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All views, opinions and conclusions are solely those of the author and do not imply endorsement or recommendation by any other party.

Monday, June 4, 2007

Restaurant Review: Avenue Grill

NoPeanutsPlease Restaurant Reviews will assess a restaurant's level of allergy awareness based on three categories: Menu, Server Reaction, Attention To Detail. I will then provide an overall rating of Peanut (allergy risk) or NoPeanuts (allergy friendly). Where possible I will foward the URL of the post to the reviewee to give them the chance to reply.

For those with food allergies every restaurant poses a risk. The point of this series is to outline where restaurants can improve and highlight restaurateurs who are astute when it comes to serving food allergic patrons. Even if you do not live in Vancouver these reviews should be helpful in terms of showing you what we look for.

Reviewee
The Avenue Grill on 41st Avenue in Vancouver, BC.

Menu
The Avenue Grill has a fairly broad lunch menu but it stays true to its bistro-meets-diner ambiance by offering up a page of egg dishes and a variety of burgers and sandwiches that all seem to include mayo. For those with egg allergies this menu is an issue. Though you could order your sandwich without mayo, the large volume of eggs going through the kitchen heightens the risk of cross-contamination. We ended up choosing a fruit salad and cottage cheese for our daughter.

Server
In my opinion, when it comes to managing an allergy the most important person in the restaurant is the server. The cook plays a central role but the server is the one who walks a food allergic patron through the menu and makes the cook aware of the allergy. I prefer to see a server who is receptive, attentive and sincere while helping us select safe food items. In this case, when we told our server that our daughter had a severe peanut and egg allergy we were met with a blank stare. I suspect she was either indifferent or slightly overwhelmed. It is critical to watch for this first reaction as a parent.

Attention To Detail
We made it fairly easy for our server by ordering a fruit salad for our daughter. We did forget to ask for no mayo on my wife's sandwich and my burger. Though we should have caught this ourselves, it would have been impressive if she noticed that mayo would pose a risk to our egg allergic dining mate.

Peanut vs NoPeanuts?
Unfortunately my inaugural review presents a great example of why I decided to add this feature to the blog. The Avenue Grill would be a suitable place to eat for many but for the food allergic, (and especially those with egg allergy), it should probably be avoided. The lunch menu offers up only soup and salad as items that are egg free and though you could ask them to hold the mayo on sandwiches, with so many eggs going across the grill the risk of cross-contamination is high. In addition, our observations did nothing to convince us that the restaurant takes care to clean surfaces fully and avoid cross-contamination in the kitchen. Though our daughter did not come into direct contact with eggs, by the time we left she had well over two dozen hives on her arms and face. This was not a good experience.

Overall Rating: Peanut

General Comments:
Though this feature is focused on the allergy awareness of a restaurant, I figure that readers would also like to know what our overall impressions were. An institution for decades, the Avenue Grill was high on the list of neighbourhood restaurants that I wanted to try. Unfortunately the inattentive service and fairly bland meal did nothing to make me want to return. There are better options for lunch in Kerrisdale, egg allergy aside.

1 comment:

Allergic Girl said...

nice review and break down of elements within a restaurant experience. sorry to hear your little one still left with hives though, horribly unpleasant.