Friday, January 14, 2011

Uncle Cheffy, Eastwood Mall (A Foodie-Mom's Review)

This was supposed to be a blog post about our annual Christmas reunion with my husband's friends from college.  But since he wasn't able to take photos of him and his friends that day (perhaps, because of excitement), I decided to just make this a review of this year's restaurant-of-choice...Uncle Cheffy in Eastwood Mall.  Though I do not claim to be a professional food and restaurant critic, I do possess the everyday-foodie-mommy's perspective in mind.

The Restaurant

Uncle Cheffy is nicely-spaced, and diners can opt to either sit inside the restaurant or dine al fresco.  Their brown, wooden, and brick interiors, plus woven chairs, give the establishment that "old-warm-homey-and-family-feel" to it (that is, if you will discount the glass walls that surround and encase the restaurant from the rest of the other food joints in the area).  There is even a bar inside the restaurant, in case one feels the need to just drink rather than eat.

There were separate restrooms for the ladies and the gents.  I don't know about the men's comfort room but ours was clean, the tissue holder had tissue (smile!), and the mirror was framed beautifully with a colorful stained-glass design.

The Food

Pumpkin Flower Soup
I was told that this soup is Uncle Cheffy's bestseller.  So I expected a lot.  It was a big serving!  And there were about 10 of us who tried it. (Does this explain why I wasn't able to get a single shred of shrimp in my soup bowl? Smile!)  It was rich, yes.  It tasted of pumpkin, yes again.  But it was so-so for my taste.  I've actually had better. 

Spaghetti Alfredo (Spanish-inspired pasta with tomato sauce, smoked chorizo, pimiento and Edam cheese)
This was ordered for the kids.  We thought that the little ones would love it.  I was just a little skeptical for it had chorizo, and I figured it might be too salty for their taste.  Turned out, there wasn't even a hint of chorizo in that dish...taste-wise, at least.  Plus, I don't know whether to write it off as too sweet, or what.  I just couldn't explain its taste.  My Maia, who is a spaghetti-addict, didn't enjoy this one.  Neither did I.  My husband was disappointed and kept asking, "Where's the chorizo?"

Seafood Lovers Panizza (with toppings of salmon, shrimp, clams, squid, herbs, onions, 3 cheese and a siding of tomato salsa, alfalfa sprouts, and arugula)
I was excited about this dish for I always order pizza with seafood toppings.  My "approach" was to eat it like a pizza.  That was my mistake.  I forgot that this dish is NOT pizza but a panizza.  And it wasn't just me.  Our other friends did the same.  I was thinking then that it was bland and that it lacked toppings.  This wasn't a problem for Maia, however, as she preferred to eat the cheesy dough sans the toppings. :)

All the while, we were supposed to roll the tomato salsa, alfafa sprouts, and arugula into the panizza slices.  I thought they were just extra garnishing.  It was only my husband, Cupid, who had the sense to eat the greens with the dough.  But instead of rolling, he folded it.  He said it was good!  That it was like a seafood sandwich with arugula, tomatoes, and cheese.

No one told us it was supposed to be eaten that way.  However, my take here is that we should have been informed by our order-taker or server (but I will get to that later!).

Surf and Turf Platter (composed of chicken, lamb, beef and pork ribs; Cream Dory, Salmon, Tuna and Garoupa fillets; Marble Potato; served with assorted sauces and some salad on the side [not in photo])
Now this dish...I LIKE!  I tried all the fish.  They were all grilled to perfection but my favorite is always the salmon!  On the meat side, I only opted to taste the beef ribs (as I ate so much pork and chicken during Christmas; also, I don't eat lamb).  It was deliciously, hickory sweet! It was a winner with the kids and adults alike. :)

Fish BBQ Platter (grilled fillets Cream Dory, Garoupa, Salmon, and Tuna Belly with Marble potato, salad; and served with Tomato Salsa, Teriyaki, Creamy Garlic and Balsamic Sauce)
Now this isn't the actual photo of what we ordered.  I just got this off the internet (from the restaurant's Facebook page, nevertheless!).  I think my husband got so excited by this dish, he forgot to take a picture! 

Actually, our Fish BBQ Platter looked exactly like the photo of our order of Surf and Turf Platter...only this time, there are no red meats...just beautiful fillets of juicy, grilled fish!  We only decided to order this one AFTER we devoured the Surf and Turf.  And it was worth the wait!

Everything looked and tasted delicious!  And with the variety of sauces presented, I believe the creamy garlic variant was the one that complemented all the grilled-fishy goodness, especially the salmon!  I know not everyone likes the smell and taste of garlic.  I could be wrong, but I liked the way the taste of the salmon and the taste of the garlic "married" into my palate. :)

The Service

I don't know if the restaurant was only understaffed that day or whatever.  Perhaps because it was just 2 days after Christmas and not all reported for work that time (?).  I don't know.  But I do know that those that were assigned to our table were a bit inattentive.  At least, that's how it seemed to my husband and me.

The place wasn't empty, but it wasn't "jam-packed" with customers either.  Yet, it was an EFFORT to get the servers' attention.  And when they did manage to come to us, they messed up our orders of platters and drinks.

The ones that messed up seemed flustered.  While the ones that "remedied" the mistake seemed nonchalant and never even bothered to apologize for the snafu.  It was weird.  I do not assume that Uncle Cheffy staff are ALWAYS "weird".  But they should shape-up their act...and soon.  Word does get around, you know.

The Verdict

With 10 being the highest, I give Uncle Cheffy:

For the restaurant:  9
For the food:  8
For the service:  6
Overall:  8

Now, I know that not everyone will agree with my review and rating.  But this is my blog.  This was my personal experience.  This is my opinion.  To each his own.

I believe that I gave a pretty good and objective review.  Anyway, I'm sure to return to Uncle Cheffy again in the near future.  I just have to eat that Fish BBQ Platter again!  I also vow to give their famous panizza another go, and so get the right eating pleasure and proper gastronomic experience!
What about you?  Have you eaten at Uncle Cheffy?  What was your experience like?

Mama Mia is a 30-something wife; stay-at-home mom to one; blogger; and author of Online Confessions of a Stay-at-Home Mom (OCSAHM). Learn more about Mia here, or contact her via this page. You can also get instant updates on this blog by following Mia on Twitter @miadsoriano; by "Liking" the official OCSAHM Facebook page; or by subscribing via Email or RSS.
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