Monday, January 13, 2014

Quality Clocktower Mixed with a Little Priceyness

Clocktower Brew Pub on UrbanspoonFriday evening I wanted to try finding a new pub place in the Byward Market area that we could visit.  I had decent food at another Clocktower Brew Pub with a coworker in the New Edinburgh area of Ottawa previously.

We arrived at 4:30 P.M. after meeting my wife after work.  There was a couple of people enjoying some after work drinks at the bar.  We stood at the front entrance looking lost.  Eventually one of the servers, who turned out to possibly be the manager, said we could sit anywhere we wanted.  So my wife selected one of the tables along the wall near the front window.  The manager stopped by and dropped off menus before disappearing.

We perused the rather limited menu selection.  Sure the menus are limited, but Clocktower concentrates it's attention on providing a selection of their brewed beer instead of providing a wide ranging amount of pub food.

A waitress stopped by, took our drink order and left towards the bar area.

Five minutes later the manager who brought our menus over at the beginning came by and inquired what we would like to drink?

Really? What was the point of the other waitress stopping by then?  For kicks?

We pointed out we had let the waitress that was just here know.

The manager responded that she will have the drinks in two seconds but was with another customer and left.

In this odd situation, the manager could have easily explained the situation that the waitress was being held up by another customer and said he would personally get our drink order and be right back.  But instead of explaining the situation (i.e. the waitress was occupied) he asked for the drink order, we explained that we had given it to the waitress, he explains the waitress is occupied and then leaves empty handed.  As customers, we wanted to avoid a service screw up where we end up with two sets of drinks and be billed for it.  Instead, we ended up with nothing on the manager's attempt to be helpful.

The waitress eventually returned with our drinks and we indicated we were ready to order.

The Order: 1 Clocktower Club (Grilled Chicken breast, peameal bacon, mayo, lettuce & tomato served on a ciabatta bun) with fries and a Pepsi and 1 Ale Fish & Chips (Beer-battered haddock, fresh-cut fries, cole slaw, tarter & lemon) with a glass of water.

The waitress was off to hopefully drop off our food order.

A respectable fifteen minutes later a gentlemen returned with our food.  This was interesting considering first we started with the manager who sat us, a waitress who took our drink and food orders and now a waiter who was bringing us our food?  It seems they have many hands at this Clocktower to serve their customers, especially as we were now the second table to be occupied as another group started arriving that didn't sit to far from us.

The Clocktower Club sandwich plate was the same appearance in quantity as last time.  A sandwich on a plate served with a bowl full of french fries.  I am still questioning the need to put the fries in a bowl upon a plate. Is this for presentation or to try and increase the number of french fries?  I still can not comprehend the need for the bowl.

Taste wise the club sandwich was of perfection.  A still warm tasting piece of chicken with fresh tasting toppings accompanied by a different tasting ciabatta bun instead of the traditional white or brown bread.

The fries were also a decent offering in terms of taste and temperature.  The hot fries were a nice golden shade on the outside but still soft on the inside.  They tasted fresh but I'm doubt with Clocktower Brew Pub being a four location chain, that the fries are made on site.

The Ale Fish & Chips were excellent.  A nice large crispy on the outside piece of fish with a soft but cooked inside accompanied with the same well prepared style of french fries as the club sandwich above.  The coleslaw, I didn't get a chance to eat as my wife devoured it.  So I estimate the slaw was at the very least satisfactory.

After finishing our meal we wanted to see what would happen next.  Who would be around to clear the plates, try and entice us into coffee or tea or offer the bill?  Would it be the manager, waitress or waiter?  Who would win this game of restaurant roulette?  

The waiter returned, picked up each and every plate to clear them away.  While he was doing the traditional waiter clearing the table juggling act he asked if we wanted some coffee or tea or anything else.  Just the bill please came the reply from us.  And the waiter returned two minutes later with the bill.

Overall, Clocktower Brew Pub does well food taste wise.  Price and service need a little assistance.  The Club Sandwich rang in at $13.50 before taxes which I believe is a dollar more than other traditional club sandwiches at pubs.  Add to this the sandwich is more of a grilled chicken sandwich with club sandwich toppings and not three pieces of bread with bacon lettuce and tomato etc. cut in quarters and served with a skewer to hold it together with fries is another issue.  The portion of fries is a little suspect as they come in a bowl instead of on the plate with the sandwich so it is hard to tell.  The Fish and Chips rang in at $14.50 before taxes which is also a little high in price as well.  Add to his the traditional customer at a Brew Pub would have a beer instead of a soft drink and the price for an average meal probably is pushed over $20.00 easily per person.  Service wise we ended up with a cornucopia of people serving us.  Perhaps better service could be provided if one waiter/waitress serve a table at a time.  At least the bill was correct at the end though.  We left Clocktower feeling that sure the food was well prepared but the price at close to $40 after taxes for two people without alcoholic drinks was a little steep.
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