Showing posts sorted by relevance for query clocktower brew pub. Sort by date Show all posts
Showing posts sorted by relevance for query clocktower brew pub. Sort by date Show all posts

Monday, January 13, 2014

Quality Clocktower Mixed with a Little Priceyness

Clocktower Brew Pub on UrbanspoonFriday evening I wanted to try finding a new pub place in the Byward Market area that we could visit.  I had decent food at another Clocktower Brew Pub with a coworker in the New Edinburgh area of Ottawa previously.

We arrived at 4:30 P.M. after meeting my wife after work.  There was a couple of people enjoying some after work drinks at the bar.  We stood at the front entrance looking lost.  Eventually one of the servers, who turned out to possibly be the manager, said we could sit anywhere we wanted.  So my wife selected one of the tables along the wall near the front window.  The manager stopped by and dropped off menus before disappearing.

We perused the rather limited menu selection.  Sure the menus are limited, but Clocktower concentrates it's attention on providing a selection of their brewed beer instead of providing a wide ranging amount of pub food.

A waitress stopped by, took our drink order and left towards the bar area.

Five minutes later the manager who brought our menus over at the beginning came by and inquired what we would like to drink?

Really? What was the point of the other waitress stopping by then?  For kicks?

We pointed out we had let the waitress that was just here know.

The manager responded that she will have the drinks in two seconds but was with another customer and left.

In this odd situation, the manager could have easily explained the situation that the waitress was being held up by another customer and said he would personally get our drink order and be right back.  But instead of explaining the situation (i.e. the waitress was occupied) he asked for the drink order, we explained that we had given it to the waitress, he explains the waitress is occupied and then leaves empty handed.  As customers, we wanted to avoid a service screw up where we end up with two sets of drinks and be billed for it.  Instead, we ended up with nothing on the manager's attempt to be helpful.

The waitress eventually returned with our drinks and we indicated we were ready to order.

The Order: 1 Clocktower Club (Grilled Chicken breast, peameal bacon, mayo, lettuce & tomato served on a ciabatta bun) with fries and a Pepsi and 1 Ale Fish & Chips (Beer-battered haddock, fresh-cut fries, cole slaw, tarter & lemon) with a glass of water.

The waitress was off to hopefully drop off our food order.

A respectable fifteen minutes later a gentlemen returned with our food.  This was interesting considering first we started with the manager who sat us, a waitress who took our drink and food orders and now a waiter who was bringing us our food?  It seems they have many hands at this Clocktower to serve their customers, especially as we were now the second table to be occupied as another group started arriving that didn't sit to far from us.

The Clocktower Club sandwich plate was the same appearance in quantity as last time.  A sandwich on a plate served with a bowl full of french fries.  I am still questioning the need to put the fries in a bowl upon a plate. Is this for presentation or to try and increase the number of french fries?  I still can not comprehend the need for the bowl.

Taste wise the club sandwich was of perfection.  A still warm tasting piece of chicken with fresh tasting toppings accompanied by a different tasting ciabatta bun instead of the traditional white or brown bread.

The fries were also a decent offering in terms of taste and temperature.  The hot fries were a nice golden shade on the outside but still soft on the inside.  They tasted fresh but I'm doubt with Clocktower Brew Pub being a four location chain, that the fries are made on site.

The Ale Fish & Chips were excellent.  A nice large crispy on the outside piece of fish with a soft but cooked inside accompanied with the same well prepared style of french fries as the club sandwich above.  The coleslaw, I didn't get a chance to eat as my wife devoured it.  So I estimate the slaw was at the very least satisfactory.

After finishing our meal we wanted to see what would happen next.  Who would be around to clear the plates, try and entice us into coffee or tea or offer the bill?  Would it be the manager, waitress or waiter?  Who would win this game of restaurant roulette?  

The waiter returned, picked up each and every plate to clear them away.  While he was doing the traditional waiter clearing the table juggling act he asked if we wanted some coffee or tea or anything else.  Just the bill please came the reply from us.  And the waiter returned two minutes later with the bill.

Overall, Clocktower Brew Pub does well food taste wise.  Price and service need a little assistance.  The Club Sandwich rang in at $13.50 before taxes which I believe is a dollar more than other traditional club sandwiches at pubs.  Add to this the sandwich is more of a grilled chicken sandwich with club sandwich toppings and not three pieces of bread with bacon lettuce and tomato etc. cut in quarters and served with a skewer to hold it together with fries is another issue.  The portion of fries is a little suspect as they come in a bowl instead of on the plate with the sandwich so it is hard to tell.  The Fish and Chips rang in at $14.50 before taxes which is also a little high in price as well.  Add to his the traditional customer at a Brew Pub would have a beer instead of a soft drink and the price for an average meal probably is pushed over $20.00 easily per person.  Service wise we ended up with a cornucopia of people serving us.  Perhaps better service could be provided if one waiter/waitress serve a table at a time.  At least the bill was correct at the end though.  We left Clocktower feeling that sure the food was well prepared but the price at close to $40 after taxes for two people without alcoholic drinks was a little steep.

Sunday, July 07, 2013

Check the Clock Tower for the Time While I Eat

Clock Tower Brew Pub on Urbanspoon Friday for lunch I stopped by the Clock Tower Brew Pub (422 MacKay Street, Ottawa) with a coworker.  I had been intrigued by this small Ottawa based chain of four locations. 

What is their claim to fame? Obviously it is that Clock Tower brews their own beer.  But would this just a beer only place or would the food be superb or merely mediocre?   Only one way to find out.  

We entered shortly after 1 P.M. to mainly empty pub with a couple of tables inside occupied and the same outside on the patio.  With the temperature pushing thirty degrees Celsius, we decided to sit inside to enjoy the air conditioning.  

