily, my company was top-notch, as always, so I still had a splendid time. Had it been with someone else, this restaurant might not have been so lucky.

Grade: C
Cafe Bacchus on Urbanspoon

Saturday, January 8, 2011


Kegler's is a very well-known bar/restaurant in Morgantown, and their wings are supposed to be to die for. Kristen and I were in a "beer and wings" mood the day after my birthday, so we decided to check it out. She had been there many times before, but I had only seen it in passing. Once my friend Shane and I attempted to have a beer there, but the place was so crowded, we literally couldn't find a table.

This time was a bit different with students out of town. It's over on the Evansdale Campus, near Hardees and Sheetz. There are two levels, and we went to the upper level because that's where they serve food. The top area actually has an area that overlooks the local bowling alley, Suburban Lanes. That was pretty neat, but we opted for an empty table to ourselves. Unfortunately, a loud party of about 15 was sitting next to us, taking up most of the tables. The atmosphere could have been nicer, between their obnoxious laughs and a smoke-filled dining area.

I ordered boneless honey bbq wings, and Kristen got a club sandwich. We both ordered Bud Lights - a perfect combo. The honey bbq sauce was very tasty. It was a good blend of tangy and sweet. The outside texture was seared to a nearly a crisp texture: delicious. The meat could have been cooked a little longer. I would have liked it to be a tighter consistency, instead … it reminded me of a mushier texture. I think the wings could have simply been cooked  a little longer. If this is their speciality, I'd hope they'd have it down to perfection. I've heard the regular wings are a bit better, so looks like I'll try those next time. Out of the eight wings, I had about five.

Grade: B
Kegler's Sports Bar and Lounge on Urbanspoon

Friday, January 7, 2011

The Wharf

After a tumultuous birthday, my good friend Brittany Erskine demanded we have lunch today. I was happy when we decided on The Wharf restaurant, one I haven't been to. The restaurant is fairly new - it used to be the Boathouse Bistro (but I never got the chance to go there). It's situated in the Wharf District of Morgantown, near the river. As excited as I was to try the food, I was a little hesitant because I actually tried to write a story for The Daily Athenaeum about their opening (July, I believe), but the management was not to receptive of the idea. That turned me off, but I went in with an open mind. 

We went for lunch, so the place was fairly empty. There was one business-looking man having a drink, but other than that, just us. So, we were able to seat ourselves, and we decided on a window seat overlooking the river. Not only does this allow me to snoop, but the table itself was made of these fantastic stones to the right. They were filled with reds, greens, blues, yellows and whites - they were all absolutely beautiful and looked expensive.

The waiter was a very personable and friendly guy who chatted us a good bit, but not too much like many. I hate that. Anyway, as soon as we received our drinks, he brought out two complimentary ribs. He said they are simply taste-testing for a competition they enter for ribs. I typically don't eat ribs because I don't like them, but, of course, I tried one. It was so tender that it fell off the bone - this, I am good with. The sauce wasn't my favorite. It had a sweeter taste instead of tangy, but it was cooked to perfection, and the texture was flawless. We then filled out comment cards to help them out.

I ordered the Wharf original sandwich, which was basically a huge fish sandwich. It came with two sides. I got the hush puppies and a red potato salad. The sandwich was a little too large; it contained two fillets that were falling apart when I tried to pick it up. I opted to make it into a fork-and-knife sandwich. It had tomato, lettuce and apparently tartar sauce, but I didn't find it. The fish was amazing tasting - very fresh and flaky. However, it's fish, and it needs some sort of sauce to accompany it. I wish it had a healthier (or any at all) helping of tartar on the sandwich because between two large buns, the dish was dry. I also prefer my fish sandwiches on long hoagie buns and not a tall typical sandwich. The hush puppies had very savory seasonings, and reminded me of cornbread. The potato salad was also on par, with a mustard-based sauce that hit all the right notes. 

Finally, we shared a peanut butter ice cream /brownie dish. The ice cream tasted very buttery, and the brownie was kind of hidden. I like my ice cream-brownie ratio to be a bit more equal, but it was tasty nonetheless. I was very full by this point, so I surrendered my spoon to let Brittany finish it off. Had I been less full, it probably would have been much more satisfying. The waiter really made the experience great - he wished me happy birthday (and wrote it on my check), and kept us entertained the whole time. He is a native of Morgantown and WVU grad.

Grade: B
The Wharf on Urbanspoon

Tuesday, January 4, 2011

Sam & Betty's

I went to Sam & Betty's on the Mileground today with Kristen. I've had my eye on this restaurant for awhile, ever since my other friend, Kayla, mentioned going. She really enjoyed its small-town country feel, and it's close. I expected some homestyle cooking judging from the sign on the outside.

It's near the Morgantown airport, near the Indian restaurant "Saffron." I didn't have much trouble finding it, and luckily it wasn't too busy because there wasn't a ton of parking. When we walked in, the decor was more elegant than I imagined. The middle picture shows one dining area, the first you see when you walk in. There are another two dining areas, and we were seated in one that had a lattice area with vines and grapes on the ceiling.

Surprisingly, we saw Kayla (the one who mentioned the restaurant in the first place) and her boyfriend, Michael. In fact, we were seated right next to them. I took this photo from my seat, so it was basically like we were eating together. Kayla looked like she had a fried fish meal, and Michael had a hamburger. Then, we browsed our menu.
As soon as we ordered our drinks, they brought out warm complementary appetizers. The first (which isn't pictured because we gobbled them up) was a warm, homestyle version of a pepperoni and cheese roll. The pepperoni, cheese and dough were quality products, with cheese oozing out of the dough. Fantastic. What is pictured is the cornbread. This was very moist, and tasted excellent. However, when Kristen broke hers apart, there was a hair. That was a deal-breaker. My appetite was lost. Hence, I was able to snap a picture of what remained because we couldn't finish.

I ordered a fish sandwich with lettuce and mayo. I ordered a half and got waffle fries instead of the whole sandwich. As you can see, it was more than enough. In fact, I couldn't even finish my waffle fries. I ended up giving them to Kristen. The fish was tasty, but the filet was definitely thin. The bread was somewhat overpowering, and I would've liked the fish/bread ratio to be more balanced. The fries were ... well ... fries. I'm not a big fan of fries, but they were complementary to the sandwich.

Unfortunately, my dish came out before Kristen's. The waitress said hers would take longer, and that's fine, but I don't want my dish while she's waiting for hers. I picked at my fries (the waitress brought out her fries, but not her burger) until her large hamburger finally arrived. It was huge and slathered with BBQ sauce. I commented that it looked doused in BBQ sauce, but she enjoyed it. She ate about half of it and took the rest in a doggie bag.

Because I knew I wanted to write about this, I ordered dessert, as well. I was pretty full, so I didn't even finish the dessert, but I opted for a 9-piece miniature cheese cake dish. Three squares were regular, three were turtle cheesecake and three were raspberry cheesecake. Kristen liked the regular the best, but I, of course, liked the turtle. I'm a sucker for anything chocolate and caramel. The raspberry tasted similar to a cough syrup, so we only had one of those squares.

All in all, I'd rate the food average, the service was great, and the price wasn't bad. I paid $20 for a coke, a sandwich and fries, dessert and tip. The one major downfall was the hair, but that happens sometimes. Our waitress was very attentive, so that's a plus. I drink a lot with my meal, and my glass was never empty. Constant refills mean a bigger tip. 

Grade: C
Sam & Betty's on Urbanspoon