Friday, May 23, 2014

Roger Dodger at Roger's Italian Bistro

Tuesday my wife and I headed to Rogers Italian Bistro (500 Terminal Avenue, Ottawa) for dinner out.  We had been eyeing this Italian restaurant since it opened in May 2013, but was unsure if was any good as we had walked by previously to find not many people either inside the restaurant. As well the restaurant's patio was also void of customers. But the patio problems are probably a result of the patio overlooking exhaust spewing Terminal Avenue on one side and the back strip mall dumpster area of Ottawa Train Yards.

Inside the restaurant looked a lot more promising with a modern tiled interior and brown leather booth style seating. Accompanied by a prompt hostess attention and seating, things were looking good.   On their old website they claimed to have 25 years of experience while being the second generation of Italian restaurateurs following in the footsteps of parents with 40 years of experience. So at least the experience and service was there.  What could go wrong?

We perused the standard priced menus before ordering.

The Order: 1 Italian Sausage Penne & 1 Lasagna with a glass of water and Keiths on draft.

The order was taken and arrived within 15 minutes wait.  Not bad service wise.

Food wise this is where a spectacular yet reasonably priced meal went downhill to mediocrity.

The Penne Pasta with Italian Sausage was mediocre.  The sauce tasted a hint better than Chef Boyardee.  The Italian Sausage was passable but no seasoning noticed.  It was like the chef just through everything together without any spices or garnishes.  Just plain Italian food with less thought put into it than East Side Marios. Sure the plate was full and perhaps a larger helping, but nothing special that I couldn't make at home.  For an average family restaurant this pasta dish would have sufficed, but for an "Italian Bistro" which Roger's was purporting to be, lackluster.

The lasagna ran into the same problem.  Same boring uninspired tomato sauce which Roger's Italian Bistro may have ordered in large quantities.  The noodles were also standard nothing special that perhaps could have been found on a lucky day at Wal-Mart across the parking lot.

Overall, Rogers Italian Bistro needs a little help.  If you are a former Spaghetti house claiming to be trained by Italian parents then at least prove this claim by providing inspiring food.  Mediocre Italian food will just not cut it.  Sure the pricing was reasonable at $15.00 for the Italian Sausage Penne portion received.  But to have it taste like a customer could visit the local Wal-Mart and gone home to make it just doesn't cut it.  Sure the service, ambience and cleanliness were excellent, but the food needs help.

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