Saturday, November 17, 2012

St. Hubert: Nothing to Cluck About

Tonight for dinner we thought we would try an old Quebec favourite dining establishment, St. Hubert (1754 St. Laurent Boulevard, Ottawa).  

We arrived at 4:00 P.M. to a building exterior that looked like it had seen better days.  There was a billboard out front on the traffic island advertising new condominiums.  Thus we originally thought the St. Hubert had closed up and was now being converted to a condominium sales centre. The paint was peeling from the roof wooden roof shingles and the exterior looking and it looked like an old fast food burger joint with a mexican hat added.  

We got closer to find people inside eating, so we attempted the first door we found, facing St. Laurent Blvd, wrong it was the takeout.  We wandered around to the back and went inside to find a confortable tastfully decorated dining room similar to a newly updated Swiss Chalet restaurant. Talk about a mismatched exterior and interior! 

We were warmly welcomed by a hostess who quickly seated  the us a nearby "U" shaped table that could easily have seated eight people.  We perused the menues to see what St. Hubert had to offer but wanted to check out their chicken dishes that St. Hubert is renowned for.

Our waitress came over and greated us in English and French.  We ordered our drinks and she dissappeared and came back quickly.  She dropped off our drinks and inquired if we were ready to order. 

The Order:  1 Quarter Chicken Leg Dinner with Rice Pilaf and Water. 1 Quarter Chicken Breast Dinner with Fries and a Coke.  Both dinners accompanied by Creamy Coleslaw.

Our waitress dissappeared and returned again with two bowles of creamy Coleslaw.  The Coleslaw itself was pretty average at best with nothing special.  The menu though promised something special with the Coleslaw, unlimited Coleslaw with almost every entree serving.   Never was offered more Coleslaw the entire meal even though the empty bowl sat there. The Coke and water though were refilled numerous times by our attentive waitress. 

The Quarter Chicken Breast was decently cooked but nothing special. It was mediocre at best and tasted similar to what you would find at Swiss Chalet or Scores. Juicy chicken rotisseried and placed on a plate to arrive at the table in medium temperature.  This may now be mediocre considering there seems to be a lot of competition in the chicken restaurant industry in the Ottawa area with Swiss Chalet, Scores, KFC, St. Hubert and possibly others clucking for your restuarant dining money. 

The Quarter Chicken Leg however was dissapointing.  It was dry and getting to the point of crispyness.  Not sure how this happened or who let it out of the kitchen.  Heck, the chicken may have been dehydrated before it even arrived from the farm. 

The fries were mediocre at best and could easily have been found at a high school cafeteria or worse, from the frozen food section at a supermarket deep fried.  No effort  was made to try to set the fries apart from the competition at all. 

The bun was also dissapointing, a bottom half of a hamburger bun tossed on the plate because the competition was providing a breaded product to go with the sauce. 

The dipping sauce proved interesting though.  My wife and I debated for a while who had the better sauce, St. Hubert or Swiss Chalet.  We both agreed Scores' sauce was no competition as it was watery at times and lacked taste.  St. Hubert though had a decent tasting sauce that my wife preferred while I preferred the tangier Swiss Chalet sauce.  Although, I did enjoy the St. Hubert Sauce. 

Pricing of the meal was also an issue.  The Quarter Chicken Leg  Dinner was $11.35 and the Quarter Chicken Breast Dinner was $13.35.  A similar Quarter Chicken Dinner Meal would have been around $10.00.  Add to this Swiss Chalet offers an option of a white or multigrain roll that also is of better quality.  Scores has similar pricing to St. Hubert, but comes with a full salad bar to choose from.  St. Hubert though only offers Coleslaw and any additional salad is extra.   Not sure why St. Hubert's pricing is significantly higher than their local competitors though, the value just isn't there. 

Overall, St Hubert needs to work on the value of it's meal.  The restaurant is in a tough location with both Scores and Swiss Chalet locations being within 2 kilometres and offering better value for money.  This St. Hubert's exterior is  a lot to be desired for as well with a condo sales centre in back and construction imminently threatening to ruin the ambiance of whatever outdoor dining this location has advertised on it's website.  We probably will not be returning or clucking about this location for quite sometime, not with a decent Scores, Swiss Chalet and other dining options nearby.

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