In general, I'm pretty easy to please. And the group of men with whom my husband drinks beer and solves the world's problems are a laid-back bunch as well. So it was a natural choice to invite my better half and his buddies—a detective, an engineer and a realtor—to tag along while reviewing a sports bar and restaurant called The Office. Unfortunately, our easy-going outlooks were put to the test.
What is now The Office was for many moons a sports bar called Burger 'N' Brew. Its walls were plastered with beer posters and sports clutter, there were pool and foosball tables aplenty, and the glow of neon signs dotted the cavernous space. About two years ago, the visual cacophony was removed, the shuffleboard and foosball tables were traded for dining room furnishings, dank walls were painted white, and the space was transformed briefly into a restaurant called The Rendezvous. Today, the sports bar memorabilia and the odor of stale cigarette smoke once again cling to the walls.
Our Sunday afternoon visit was spent in an almost empty dining room while NFL football games were broadcast on flat screen TVs. Within 10 minutes of our arrival, we were met with a series of discouraging "we're-out-of" statements from the only waitress in the place. We wanted an order of pig wings, which read temptingly on the menu like succulent morsels of slowly baked pork. "We're out of those today," she said. What is the homemade soup of the day? "We're out of that, too." Can we see a list of beers? "We don't have beer menus anymore." They may have also been out of beer coasters and beverage napkins, for we received neither beneath any of our glasses during the two hours we hung out.
We settled for an order of Buffalo wings ($7) and a round of Widmer hefeweizens that arrived promptly enough but at a temperature that felt more like a tepid 60 degrees than the slightly chilled, correct serving temperature of 49 degrees. We were also a little miffed that nobody bothered to tell us that we'd be charged the same price ($3.75) for a large 25-ounce draught as for a regular pint.
Upon ordering the Buffalo wings, we asked for both bleu cheese and ranch dressings for dipping, but we received four small ramekins of ranch, even though the waitress went to the trouble of putting a small napkin under what she claimed was bleu cheese. Thankfully, the wings were adequately cooked, spicy and meaty.
From menu offerings like appetizers, salads, sandwiches, burgers and a handful of entrees, the detective chose another order of chicken wings for lunch. The engineer selected a chicken club sandwich ($9) and remarked that the size of the flattened chicken breast presented on a toasted bun looked skimpy, but the bacon tasted good and it was an otherwise OK dish. I opted for a Reuben sandwich ($8), which was billed as house-cooked corned beef with chipotle dressing on rye bread. I didn't detect any chipotle flavor. The corned beef, although moist and flavorful, was cut along the grain, creating long strands and large, unmanageable hunks that made eating the sandwich difficult.
The real kicker came when some of the boys returned from the men's room complaining about having to tiptoe around a large puddle of standing water that was apparently caused by an overflow problem. And there were no paper towels for hand drying. While I am usually willing to overlook a misstep or two, there were more fumbles during our visit to The Office than any NFL stat keeper saw that Sunday.
—Jennifer Hernandez prefers manageable hunks to unmanageable ones.