Thursday, August 5, 2010

My new hobby...Restaurant Reviewer

I have a few hobbies...but here is one that I thought I would take up. More of something to help others as well as help me remember the good, the bad and the ugly of some of the local restaurants that we have been to in the Rochester, MN area. We usually eat as a family but sometimes will go on little dates with our kids too. I will try to keep my reviews as family friendly to help you make a decision on if your family would enjoy this location or if you would rather just eat at home.

Tonight our family went to Carlos O'Kelly's over on the frontage road that is between 37th Street NW and 55th Street NW in Rochester, MN.

The kids love this restaurant and it is close to our house so it was a logical choice for us eat there tonight. Plus, the chips! It is a great appetizer with the salsa and you really can hardly ever go wrong with this.

We got to the restaurant about 6:50pm, ordered pretty quickly but left the restaurant after 8:10pm which was a bit later than I would have liked. We didn't have to wait for a table so all of our waiting was done while we were actually at the table. We have three 8 year old, a 5 year old and a 2 year old. Our kids actually sat very well at the table and were very well behaved other than their normal volume control issues that they tend to get when they are at a restaurant or in front of people in general :)

I would give this restaurant a rating of 2 out of is why.

1) the cooks are all smoking either in the front or the back of the restaurant. They were there when we came in to eat and were there when we came out to eat. This may explain why it took more than 40 minutes to get our food. We didn't have complex meals had meals that take me about 5 to 10 minutes to make at home, I had fajitas and Chris had a taco salad.

2) we got to the table and the sun was shining in Chris' face so we asked nicely if we could have one of the blinds closed in a booth that another family was sitting in. The waitress said "sure" but didn't do it. A manager came over a few minutes after that and then wiped our table...after we were already eating chips and the kids were putting them all over the table...because she said that the waitress told her that it was dirty. She then did ask the nice people if it would be ok with the blinds could be closed and they were ok with that. I think we probably could have just turned around and asked them ourselves when we sat down but evidently there is a protocol to follow about shutting a set of blinds at this restaurant.

3) We did get our drinks fairly fast and had many chances for refills. With kids and adults eating chips and salsa, this is important.

4) Our first bowl of chips that the kids devoured were not good. They were cold and in lots of little pieces. The second bowl of chips that they also ate were nice and warm and really big pieces.

5) The kids ordered very simple had quesadillas with rice, another had quesadillas with fries and the other had mac & cheese with rice. The kids' food was very cold by the time it came out and the cooks didn't even put the rice with the right meals. Our kids don't care too much and it was offered that different food could be made up for them so they got the right meals. We already waited so long for this food we didn't want to wait any longer. So, Sid, our 8 year old, very diligently took each grain of rice out of her serving dish, put her fries on the table that Micah gave to her that were supposed to be in her dish and they got it all figured out on their own.

6) The place where we were sitting in the restaurant was in a corner and was looking towards the restroom area and you could also see the front area of the restaurant. The path to the front of the restaurant from where we were sitting could have been picked up a lot better. There were chairs all over and not even close to tables and at one point in the night they were trying to clean the floor and the swifter was sitting in the middle of the aisle...very attractive :) No one was cleaning it while we were it sat in the middle of the restaurant aisle at least the entire time while we were there. I could have looked at that at my dining room table since our closet with those items is right next to the table too.

7) The waitress did apologize several times for the food taking so long. It wouldn't be so bad if they were just short people working but I know that they were just sitting out in the back smoking. I saw them!

8) The one thing that I love about fajitas...other than their the sound that the serving dish makes as it comes to the table while the waitress holds it. My serving dish didn't make any sound at all. I realized that I truly like that sound and was actually disappointed that I didn't get to hear it.

Would I recommend this restaurant to a friend? I would say, as long as there is more than 1 person sitting in the back of the restaurant smoking (which at times there were 5 people sitting outside smoking) I would not eat at this restaurant. If you are looking for a family restaurant that your kids will love, you will love and you can get out of the restaurant without a meltdown...this probably is not the choice for you.

Would I order my meal again? I would order my meal again but I don't expect to go back to this place in the next year.

What would I say to the manager? We ended up not ordering ice cream because our night took way too long. We didn't want to wait any longer just for ice cream that we could get in the drive-thru on the way home at Culver's. I would suggest that something be done to help get the food out faster and that it looks very poor when there are several people in Carlos O'Kelly's uniforms sitting in the back of the restaurant on cars smoking and one in the front of the restaurant sitting on the curb.

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