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Review: Al’s Steakhouse, Ottawa

327 Elgin St., Ottawa, Ontario – (613) 233-7111 - Website

Date of Visit: February 5, 2011

Ambience and Service

Al’s is plain but tastefully decorated and well laid out. I attended on a Wednesday night and the place was full to the point of being a bit too crowded. I was given a small table near the front of the restaurant and close to the front doors. This had a nice view of Elgin St. but was uncomfortably close to a very high staff and patron traffic area. I would very much have preferred to have been seated somewhere else.

The waiter (a young female of 20 or so) was pleasant but not very well knowledgeable about the menu. I asked about the pedigree of a wine identified as a ‘Butterfield Station’ Cabernet Sauvignon) and she (mistakenly) confirmed my own erroneous guess that the wine was Australian in origin. After I had ordered a glass – and had it delivered – she came and announced that she was mistaken and that the wine was, in fact, from California.  This was, quite frankly, more than a minor error as I would have preferred to have been told this before she brought it to me. I probably would have been willing to overlook this slip with a bit more equanimity had the rest of the service not been brisk to the point of being rushed and unfriendly.

 …

The Steak

12 oz Rib Steak (bone in) ordered ‘Chicago style’ medium rare.

I received a nice thin cut that was cooked as ordered but was ultimately unpleasant. The steak was tender and had nice grill-marks and charring but the taste was unfortunate, to say the least.  The result was like an amateur  BBQ effort where the cook squirted lighter fluid onto the coals at the last minute leaving the meat with a nasty oily taste. Al’s has been GREAT in the past but this steak was very poor.

Alongside it, came flash-fried Carrot, Broccoli, and Yellow beans. The overall result of this was mediocre – broccoli a little underdone – but the yellow beans, which I usually dislike, were the only ones I have ever enjoyed so far.

 …

Overall

I have dined at Al’s several times in the past and always enjoyed it. On this occasion, however, I was very disappointed. The service was  poor and the meal not very good at all. I am prepared to hope that this was an isolated case and I will probably give the place another try in the future.

 …

Al's Steakhouse on Urbanspoon

4 Comments Post a comment
  1. Ron Eden #

    Agree completely with this review – all four of us were disappointed with the grisly steak, factory salad dressing, and the wet baked potato. I don’t believe this was a one time – this is their new standard. Go somewhere else and pay $20 for a decent pub steak instead.
    Ron

    April 2, 2012
  2. That’s kind of a shame really … as I say, I had some decent meals there on past occasions.

    April 2, 2012
  3. I have to agree with some of the posters here. I’ve been going to Al’s since the late ’60s, and I always said you won’t be disappointed, but lately that’s happened. The steaks seem to have lost flavour.

    January 6, 2014
    • I suppose sources and chefs change periodically…

      January 7, 2014

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