Wednesday, February 18, 2009

Oddfellows Cafe

1525 10th Ave

Oddfellows Cafe isn't really very odd, which is frequently the case when someone describes himself as “odd.” In fact, when people refer to themselves as “crazy,” they're usually exactly the opposite, like the sorority girl I once overheard justifying her own “zaniness” by loudly proclaiming that Spongebob Squarepants was her favorite show. I've got news for you: adults who watch children's programming are not odd. Here are some examples of people who are ACTUALLY ODD: JACK KEVORKIAN is odd. JOHN WAYNE GACY was crazy. MICHAEL JACKSON is different. Wearing a Utilikilt does not make you “different.” Nor does actually using the flower vase in your new VW Bug. Unless you're willing to replace the daffodil in your Bug's flower vase with a severed finger, you're probably just an attention- starved douche.

Speaking of attention- starved douches, let's discuss my meal at Oddfellows. The day we went there, the soup of the day was cream of celeriac. For $5 you got a pretty motherfucking big bowl of earthy, sweet, creamy soup, dusted with a drift of finely minced parsley. The 3 Cheese Panini with Onion Jam ($6) seemed to be missing TWO of the aforementioned cheeses, because all I could taste was one kind of cheese: goat. To be fair, the sweet onion jam balanced the tangy chevre pretty well. Still, those odd motherfuckers at Oddfellows owe me TWO CHEESES. WHERE'S MY TWO CHEESES?

Luckily they made up for the missing cheese by including extra meat in the Oddfellows Sandwich ($8), which featured coppa, Black Forest ham, AND salami, plus gruyere and onions. That Oddfellows Sandwich was HEARTY as FUCK. To balance the otherworldly heartiness, the Oddfellows Sandwich comes with a very tasty side salad: mixed greens, sliced carrots, and a delicate vinaigrette. The greens were fresh and crisp. The vinaigrette was balanced and evenly coated every leaf. I've always said that the mark of a restaurant's quality is how carefully they prepare side salads, and Oddfellows fucking nailed it.

One thing that was lame about the sandwiches was that they didn't come with fries. Unfortunately, not being served with the sandwiches wasn't the only thing offensive about those fries. I've compiled a list of grievances against them:

1.The fries cost $6.
2.For that price, you only get a handful of them.
3.They are served in an old tin can. Yes, really.
4.The fries are too short in length. I expect a good french fry to be 3-4 inches in length. If my cock is longer than most of the fries on my plate, I cry.
5.The accompanying sauces aren't very good.

I'm going to print this list and nail it to the door of Oddfellows Cafe a la Martin Luther's 95 Theses. It's too bad they've has driven me to this drastic step because the fries themselves are actually quite tasty. They were crisply cooked, fluffy inside like a good baked potato, and flecked with crystals of kosher salt. But I couldn't get over how lame the sauces that came with the fries were: the so- called “house- made ketchup” tasted like watery marinara sauce, and don't even get me started on the aoli. Too late: I'm already getting started on the aoli. I HATE aoli. This is surprising in light of the fact that I love almost every other goddamned, motherfucking thing from France. But aoli sucks. It's too labor intensive. It's just trumped- up mayonnaise. It has too much cachet, and as you can probably guess, I hate cachet. If Pulp Fiction is to be believed, and why wouldn't you believe that ultra- realistic piece of cinema verite, then all Europeans love mayonnaise on fries. I vehemently disagree with this concept. In fact, if Europeans really do love mayonnaise on fries, then the European community leaves me no choice but to label every one of its citizens a bunch of fags. Every European citizen is a bunch of fags. Every one.

So maybe it's for the best that the sandwiches don't come with fries. I may have had an anuerysm if I had to keep thinking about aoli. Luckily the roast chicken ($15) was as tasty as the fries were irksome. This roasted chicken half was juicy and confidently roasted, well seasoned with crisp skin and tender flesh. It came with satiny mashed potatoes and garlicky braised greens. My one minor complaint is that maybe they could've braised the greens a little longer, because they were a little tough.

The steak was also $15. It came with a big pile of crisp arugula, which had been dressed in the same delightful vinaigrette as the side salads. Also present on this dish was a braised onion. Topped with blue cheese and broiled, it was smoky and sweet. The steak itself-- 2 medallions of grilled sirloin-- had a good, seasoned exterior crust and a perfect medium- rare interior.

Dessert was chocolate pudding. For $5 you got a pretty good portion of it. The pudding was rich and chocolatey and topped with a cloud of whipped cream. Unfortunately it was served in a retardedly shallow jar. It looked like the kind of jar that holds one of those creepy triple- wick candles. You know, those huge scented candles beloved by crazy cat ladies, people who collect pewter miniature dragons and wizards, and Renaissance fair attendees. Whatever happened to bowls? I fucking love bowls.

Oddfellows Cafe is really quite tasty. The cuisine is quietly competent and reasonably priced. PBR tall boys are only $2.50. And although the staff all dress like hipster fuckwads, the waiters are friendly, fast, and professional. They don't take reservations, but the place is so fucking huge I don't think finding a table could be such a huge challenge. Hopefully they'll someday ditch the bizarre cans and jars that they use to serve the food. Until then, I declare Oddfellows Cafe to be a bunch of bastards. But in the best possible way.

Rating: 8 Odd Motherfuckers out of 10

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