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Avenue Grill

Back in my high school days, I used to live in Oakridge and would frequent Kerrisdale quite often. Thus, there are several memories etched into my subconscious. Flashbacks occur whenever I'm back in the neighbourhood. There are memories of the former Radio Shack on 41st where I would faithfully get my one free battery per month as part of the "Battery Club". Of course the batteries were pure crap and I could not even make it through one Rick Astley... er... Public Enemy song on my Walkman. Across the street, I can remember visiting McD's and getting a McRib complete with the promotional "Hot Pocket" which warmed our hands during the Winter months. Also, I fondly recall going every weekend to Miramar (now Golden Ocean) for Dim Sum. We would park in the London Drugs parking lot (before they put in the pay parking) at the back. There was also Skyline Sports (now Vivo! Gelato) on W. Blvd. where I would peruse the expensive sports equipment. Oh, not to mention the small grocery store across from Pt. Grey Secondary where I found out that Hostess Hickory Stix were misprinted with "Win a free bag" on every one in the same batch. Yes, 99 cents bought me a heck of a lot of Hickory Stix that day! Ah yes, the memories...

One place that I never visited; but must've passed by hundreds of times is the Avenue Grill. The place is easy to remember with its cool signage. After all these years, I finally got my chance to try it. With another win in softball all-but-guaranteed by the last inning. I took myself out of the game to go fetch my "list". Yah, I printed out a list of restaurants that are near the fields we play our softball games. There have been too many times where everyone looks at me after a game and asks, "where to eat Sherman?". Of course I give a blank look and everyone thinks I that I should know every restaurant that exists. So, I bring the list back and have a mini-conference with Bear as to our potential eating destinations. Finally, Bear decided to make the call since everyone was on the fence. Alas Avenue Grill, I finally get to see what you are all about. For some reason or another, I always had in my mind that the place was a diner. Maybe it was before, I'm not sure. But when we arrived, the place did not fit any preconceived image that we envisioned. The interior graced us with a warm, cozy dining space with art on the walls and a certain level of class. We were all dressed for softball and once again, didn't fit into the surroundings (much like the time at Q4). After we were seated, several tables of older folk left, seemingly annoyed at our existence. I don't blame them, the atmosphere took a turn for the worse due to us!

Boss Woman was a bit dismayed that it didn't turn out to be a diner (it's closer to a bistro than anything else). She settled on the Fettuccine Jambalaya and it was an ample portion. Plenty of chicken, prawns and chorizo hid within the generous amount of pasta. The pasta was on the softer side while the sauce was quite balanced with a bit of spice. She did remark that there was much more in the way of ingredients than pasta. Not necessarily a bad thing; yet she felt there was a lack of balance between the pasta and ingredients. Looking over the featured items on the blackboard, Bear and I were drawn to the Duck Confit with salad and fries. When it arrived, I wasn't even sure if there was duck since the leg was completely covered with caramelized onions. Bear didn't even bother eating any of it and scraped it off. I tried it with the duck and honestly, it didn't add anything. For the duck itself, we both found the meat dry and bland while the skin was soggy (probably from the onions on top). The fries were generic and salty.

Milhouse went for another featured item in the Italian Sausage Cannelloni. He found this quite alright with plenty of a good amount of cheese atop a creamy tomato sauce. With the same sauce, the Lasagne looked pretty much the same as the cannelloni except for the meat. Silent Bob also enjoyed his pasta. Of all the great things on the menu, Miss Y went for the Mushroom Burger. Nothing particularly wrong about ordering a burger; but with the Red Onion just up the street, this was not the place to get one. As it turns out, she really wasn't all that fond of it. She found the patty dry while being greasy at the same time. The sauteed mushrooms probably added to the greasiness. She wasn't all that impressed with it and didn't enjoy eating it. Again, she didn't like the fries either since there was way too much salt.

Judes ended up with the Linguine with prawns, tomatoes, butter and herbs. She didn't like the softness of the pasta and thought that the strong garlic presence overpowering. Thus, she did get a bit of tomato flavour with the garlic; but little else. Hot Chocolate went for something lighter with the Curry Chicken Soup and a side of Foccacia. She liked the soup describing as smooth and balanced while not being too spicy. In general, the food at Avenue Grill is hit and miss. Personally, for the prices, there are much better choices around. With that being said, I can see a visit for breakfast or lunch would possibly be a better experience due to the lower prices.

The Good:
- Quaint little restaurant
- Good service
- Fairly diverse menu (taking into account the fresh sheet too)

The Bad:
- The food in general is not that impressive
- Tight squeeze in terms of seating

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