If you take anything away from this review, it should be these three words: Funnel. Cake. Fries.
For reals. If you go to The Basement for no other reason than to order those, you won’t be disappointed. Unless, of course, you hate funnel cakes. And if that’s the case then you should just stop reading now, because I’m pretty sure there’s no reason we could ever agree on anything.
So full disclosure, we were a bit nervous to venture into this part of town again, as our last outing to Waterloo Road wasn’t exactly a shining star. We actually drove past that restaurant on our way to The Basement, and noted that there were no cars in the parking lot. Zero. Like we actually wondered if the place was even still open.
It is, BTW. So at least we don’t have another Gus’s Chalet on our hands. Whew.
Conversely, the parking lot for The Basement was packed. Well, OK, it’s about the size of my living room, so “packed” is really kind of a relative term … and we didn’t notice the auxiliary lot across the side street until we were leaving later (color us observant, I know), so we all kind of did a little happy dance when we saw a car leaving and were able to snag what we thought was the last spot available. Good thing we didn’t consider ourselves super lucky and go throw money away on lotto tickets, I guess.
The place was much bigger on the inside than it appeared to be from the front. Seems to be a trend with us lately. I’m not sure what that says about us exactly, other than maybe go get our depth perception checked? Hmmm.
Anyway, we grabbed a booth in the bar area, and it didn’t take long at all for a server to greet us. It appears that the group is back on an all beer kick: Summer Shandys for all of us except Ted, who of course had to abide by the “one of us has to be different” rule, and went with a Rebel IPA. Welcome to summer.
Although, word of warning, the glass sizes can be tricky. At the end of the night Amanda and I decided to downsize to smaller beers (thank you, full stomach) … but when the server brought them over the glasses really weren’t that much different in size from what we were already drinking. In fact, when I poured my new beer into my old glass, it still nearly filled it up – despite a supposed 24 – t0 – 16 – oz ratio. Just something to keep in mind. Numbers are hard.
For appetizers, we ordered the pretzel bites, and the aforementioned funnel cake fries. The pretzel bites were good, although I have to admit I don’t really remember them that well because the funnel cake fries truly pushed them off the stage and stole the show. It really wasn’t even a fair fight.
So the lesson here is that if you’re going to order these – and you damn well should – just don’t order any other appetizer at the same time. Because it’s just not a fair comparison. I mean, that other app is just going to feel bad that no one is fighting over the last one (or, really, even the first one) in the basket once they taste those fries. Ted called them “brilliant.” That’s pretty high praise, my friends.
Not to mention that considering our luck with lackluster meals following up exemplary (*ahem* excuse me, “brilliant”) appetizers such as this – it’s no surprise that we all honestly thought about cancelling our dinners and just ordering about 18 more orders of the funnel cake fries. With caramel sauce.
Yes, I know that’s not healthy. Because clearly we’re the poster children for clean eating.
So anyway, despite the fries being a tough act to follow – I’m happy to report that the streak is broken … for once the stars aligned, and all four of us were actually very satisfied with our meals this time around. Hallelujah!
I got the turkey club melt, and opted for a side of chips with the spicy dry rub wing sauce on them (at the suggestion of the waitress, who said they were like a spicy BBQ chip). I was not disappointed. The chips definitely lived up to their advertisement as spicy, but in a good way. And my sandwich was on a thick sliced Italian bread, so you know right away I’m in carb heaven. Delish.
Our server had noted that the Phillies were one of the things that the place is known for, and they have a good number of options on the menu. Amanda went with the Classic one, which she said was very good, with lots of cheese (sorry Ted) and real steak, not steak ums. She also got a side of the non-spicy-dry-rubbed chips. She said the one thing that was missing was a dip for the chips. While the side of ranch dressing was OK, she really thought (and I agree) that they could’ve been much better served with a french onion dip like some of the other places we’ve been to. I mean, maybe they could take a cue from The Lockview and just bring us a plastic container of dip from the convenience mart down the street? (stop laughing – that was pre-blog, but a true story nonetheless)
(Hey – did I mention the funnel cake fries? I feel like a few minutes have gone by without me doing so. I just wanted to throw those in there again for good measure.)
In other news, Shane is back on a wing kick lately, following a successful eat-off competition with one of his co-workers a few weeks ago. Now I don’t know about you, but eating 31 wings in one sitting would probably sour me from eating them, well, ever again … but for Shane it’s only seemed to fuel the fire. So it was really no surprise when he half-jokingly said he should go big and get the 50-piece order at The Basement.
Amanda: You know if you do that, you can only still get two sauce flavors, right?
Ted: Yes, because Shane is the captain of variety.
He ended up with almost half that amount – 24 – and then I think just to spite us and our snarky comments, did split it into two different flavors (garlic butter and sweet heat dry rub), even though it meant having to pay for two separate orders of 12 in order to do so. In all honesty I think it was only about $1.00 more than ordering a straight basket of 24. Slow down, big spender.
Ted also got the sweet heat dry rub wings – but only a six pack, as he also got a meatball Philly as well. Because, why not?
I think if you look up the word “overindulgence” in the dictionary there is just a picture of the four of us out on a random Wednesday.
In any case, the boys loved the sweet heat wings. They both said they ranked up there at the top of the list for them – and as you know, they’re both pretty well schooled in the art of wing eating, so that’s some pretty high praise. Shane said his garlic butter wings were OK – but, much like the poor pretzel bites, were upstaged by the better option on the table.
As for the meatball Philly, Ted said it was good, but – and take this with a grain of salt – it had too much cheese. Hmm, where have we heard this before? Surprise, Ted, most of the known universe enjoys a meatball sub (or, stromboli, or pizza, or, really, any Italian food) slathered in melted cheese. Shocking, I know.
Really, he’s not human.
I wonder what would’ve happened if we had put cheese on the funnel cake fries? No, strike that, even I’m grossed out by that. Ick.
Overall, The Basement was a fun place, and actually earned the elusive TWO thumbs up from the entire group. The service was good, there were lots of TVs with various sporting events on to keep our attention, the music was good – I mean, anyplace where we can end the night in a debate over the lyrics to Ice Ice Baby is good in my book. (Right?) The only thing I found annoying was the lighting. Did you notice at all how most pictures in this post are tinted either red, green or blue? Apparently there was a sale somewhere on mini tri-colored strobe light strips, because they’ve bought about 100 of them, and adhered them to the ceiling all the way around the perimeter of the restaurant. And before you think I’m just being picky … trust me, it’s more than a bit unnerving to eat your dinner while a mini-rave rages across the tabletop. Yeah. It’s 7:30 PM. Let’s save Dance Party USA for at least after the sun goes down.
Picked by: Amanda
Drinks: The beer was cold, and the selection was probably decent, although once again most of the table stopped listening after Summer Shandy. Sorry.
Food: If you don’t know yet what item off the menu you need to be ordering, you clearly need to pay better attention.
Service: Good. We sat in the bar area but it seemed like everyone around the large dining area was well taken care of, and our server was very personable.
Overall: I think we’ll be back. If nothing else for the funnel cake fries alone.
Next Pick: Ted