One server walked by, apologized and said she would be right with us.  Fifteen seconds later another server stopped by, apologized for the wait and showed us to our seats.  Not sure what all the apologies were about, we were barely there a minute.  

At our seats we perused the menues.  The Club Sandwich stuck out to me.  Perhaps it was the failed attempt at mediocrity still ringing in my taste buds via the Club Sandwich served at my previous visit at Broadway Bar and Grill

I half thought about ordering a beer, but considering there was work to be done that afternoon, I stayed away.  

The server who seated us returned to be our waitress for the afternoon.  She took our orders and then left. 

My Order: 1 Clocktower Club (Grilled chicken breast, peameal bacon, mayo, lettuce & tomato served on ciabatta) with fries and Pepsi. 

The food came respectable ten minutes after ordering.  So far the service was excellent and timely.  The waitress ensured we had refills on our drinks and ketchup was brought to the table.  

The club sandwich plate looked well presented with the sandwich one side and the fries in a sepearate bowl, but also on the plate.  This got me thinking, was I being jipped on the fries or was this to keep the theoretical ketchup I was about to add from coagulating with the sandwich?  The other theory was to make the fries seem larger in quantity.  I leaned to latter option as it appeared there could of been more fries especially at a price of $13.50.  

The fries were pretty tasty and better than I had at Broadway.  They looked at least close to a fresh cut fries I have seen a pub provide to it's patrons.  They were also still warm from being made but not overly greasy.  

The club was equally as good an attempt as the fries. Freshly grilled chicken coupled with peameal bacon on a noticeably nicely tasting ciabatta bun provided a significant improvement over the average club sandwich served elsewhere.  A nice fresh cooked sandwich and fries washed down with a cold glass of Pepsi was a perfect lunch.  

Next things got interesting.  We started looking for our waitress for the bill so we could continue the afternoon.  She had not been in our area for a while.  Where was she?  We saw her wiz by out the front door with plates in hand.  Surely she was not also covering the patio outside as well?   Afraid so, she was bringing plates of food out to the other three tables outside despite another waitress being available indoors. But our server was quickly back inside and back to the kitchen.  She returned to the patio and dropped some more off and gathered other drink orders.  Took a non-complainable five minutes to find our waitress in order to ask for the bill. But the optics of her working both the patio outside and then back inside seemed a little weird.  Perhaps this minor issue could be fine tuned as if she had to handle one or two more tables, the server would have been in trouble.

Overall, the food at the Clock Tower Brew Pub was pretty good. The brew pub noticeably cared just as much about what food was served with their specialized beer. No second rate or mediocre food here, just well thought out tested pub foods with a slight culinary twist.  Nothing overly fancy gourmet but nothing mediocre or average either, just a happy medium that will keep the people coming back time and time again.

Tuesday, July 01, 2014

D'Arcy McGee's Still an Ottawa Institution

D'Arcy McGee's on UrbanspoonI recently returned with my wife and a friend to D'Arcy McGees (44 Sparks Street, Ottawa) for some beer and a meal.  I used to love coming on Thursday nights to this particular Irish themed pub in the early 2000s for the popular kitchen parties.

We arrived at an early 4:30 P.M. to take advantage of the pre-dinner Friday evening no wait.  Due to this restaurant's prime location just steps from Parliament Hill and other nearby tourist destinations as well as it's popularity amongst tourists, this restaurant fills up pretty quickly.

The inside of the restaurant is like an old bar with tile intricate tile floors and wood bar.  There are alcoves off the upstairs area where many tables are located. We were lead there by the appropriately Irish kilted hostess.

We perused our menus before awaiting our also Irish kilted waitress to return.  When she did we were ready!

The Order: 1 The Club (Shave Turkey, crisp bacon, white Cheddar Cheese, shredded lettuce, sliced hothouse tomato, cranberry mayonnaise, and toasted multi-grain bread) with fries and a Keiths draft beer.  1 Ma's Crispy Chicken (Crisp water-cracker coating, buttermilk, mashed potatoes, rainbow slaw tossed in honey mustard, and creamed corn).

The food came within a reasonable 20 minutes.  But the ambiance had changed with a group of about 10 office coworkers who were seated in the back corner in our alcove.  This raised the noise level a lot so it became difficult to hold a conversation.   Perhaps they could have sat them downstairs in the larger area where they have seating or out in the bar area.  It was noticeably a little disturbing for others in our area as well. This was really our only complaint during our meal.

The Club sandwich was delicious with fresh turkey and decent white bread.  Lettuce and tomatoes were also fresh on this quad cut bread held together with skewer sticks.

The fries were typical pub fries with skins slightly still left on.  They appear to be similar to the fries that New York Fries made popular. but in the new hipster designer french fry bowl that seems to be catching on.  The same bowl and plate combination was found at the Clocktower Brew Pub. Optically it separates the club sandwich, or whatever main dish, from the french fries.  Quantity wise I still have doubts as it looks like restaurant is trying hide the  reduction in the amount of fries served.  In the end the fries were served hot with requisite grease drying.

The Ma's Crispy Chicken came with three pieces of what appeared to be long breaded chicken sticks. Crispy on the outside but somewhat still moist on the inside.   Served along with the same fries as mentioned above and add a little ketchup at a times and it makes an pretty good meal.

Overall, D'Arcy McGees remains a reliable downtown pub.  Loud at times with federal government workers after work for happy hour, but pretty decent at service and food.  Service was quick and friendly with perfect timing on when to check in.  A slight Irish feel to the bar also occurs.  Still the touristy yet local welcoming spot I remember from yesteryear.  Definitely an Ottawa Institution that continues.

Popular Posts