Monday, September 26, 2011

Are U Hungry

Are U Hungry, or commonly known as Sandwich U, is an institution in Morgantown amongst the college community. Not necessarily because it's outstanding food, but rather because of its vulgarity and ridiculously "fat" sandwiches. Sandwich U even got a shoutout from ABC for a "college best bite."

This restaurant is located in downtown Morgantown on Walnut Street - prime location near the bars and other drinking establishments. Most people will only choose this restaurant after a few beers.

Why? Well, it's probably the most disgusting, delicious sandwich you will ever see. Their "fat" sandwiches are just that. They do have a few breakfast sandwiches and burgers, but their fame comes from their "fat sandwiches." These sandwiches are piled high with some unlikely ingredients. And some have questionable names.

Their biggest selling sandwiches are the "Fat Bitch" and the "Fat Bastard." The Fat Bitch comes with cheesesteak, chicken fingers, two mozzarella sticks, mayo, ketchup and french fries all piled high on an 8" sub roll. The Fat Bastard features gyro meat, chicken fingers, two mozzarella sticks, gyro sauce and french fries on the sub roll.

See, doesn't that sound like the most disgustingly delicious sandwich? Because of the calorie count one can't ignore, Sandwich U is often a favorite after a long night of drinking, and they are open until the wee hours of the morning - typically around 3 a.m. I assume that's when they do most of their business.

My friend who has graduated WVU and missed the tradition of Sandwich U had a craving for a "fat" sandwich. So, we decided to order these calorie-packed delicacies in honor of her visit. I went to DubVMenus and looked through the options. I ultimately decided on the "Fat Phillipino" because it has cheese steak, gyro meat, chicken fingers, two mozzarella sticks, french fries and tzatziki sauce (the gyro sauce). Go big or go home, right? All the sandwiches waver around $8 to $9. You can also get tons of extras - like fried mushrooms or mac'n'cheese bites, but I knew my sandwich would already be more than enough.

Our sandwiches arrived just about a half hour later, and they were steaming. I unwrapped my sandwich to find a sub roll stuffed with goodness. The top is piled with french fries, so when you take a bite, it's kind of a surprise. I know a lot of people don't like "mixing" their foods, so this may not be for them. But if you love each of those foods individually, they really do all taste great on a sub with some sauce on it. I can't go on about the grandness that is this sandwich, because basically, it's a bunch of fried foods or meat wrapped into one. But it's definitely oh so good. There's a good dash of cheesiness, along with some french fries and meat. The cheese steak adds that little surprise, and it's all topped with a smooth, slightly tangy cucumber dressing.

It's a rare indulgence, but it's a place to try. If nothing else, but for the novelty.

Grade: B
Are U Hungry Grill & Wings on Urbanspoon

Monday, September 19, 2011

Mario's Fishbowl

Mario's Fishbowl is a legend in Morgantown. Sometimes I say a place is a favorite among the locals, well, Mario's Fishbowl is THE favorite among the locals. This bar and grill is packed, literally, with memories and stories. They're written all over the walls, in fact. It's difficult to do this place justice, but I'm definitely going to try.

Mario's Fishbo- wl is synon- ymous with Morgantown, the city. Not the college town - as this place isn't filled with college students. Instead, it's filled with Morgantown natives and those who truly enjoy a good beer and some awesome people. It's a tiny place along Richwood Avenue - so it's not along the main drag, which weeds out the casual college kid, but invites the common frequenter. Parking is spotty, at best, but patrons will parking miles down the street to get a seat inside.

When you walk into Mario's, it's a free for all. If the crowd is feeling up to it, they'll cheer as you walk in. If you're lucky, you might snag one of the 10 booths or tables. But there's a good chance that the bar or long bench area might be your only option. The tables and booths are squeezed in, and it's not infrequent to be as close to a stranger as you are to the people you are dining with.

