So often I go out to eat and am pleasantly surprised or unpleasantly disappointed. I am not wealthy, and therefore when I go to a restaurant I like my funds to be spent on good food and decent atmosphere. When I get just an 'okay' meal or basic service I feel my all too few dollars have been wasted. I'm sure there are many of you out there like me, and so we need to share information. Where are we to get a good meal worthy of our dwindling funds?
Well, not at the Raleigh Times I'm afraid. I've wanted to go there for some time. It is in one of the livelier sections of downtown Raleigh and has always had a nice crowd sitting at their sidewalk tables. I don't know about you, but any restaurant with filled tables on the sidewalk- visions of half drunk pint glasses, lovely women in sundresses, and cute dogs sitting at their owner's feet- makes me want to join in the fun and visit that establishment.
So it was this past Saturday at the Raleigh Times. I had participated in the Designers Downtown Market and it was a less than stellar day. Plus, it was Mother's Day Eve (I'm totally milking Mother's Day for at least a week's worth of little housekeeping and meals out) and I wanted to have an enjoyable afternoon meal to celebrate a job well done at maternal matters.
We walked inside and were greeted with a rather typical scene for an urban bar/restaurant/pub establishment. It was a narrow room with the bar on one side and a handful of tables on the other. We were told to sit anywhere and chose a table for four with half staircase to nowhere next to it- presumably a remnant from the building's original purpose, a newspaper office (hence the name).
Rap music was playing quite loudly, and since I am getting older and crabbier with each passing day, it just irked me. I'm not a huge fan of the stuff, and it didn't seem suitable for an old pub/bar style restaurant. However, I just dismissed that as me being too old for trends, and it at least gave me a laugh when I would see any senior citizens returning to their table from the restrooms to the soothing sounds of Jay-Z.
I ordered a Prime Rib French Dip for $9.95. That was with no side. And the last time I saw prime rib in this condition it was in a box in the frozen foods department with the word 'steak-um' written across it. I added house cut fries for $2.50 which were good, not phenomenal. But $2.50 for the portion given was more like NYC prices, not Raleigh. Overall the food tasted good, but the quality of meat was not what I was expecting and the portion size was pretty sad.
My husband ordered Fish and Chips for $9.50. Two pieces of fish and a handful of fries for $9.50 was again somewhat disappointing. They should've just added a dollar to the price and given him a much larger portion of chips. It was pretty pathetic. However, he also thought his food tasted good.
The best deal of the meal was my daughter's choice. She is one of those absurd children who loves vegetables. Seeing as there was no children's menu (which in a county where the average age is 32- prime child rearing years, I find this absolutely astonishing) she picked a side salad. At only $2.50 it was about double the size most side salads typically are. And it had grape tomatoes and cucumbers with spring lettuce mix. It weren't no cheap iceberg plate. For only $2.50 it was quite a steal. The dressing was good, although it wasn't the dressing we ordered... and for the record I've never waited tables. But how hard is it to get an order right when it is written down, and for you to double check that the kitchen puts things like the correct dressing on the plate? I don't know if I'm being overly hard on waitstaff, but really?
The meal was over $30.00 in total, and to be honest, for two adults and a six year old, it was definitely not worth it. Food can taste good, but if I leave hungry, it's not on. I gave my husband half my sandwich because I felt sorry for his fish portion, and was left with half a hoagie loaded with steak-ums and a handful of fries. Yes, the American Heart Association probably would've applauded these portion sizes. But for about $13.00 in Raleigh, it wasn't a good deal for the money.
Here's the fun part. This is where I introduce my new rating system:
1 star = Shite
2 stars = Not Shite
3 stars = Quite nice
4 stars = Gorgeous
5 stars = Gordon Ramsay would approve
So for the Raleigh Times I give it 2 stars or Not Shite. Decent flavors, crappy music, basic service (friendly but order not correct), overpriced, left hungry.
If you're in Raleigh and are on a diet, or just want a lively place for a pint, I'd recommend it. If you have sat in the sun all day selling your wares and just want some comfort food, stay away.