After hearing about the warm ambience, great food and generous glasses filled with refrigerated Manischewitz wine, I knew I had to visit this place and see for myself what all the gushing was about. I dressed casually, as I did not want to stand out – wearing my cleanest pair of sweatpants and a t-shirt with only one stain on it. I put on my bunny slippers, quietly entered the kitchen and was soon greeted by the Maître D’, whose feline voice purred in welcome at my feet. I pulled out a three-day old Whiskas treat from my pocket, slipped it into her paw and was soon guided to the best seat in the house located next to a window and the popcorn machine. The lighting was a tad too bright for me, but the dimmer switch was conveniently located just an arm’s length away and was easily adjusted. Under the warm lighting, I could now see why people were drawn to this place.
The table setting was minimal, but it had a special charm – with classy 3-ply Bounty napkins, matching cutlery and a unique fruit bowl arrangement. It spoke of an intimacy I don’t often encounter in other establishments and I was impressed by the large wine glass set before me, already filled with the dark blue/purple hues of Manischewitz. I breathed in the sugary-sweet aroma and let the sulphites stimulate my palate whilst perusing the menu and nibbling on some savoury sesame-seed rice cakes from a resealable baggie.
The choices were plentiful and surprisingly within budget; from a bacon-bit-infused grilled cheese sandwich served with warmed, tortilla chips ($3.85), to fried chili-tofu sausages with Quebec-canned pea soup ($5.45) or a Wallymart grilled chicken with a broccoli alfredo side dish ($9.95). In the end I chose to go with a Lean N’ Mean Cuisine eggplant parmesan, as it was already defrosted and warming up in the oven ($4.25). In the meantime, I had ordered from a short tasting menu, which was served buffet style from a Kenmore refrigerator – and nibbled my way through several containers filled with delightful tidbits of Last Thursday’s roasted carrots, tuna salad and a quarter piece of apple pie. Yummy!
The Maître D’ made sure my feet were kept warmed, while soft music from a Google Home Mini played in the background. ‘Hey Google’ I whispered, ‘can you play some 70’s music?’ as the tantalizing smell of the parmesan filled the air. I sipped on my second (might have been third) glass of wine while tapping my toes to ‘Play that Funky Music’, followed by singing along unabashedly to the ‘Y.M.C.A.’. By the time the main course was served, I was ready to check into the ‘Hotel California’.
The Parmesan looked perfectly prepared, with hints of a red tomato sauce bubbling through a golden cheese crust top. I couldn’t wait to taste the accompanying Mashé Patates, served with creative squiggles of ketchup all around it and culminating with a ‘Happy Face’ design on top. I warmed up my taste buds with a forkful of yellow corn niblets, doused with fresh lemon and garlic – which proved to be a bit bland. But then I tasted the eggplant parmesan… OMG! Melt in your mouth perfection! I gobbled the whole thing up in minutes, scraping the sides of the plastic container to get every last morsel. Dessert was a perfect, delectable piece of chocolate brownie. Enthralled by the experience, and the wine, I clumsily dropped part of the brownie on to the floor – but the Maitre D’ was quick to react and licked it up in no time. All in all, I have to give this resto 4.5 out of 5 stars and would not hesitate to return again… tomorrow for breakfast.