On this particular day, me and my friend chose the bar stool area. Soon after, a waitress came over with menus and took our drink orders. Now this is where Mario's "Fishbowl" comes into play - the beers they serve are in large, fishbowl-like glasses. They actually come in two sizes, but for most people, the regular they serve is enough. The other size is larger, but I won't even attempt that one. For a little over $3, this fishbowl filled with Bud Light (and ice cold, at that) cannot be beat. As we looked over our menus, we noticed a smaller table had opened up. I placed my order for a philly cheesesteak, while my friend ordered the special of the day - a bbq pork wrap. We then snagged the table, sipped our beers and took a look around.

I've been to Mario's a few times, but it'll never be enough to see everything there is to see. The walls are lined with notes and posters and pictures of patrons and "records" they've set and special memories. It's really the laidback and comforting atmosphere that makes Mario's feel like home. It's not skimpy-clothed girls or loud obnoxious guys, it's a really chill environment, and it's relaxing. The yellowed papers on the walls could take days to read, and this place means so much to so many people.

My philly cheesesteak came out, paired with some ruffles chips, piping hot. Tender sliced steak and white cheddar cheese, sprinkled with some green peppers made for a delicious sandwich. Each bite had a combo of the cheese, meat and peppers to make for a satisfying sandwich. The menu does feature typical bar fare, but it's not cheap ingredients deep-fried. Every piece of steak I bit into was tender and juicy. This wasn't the cheap, processed kind that one would typically expect from a bar. The cheese was melty and covered the entire sandwich. It was just fantastic. The salty chips complemented the sandwich, and it was all washed down with a cold beer. It doesn't get much better than that.

The waitresses were more than helpful to refill our fishbowls if we wanted. All the while, a small jukebox is on the wall playing whatever music the patrons want. While we were there, we heard quite a few Britney Spears songs. Our bill came to around $20 for the food, good service and fantastic atmosphere. You can even buy a fishbowl glass to take with you. I already own one, of course.

This is one of those places you must experience before leaving Morgantown. In fact, it's probably at the top of the list. I haven't met someone who doesn't like this place. Or maybe I'm just not friends with those types of people.

Grade: A
Mario's Fishbowl on Urbanspoon

Monday, September 12, 2011

Oliverio's Marketplace

Oliverio's Ristorante is a fine Italian dining restaurant based in Bridgeport. They also have a location in Morgantown, as well as a bistro in Morgantown - Oliverio's Marketplace. Oliverio's Marketplace takes the delicious, homemade dishes, puts them at a lower price and makes the dishes suitable for lunch. This great bistro takes the same great ingredients and puts them in a lunch setting.

For my last full day at work, my two co-workers and I drove over to Oliverio's Marketplace for lunch. Located on Van Voorhis Road, in between Starbucks and the Peking House, this green awning doting restaurant could be easily missed. But even judging by the elegant white writing on the black sign, it looks inviting. The parking lot is huge, so it was easy for us to get there, despite some traffic. Outside of the restaurant are a couple small round tables with chairs for those who enjoy dining outdoors.

We walked down a few stairs, as the restaurant is seated slightly below ground level, to see a medium-sized dining area, as well as a smaller dining small in the back. There are dozens of small black tables with small black chairs - very bistro-like. There is also a bar area where many people were gathered for take-out. The place was packed for lunch, which is a good sign. I only saw two tables free, so I staked claim to one as I browsed the menu from my seat. The menu is large and situated behind the counter. They have Italian favorites - your choice pasta/sauce combos, pizza, salads, sandwiches and wings.

My co-workers and I walked up to the counter to order. The woman behind the counter asked if we had been there before, when one of us said no, she politely said she'd be happy to answer any questions. I asked her what she thought of the pink sauce. She responded that it was her favorite. I ordered a penne pasta with pink sauce ($6), as well as a meatball ($1) and a drink. The silverware is wrapped in a basket at the register and you grab it before heading over to grab your fountain drink. The cups were already over there, which seems odd, but I grabbed a cup, filled it up and headed back over to our table. The last person of our group to order was handed a number to put on our table so they know where to bring the food to. We weren't sitting long before a polite young man brought us a basket of breadsticks. But these weren't your average breadsticks.

These are like tiny loaves of fresh-baked bread. They aren't doused in butter or garlic or salt, but the simple fresh, light, bread had a slight hint of sweetness to it and really brought back memories of my grandmother making bread and letting it rise. I've never had breadsticks quite like this - Olive Garden has nothing on them - because they're not that fake, frozen kind.

