Saw some previous positive reviews for this establishment, and also saw that they were not current. Went here on 2/5/18, for a late lunch/early dinner with an Our Town & All Around promotional coupon. That was not an issue, as it is great to support the independent places over the big corporate restaurants. More often than not, those small "hole in the wall" places and independent establishments do a terrific job, unfortunately this was NOT the case at the Oriole.
Yeah, the place is not modern in décor, but not a big deal, yeah it is a small neighborhood place, that has probably been around a while, again, not a big deal.
What WAS a big deal, was the service was bad, and it was no fault of anyone in particular, but this server could NOT come out of a thunderstorm without directions and a cattle prod!! Poor girl was CLUELESS from the word, "GO", not to mention, overwhelmed with 6 tables that came in well-spaced apart.
Asked about specials, and she said she was not sure, okay, MAYBE just got on shift; forgivable. (and benefit of the doubt given here). One diner ordered a Barcardi & Coke, and she was not sure what Barcardi was. Don't know what to say here. Originally I wasn't up to drinking this day and asked for a Pepsi or Coke (as not sure what most places have), and she says (This is great!!), "We have COLA!!" I could have been drinking turpentine for all I knew, as after that, I kinda surmised it was that generic Multi-Flow stuff that some places get because it is cheaper than name-brand cola.
So, I get a "COLA" and we questioned what was a good entrée, as we were torn between the Prime Rib, (10 oz & side & salad for $9.99), or the Chicken Carbonara, which the menu description of it was very good. ($12.99 for an entrée & salad). There were two orders of the Carbonara and one Prime Rib.
Then, we waited for the dinners to arrive, and waited, and WAITED!! After 25 minutes, the server comes back to ask ONE person (although all dinners were to come with a salad), what type of dressing was wanted on a salad!!!
The ONE (nothing to write home about), salad came, with Ranch dressing, while the other two of us looked at the ceiling. There was a popcorn machine next to our table, but that was even looking like slim pickin's, dirty too,, but I was tempted to whip up a batch or two for us. It would have covered the stale smell of cigarettes, and whatever else was foul-smelling wafting through the place. Cross between worn socks and a wet dog. YUMMY!!
I know you can't smoke anymore in these places, yet the distinct smell of cigarettes was right in our eating area. I'm guessing that after-hours, the staff smokes when no customers are around--and I know this, because I used to work in lots of places and the staff who smoked, lit up like there was no tomorrow, in the hopes that it would air out by the next day.
After 45 minutes, the meals arrived. The Prime Rib didn't look like it was done to a medium temperature, yet this diner said it tasted good. The Carbonara was another story. Served in a large bowl, the chicken was supposed to be grilled, and it was, but you tasted THE GRILL. There was not enough Alfredo sauce to adequately cover the pasta, and what was there, was "sucked up", by the noodles. And it came with two sorry excuses for "garlic toast". That New York frozen stuff would have been a definite improvement over the jailhouse pieces we got, plus they were cold and tasteless.
Back to the sauce. When the server was flagged down going to another table, we asked for more sauce, as this dish was not edible without the alfredo sauce. She looked at one diner like a deer in the headlights, and said, "They will have to make some". Being polite, we said that is fine, instead of getting (rightfully) upset. Then we waited, and waited, and WAITED, ANOTHER 15 MINUTES for two side portions of alfredo sauce. By this time, I was NO LONGER HUNGRY, & was growing a BEARD by the time she FINALLY came back, and was ready to leave. Oh, and never asked how anything was--NOT FORGIVABLE. Server 101. By this time, both dishes looked and tasted like glue from sitting cold for so long.
I know these things take time to make, and even if the alfredo sauce was made ahead of time, that would have been okay. Heck, a jar of Prego Alfredo would have been better and more tasty than that stuff they served. For the number of people in the place--bar included, the wait times was exceptionally long, and there was no ETA updates or visits from the server. I observed the other tables too, and it was just not ours that had sub-par service.
Granted, it is not Café Italia, or anything like that, but the menu description had us really wanting to try this. They had Chicken Alfredo for two dollars MORE than the Carbonara, which was strange. They DID have a relatively good menu, yet I would NOT recommend this place to anyone, nor eat here again, unless radical changes to the kitchen and service staff was implemented. Cleanliness as well.
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