I am partaking in a journey where I will appraise every non-franchise restaurant in town and review their food as well as their service. It is an attempt to expand my mind and appetite. Simultaneously, I will also be taking what I learn from these establishments and attempting to remake them with my extremely limited skill.
I’ve noticed a pattern of late akin to a shit Oreo where my reviews have been alternating between condemnation and praise. Too unpleasant an opening metaphor, perhaps using the odd/even Star Trek curse would be more apt. From First Litre Party Shack to Spicy Greens and now to Coach’s Corner, a sports pub in case you couldn’t discern it from the name, which would make you about as obtuse as a coat hanger*. At least Coach’s Corner isn’t gaudy. The TVs are plentiful but the cheap sports memorabilia and alcohol advertisements are not. About the only manifestations of recreational activity I could find are the stained-glass sports figures over the bar.
I guessed that Coach’s Corner was built ceiling to floor, running out of funds before reaching the floor. With neither tile nor linoleum, I found only unrefined concrete of such irregularity that not a single table looked even. When I attempted to move mine, being crammed too close to the corner, I discovered an annoying wobble since I had uprooted it from the folded cardboard coasters under its legs. At least the music wasn’t annoying, greeting me with Hungry Like the Wolf, surprisingly appropriate as long as you don’t think too deeply about that song’s true meaning.
But like all other pubs, Coach’s Corner isn’t permitted to stand apart from the expectations of a Canadian pub, with wooden chairs and laminated stain-proof tables, wooden walls, and TVs on absolutely every wall. It would be an interesting thing for a pub to be built more like a theater, where groups around tables watch from a massive communal projector. I guess that would blur the line between pub and lounge. Just saying it’s an idea. It’s coming to a point where I think no one opening a pub has any imagination. If you blindfolded me, drove to a random pub, except for the First Litre Party Shack (because of its lack of decor) and the College Heights pub post reno, I wouldn’t be able to identify where I was. With the exception of one Toshiba DLP not unlike the one in my home (mine’s bigger), most of these TVs are smaller than a HungryMan platter, another feature apparently part and parcel with pubs. It would then have to fall to the food to stand apart.
I was offered an express lunch menu, a single double-sided laminated sheet offering burgers, wraps, soups, and sandwiches. Appetizers were notable absent. I eventually ordered the most expensive dish, the beef dip tipping the scales at a shockingly reasonable $12, presented alongside your choice of soup, salad, or fries. I went for the soup as I’m still suffering from nightshade poisoning from the amount of potatoes ingested from the last pub I went to.
Coach’s Corner is bizarre in that it has an open kitchen in sight of its floor, only a few feet away from a bar which I swear takes up half the square footage of the entire establishment. It’s an unusual mix. When the food arrived, I had to quickly verify which was soup and which was beef dip, with one only slightly larger than the other. Not enough soup? Plenty, it was the beef dip which probably had an undertow. It was incredibly optimistic given the modest size of the sandwich. Pounding through the meal took only a few minutes. Still not a bad value for $12. The sandwich was properly toasted and the meat rightfully seasoned. Both the soup and the sandwich were good if perhaps a few broken rungs below spectacular. Coach’s Corner definitely took time making a decent meal. Nothing was nuked or lazily dropped on my plate. The sandwich was even connected by a skewer. There was literally nothing I could complain about it other than perhaps a need for a slightly larger sandwich. I had this feeling that if I had ordered a burger and fries, it would’ve been characteristically large enough to topple the table. Comparing that to the identically priced meal I had at Spicy Greens the week before, and you can begin to see my point.
I suppose the appropriate praise I could rain upon Coach’s Corner is that it’s fine. Just…fine. It’s not insulting; the food isn’t shit. Like Tony the Tiger after coming off a sertraline high; it’s not great, but it’s better than a pass. It breaks the pattern of the shit Oreo, forcing me to bring back the Star Trek comparison. It is an odd-number installment but not The Final Frontier or Insurrection. At worst it’s Generations, best at Search for Spock. What else can I say? I can’t find anything to really hate about Coach’s Corner, and I want to. It seems criticism spurns more creative metaphors. But when a place falls into the grey zone or neither good nor bad, I’m left befuddled.
Comparing it with other pubs, it’s better than Shooters, worse than CHP, and when rated on an average against its kin, well above the bar, but only because its kin commonly rate slightly higher than a private table at Abu Ghraib.
*Obtuse? Coat hanger? Triangle? GET IT?!