Not much longer after I basked in the glory of the fresh bread, our dishes came out. My penne pasta was served heaping on a plate, smothered with pink sauce. A single meatball with marinara sauce sat in the middle of the noodle heaven. I'm not sure how to describe the meat sauce, but take a delicious tomato sauce, add some delicious creaminess to it, and you have the "pink" sauce. Which is really kind of orange-ish. It is very good. It's creamy, not acidic, but still encompasses that robust flavor. Lots of herbs and spices and tiny chunks of pepper make this dish divine. The meatball was also a nice touch, a little less dazzling, but a good meatball by any standards.

The service here is really outstanding. Despite how busy they were and the fact that you aren't really assigned a waiter, two separate young men both asked how we were doing and asked if there was anything they could get for us. And it wasn't that insincere kind of questions, these people really genuinely cared if the customers had a good experience. And you really can't beat that.

For around $10 and a full tummy (with leftovers!), this is probably the best lunch place in town. On this side of town, at least, hands down. If you haven't tried it, check it out. I don't think you'll be disappointed.

(PS one of my co-workers ordered a caprese salad with salmon - it look picturesque. That's next on my to-order list from here!)

Check out my blog on DubVMenus here.

Grade: A
Oliverio's Marketplace on Urbanspoon

Monday, September 5, 2011

Wings Ole (Evansdale)

Wings Ole operates three restaurants: two in Morgantown and one in Fairmont. I visited the Suncrest location recently for the first time to see what the hype was about. Wings Ole isn't necessarily a common name you hear amongst West Virginia University students, but it is well-known amongst the locals. Many have gone to Wings Ole for a number of years and continue to do so.

The good thing about the Suncrest location is that it shares its parking lot with a plaza full of other stores and restaurants, so there is adequate parking. It also looks as though they have a drive-thru, but we opted to go inside. My uncle and I arrived at about lunchtime, and it was obvious from the line of people, at least 10 deep, at the counter. The large menu rests on the wall behind the counter, and the food is typical Tex-Mex fare. They feature wings (of course), tacos, burritos, salads, enchiladas, and sandwiches.

We ordered up at the counter. I chose a chicken burrito (with mild sauce) and a side of fries and bleu. My uncle ordered mild wings. We then took our ticket, walked to the pop machine to fill up our drinks then scoured the dining area for a free seat. We finally found an empty one near a large plant (hanging overhead and dangerously close to my hair). We waited for a few minutes before the server called out our number and brought our food to us.

She plopped down my wrapped burrito, a small container of fries and a Styrofoam box of wings. The presentation is lacking, but I didn't expect a five-star restaurant. The fries were quite small; especially for almost $3, I expected a bigger portion. That's okay, though, they handed me two containers of bleu cheese. I started with the fries - they were thick-cut and slightly soggy. They're not the crispy kind doused with salt. Lots of potato filling inside, but a good dipping fry. The bleu cheese was average - most likely store-bought. I don't recall any chunks of bleu cheese in it (which I was hoping for) - I could have mistaken it for ranch dressing. But it's no better than I could make myself, so I'm okay with it.

I unwrapped my burrito to find a decent portion. Inside was stuffed with iceberg lettuce, some tomatoes, shredded chicken and the mild sauce. Not bad. Is it bursting with flavor? No. Is it something I'd buy again? Maybe. All in all, this burrito is average, and that's just what I was expecting. The chicken has a decent flavor, nothing prominent, but not bad. The lettuce isn't super fresh and crunchy, but it's not bad. The sauce has some spices in it, but nothing overwhelming. I also got mild, so if I chose another, it might have more kick. This is your average, run-of-the-mill burrito. I can't complain about anything, but nothing stood out. It wouldn't be my first choice, but I wouldn't detest going there. The price is a little on the higher side of the quality of food - $4.59 for an average burrito?

It's worth a try, but you might discover the Taco Bell down the road has the same quality for a much cheaper price.

Check out my post here on DubVMenus.

Grade: C
Wings Ole' on Urbanspoon