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Friday, April 01, 2005
  Welcome to the First Edition of "Friday Night Anrky"

I should have started this about 9 years ago when I first started going out every Friday night with friends, I've been to some really interesting places and some silly things I wish I would have recorded, not to mention actually remembering some of the better places we've eaten at.

I plan to do 2 posts every week, 1 on our Friday nights' food and/or entertainment, and the 2nd on my CD pick of the week. I'll also include a few posts here or there on any other concerts or productions I may happen to run across.

I originally helped the start this little tradition of getting together at the end of every week when I got my own car. I've always lived in the western 'burbs of Toronto and all the good friends I've made have been in the city. For a good year and a half in there I had no transportation and never got to see them much in person. I picked up my shiny new 1996 Mazda MX-3 Precidia on a Friday afternoon in April of 1996 and quickly wanted to pick up some friends and hang out a bit, catch up and of course show off the new car. This quickly caught on as a weekly occurrence. We’ve eaten at all types or restaurants, seen all kinds of movies or shows and drove countless 1000’s of kilometers almost every Friday night since then.

Times have changed things somewhat, I drive a different car, we have all have seen each others’ relationships come and go (and some come again) and seen some friends fall in or out. But it doesn't matter if it's a small group or a big crowd I can't wait for the week to end so I can share, eat, laugh and catch up with my friends.

On to tonight...


Joe Maggiano's


Address: 2450 Sheppard Ave. E, Toronto, Ontario
Phone: (416) 49-STEAK
Web: www.joessteakanditalian.ca
Type: Italian steakhouse(duh!)

This is the second time I've eaten at this particular place, it looks like a chain but it doesn't appear to be yet. The look sort of reminds you of "East Side Mario's" but in my opinion pulls it off with much better taste. It's a family friendly environment and the bar is compleatly closed off to the rest of the restaurant. They have a very decent sized menus with a good variety and a large daily special list. The 3 main areas the menu focuses on are Steak, Seafood and Pasta. They also have a smattering of other areas covered so it's a great place to take a bunch of people, there is sure to be something on the menu for everyone.


Food:
Tonight I had one of the specials, a "Certified Angus Beef" flat iron sirloin steak in a Madagascar Green Peppercorns, Mushroom & Brandy Sauce, served with Sautéed Vegetables & Herb Roasted Potatoes. I was a delight, I really like peppercorn sauces and this one was a cut above the standard ones you see on most regular menus out there. I had a small issue with the spiciness of it, but not because it was bad, just unprepared (I'll get to the rest of that later). I have a few dietary restrictions that play a large factor in my ordering so I really dislike some surprises like that, it can make for a very un-pleasant evening afterwards for me and my friends. They do also have a decent sized desert menu with one glaring omission, they have nothing in the "milk free" category. They have a great selection of banana splits' to Crème Brûlée and such, but nothing like a sorbet. It seems like almost every other steakhouse out there has it on the list but this one.

Service:
I am hard critic of this area especially. I spent over 3 years working in restaurants and I'm a pretty good judge of where the faults lie. Our waitress was absolutely terrible. She was slow and un-observant. When she finally served main course (about 5-10 later than it should). She had not noticed my drink was empty and inquire if I needed another. I didn't notice myself, until I started into my steak and quickly realized I need to refreshment because of the un-expected spiciness. She was within view and had no problem flagging her down, except she did not realized the priority of my request at all, it took at least 5 minutes for a refill to arrive, but it you have a burning mouth 5 minutes is a LONG time. 90% of fault here lies on the server and only 10% of it the restaurant itself, most managers should know to keep a close on a very green server to the business a little longer than ones just new to the restaurant.

Value:
The price of the meal is pretty average to the scale, entrees' are from $13 and up, all depending on how big of a steak you want or how nice the fish of the day is. The portions are decent, not huge but not too small. The real stand out item about this place is the taste, it is really something exceptional compared to all the other chains in and around this category.
 
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