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18 May 2007

Review: Purple Onion Steakhouse

To a lot of Edmontonians, the name "Purple Onion" brings to mind mullets, dollar drinks (power hour), terrible music, and wicked hangovers. Maybe it was these associations that prevented me from visiting the Purple Onion Steakhouse at its previous location at Keele and St. Clair. However, when I peeked inside its brand new digs in my neighborhood a few weeks ago and saw a distinct lack of leather pants and plastic tumblers, I decided to give it a try.

Dave and I headed down to the Purple Onion (2998 Dundas Street W) for a Saturday brunch soon after the new location's grand opening. The place was packed -- it seemed as if the entire Junction wanted to check out the newest addition to the neighborhood. While the Onion serves up diner fare, its decor is decidedly not dinery. It's actually rather modern-looking, with framed art on the walls instead of retro signs, and an ornate light fixture. It was not at all what I expected -- I found it quite cold and in sharp contrast to the comfort food on the menu.

Speaking of the menu, it includes a number of breakfast/brunch options, several steaks and different types of sandwiches, as well as a few other entrees (including one fish dish). Everything is very reasonably priced. Since Dave and I were there for brunch, I settled on an omelette with feta, tomato, and onion. Dave ordered eggs and chopped steak. We settled in for what turned out to be a lengthy wait.

Luckily, it wasn't nearly as lengthy as that of the couple at the next table. They had already been seated when we arrived, and we ended up receiving our food before them. Eventually, they simply walked out. Another table nearby also got into an argument with their waitress, who would not let them switch to another free table. They also walked out. Granted, this was the first weekend that the new location had been open -- hopefully they have worked out some of the kinks by now. Regardless, my single greatest complaint about the Purple Onion would definitely be the service.

We dug in as soon as our food arrived, and I was thrilled to find that the tomatoes and onions in my omelette had been grilled -- this added a fantastic charred flavour to my eggs, and also made the tomatoes extra-juicy. The potatoes on the side were savoury and nicely crunchy on the edges, if a little greasy. My meal also came with some pretty standard toast. I was very impressed with my brunch, and despite its tastiness I couldn't finish the huge portion. Dave was similarly impressed with his steak and eggs, although he also found them a little greasy.

All-in-all, I'm ecstatic that the Junction now has a diner for hangover-curing weekend breakfasts, despite its less-than-welcoming atmosphere. We'll have to go back to try the dinner menu, but in the meantime I hope the service drastically improves. After all, I already have a Purple Onion to go to if I want to experience surly waitresses -- and the drinks there only cost a dollar.

6 sheriff stars out of 10



Blogger Nicole said...

Gary and I checked out the Purple Onion about three weeks ago and it was not that busy but the service was still horrible.

We sat down and it took the waitress 10 minutes to stop by and ask us if wanted anything to drink. Ten minutes later she dropped off our coffees and water and then left. She did not take our order.

We finally flagged her down ordered our food and waited about 20 minutes for it to show up. At this point we were both irritated.

The food was decent, even though they were out of Eggs Benedict.

What really annoyed us was that we were not offered any coffee or water refills.

Once our meal was done we had to go up and request our bill at the register since the waitress ignored us when we were obviously finished eating.

We'll likely try it again but if the service is as bad as our first visit chances are the Purple Onion will only get two visits from us.

8:10 PM

Anonymous Aoife said...

Seems like a lot of sheriff stars for a mediocre experience. If the meal was kind of greasy and the service was horrible, shouldn't that end up with a lower score?

10:47 PM

Blogger Alana said...

The food wasn't ridiculously greasy (like I say above, just "a little greasy"). It's a diner, after all, and some greasiness is to be expected. Like I mentioned, my omelette was really tasty and Dave was impressed with is steak -- the service wasn't a deal-breaker for me. 6 stars out of 10 is only a 'C' -- there's a lot of room for improvement, but I will be giving the Purple Onion another try.

9:23 AM


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