Review: Kelsey's Restaurant- gluten free selections??

Monday, June 27, 2011

Well, this might sting a little. Oh Kelsey's....Kelsey's, Kelsey's, Kelsey's... You are stuck in the 80s, my friends.

Folks, meet Kelsey's- of "Cara foods" fame.

This is one of a handful of "family-style" restaurants in my suburb. I could rhyme off several others that fit the exact same bill: this place is not- I repeat NOT- fit for the gluten intolerant, and especially not the gluten and dairy intolerant. This is the place you go when someone (your very supportive and gorgeous husband) begs you not to go to that weirdy niche restaurant where only the hairy-legged yuppie crew go, because he wants something deep fried and pub-style. So you sigh, and despite wishing you had the number for rent-a-wife, agree to go. However, you know full well you'll have one option: grilled salmon, with a side of plain baked potato or salad with all the fun stuff in it expunged.

So once again, we went. What did we find? After my lengthy consult with their "allergy menu" (which was a photocopy printed in about 6pt font) I determined that- you guessed it- I could eat salads I pared down to greens and one of a small handful of dressing options, plain baked potato and grilled fish. Surprise of all surprises, I had two options: halibut and salmon. I did what any girl who ALWAYS has the salmon would do: I got the halibut. Here is the description:

Pan-Seared Haddock
Three haddock loins simmered with garlic, grape tomatoes, white wine, lemon and parsley. Served with braised onion rice and steamed vegetables. 15.99 

After a lengthy wait, and an awesome server who apologized profusely, our food was delivered. I really could go ON and ON, but here's the Readers' Digest version:

  • the rice was completely without flavour, and so dry I could have used it in a pea shooter or slingshot;
  • the beans were similarly tasteless and so barely cooked they squeaked in my teeth; and 
  • the halibut had the consistency of hockey pucks (how very Canadian, eh?).  

The wonderful server came by to check on us and I just couldn't help myself. When he asked me how it was I blurted out "Do people actually LIKE this??"  He laughed a bit, admitted to not eating seafood himself but claimed that they did sell a "fair amount". I was awestruck. He desperately tried to find a way to make amends but as there was not much else he could offer me (and frankly I was getting full after eating the 3 grape tomatoes which actually were good, and all the squeaky beans) we settled on the salmon fillet that I would eat once I had finished said squeaky beans. Props on one thing: Kelsey's can grill a mean salmon fillet. I will give them that. And because it was really that bad, we only paid for our kid's meal and drinks.

So here's my summary: if you want a grilled salmon fillet with squeaky beans and your choice of greens-only salad or dry baked potatoes, hit Kelsey's. Otherwise, go somewhere, anywhere, else. 

Oh, and back to my 80s comment above: this restaurant is one of those where almost every dish is wheat-based. You're getting a sandwich, pasta, burger, pizza or something breaded and deep-fried. Remember that 1980s version of the food pyramid that said we should all bone up on our grains? The one founded off the study with faulty methodology that claimed fat was bad for you and carbs were good? Oh come on now, you know the one I mean: the one that greatly contributed to the obesity epidemic in North America? Yeah. That one. Well, this menu is built on that philosophy: lots of cheap grains to fill folks up, then ship 'em out before their blood sugar plummets and they're hungry again in 25 minutes.

Just eat real food. Okay. I'm done now.


Sea said...

I don't live in Canada so I've not heard of Kelsey's, but your review made me laugh, and then smile. I know those types of places well. Sorry about the terrible fish. I'm glad they got it right with the salmon, at any rate. It is hard to mess up a salmon. ;)


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