Tuesday, November 15, 2011

Elbow Room

Last Saturday evening, SP and I met up with his family for a 'birthday dinner.' This time, we were very belatedly celebrating ZH's birthday as well as celebrating my recent birthday. ZH and I chose Elbow Room for our birthday dinner.

I had never been to Elbow Room. It's on Walnut Street in Shadyside in the former Max & Erma's space. It describes itself as a casual, local, neighborhood tavern serving an eclectic American menu.  Inside is pretty spacious, with lots of room between tables. We were seated off to the left next to the windows in an area that seemed a bit removed from the larger, main dining area and that was on the opposite side from the bar area. I don't really remember much of the interior - I guess my recollection, or impression, is just that it was a pretty standard tavern type interior with wood tables and chairs.

There are beers and wine and cocktails, but everyone ordered iced tea, hot tea, or soda. The iced tea was fresh brewed and it was pretty good fresh brewed iced tea.

SP started with a cup of one of the soups of the day (there were 2 soups of the day). Chicken & Vegetable Soup:
He said it was tasty. I'm not sure he's ever had a soup he didn't enjoy! It looked to be carrots, celery, onions, and chicken in chicken broth with some parsley.

I wanted to try the Asparagus, Prosciutto, and Mozzarella appetizer. "Tender asparagus and fresh buffalo mozzarella, wrapped in prosciutto ham and seared to perfection, served warm."
This was good. Nothing extraordinary about it, but good. Each bundle had 4 asparagus spears. SP and I split this appetizer, and one bundle was plenty for me.

I wasn't going to eat any of the rolls our server brought, but I ended up using one to mop up the balsamic on the appetizer plate! It was a standard roll, served slightly warm.
For his main meal, SP decided to try The Yukon – wild salmon fillet, tomatoes, bacon and lettuce on Indian harvest bread with Dijon mustard-mayo.
He said it was quite tasty. As usual, he ended up not eating all the bread of the sandwich, but that's because of watching his carbs and not being much of a bread person. He chose sweet potato fries for his side. They were tasty fries - I munched on a few of them!

Elbow Room offers several kinds of burgers, and in addition to a beef burger, they offer chicken breast, turkey burger, salmon burger, or veggie burger. The burgers are served with your choice of hand-cut fries, coleslaw, or you can substitute sweet potato fries or onion rings for an additional $1.50.

SP's dad and I ended up ordering the same burger: The Johnny Apple Burger
brie, apple wood smoked bacon and green apples. We both chose a chicken breast.
I decided to order the onion rings for the additional charge:
It was a good sandwich. I found myself wishing for maybe another apple slice and maybe some more cheese, but then again, I like a lot of cheese!

Z and ZH ordered the same burger: The Norman Rockwell Burger – a burger with bacon, egg and American cheese:
Z ordered the regular fries; ZH ordered sweet potato fries. The sandwich was enormous. I could never have taken a bite out of it - I would have had to take a bite from the top half, then the bottom half!

I didn't take any photos, but SP's mom ordered Crab and Asparagus Salad – jumbo lump crab meat, grilled asparagus, and julienned red peppers, on a bed of mixed greens with lemon red pepper dressing. She really liked it and ate the entire salad.

Googer opted for Grilled Chicken and Eggplant Salad – blackened chicken, grilled eggplant, red onions, olives, cucumbers, roasted red peppers and tomatoes, topped with feta. He said it was tasty.

Our server was very friendly and efficient. There was a point when a couple people drinking diet soda said it didn't taste like diet, and she apologized and brought new diet sodas for them. She brought lots of hot water for hot tea and sweetener for SP's mom (she uses like 4 packets per cup of hot beverage).

I liked Elbow Room. I didn't love Elbow Room. The sandwiches are good, and there are a lot of sandwich choices, plus if you're looking for a less expensive meal out, this is a good place. But I found myself thinking it was all good, all acceptable, but not anything special or extraordinary. I'm not sure we would drive out to Elbow Room unless we were meeting up with people at Elbow Room for dinner.

However - I wonder how much of my meal enjoyment, or slight lack of enjoyment, was because of the early dinner hour. I realize that SP and I eat dinner very late for most people (we eat between 7 & 7:30 pm) but meeting at 4:30~4:45 pm and being done with the main meal by 5:30 pm (I checked my watch)... well, it's just too early for me. Family dinners have to be at 4:30 pm as decreed by SP's mother, who claims that because of her type 1 diabetes, she cannot wait any later to eat (of course, she also skips lunch, and one could argue that she should eat a little something for lunch which would then enable her to have dinner a bit later). She's not the only family member with type 1 diabetes who is concerned about keeping their blood sugar level within a certain range. SP also has type 1 diabetes as does another family member. Eating 2-3 hours earlier than normal throws his sugar level off, and we've mentioned that it affects him, but that doesn't seem to matter.

Also, I always feel like some senior citizen out for the early bird special when we have 4:30 pm family dinners.

Anyway, since I had to have dinner so early, I ate only a quarter of my sandwich and I had to take the rest home. I feel like I didn't really have a chance to enjoy my meal. I suppose I should have skipped the appetizer, but one of the things we like to do when we eat out is try several things on the menu, especially when it's a place we don't know how soon we'll get back to again. Half the appetizer, half a roll, some onion rings, a few fries, and barely a quarter of a sandwich had me stuffed. I couldn't even contemplate dessert, which seemed to surprise Googer.

It could also be that I didn't enjoy my meal all that much because I've not been feeling all that great the past week. I'm not sick, but I am having a lot of allergy/sinus issues and for most of Saturday I had a pounding sinus headache.

I ended up eating the rest of my sandwich around 8:30 pm Saturday night.

Whatever the case, my one dining experience at Elbow Room leaves me thinking it's good, pleasant, dependable, and I'd go back.
Elbow Room on Urbanspoon

1 comment:

  1. I come from a family of people that eat pretty late - and my boyfriend and I do the same! It's a combination of work schedules and general preference. Also, I was also underwhelmed by the Elbow Room. I remember really liking the Ellsworth St location when I first moved to Shadyside - perhaps my tastes have changed. It's a decent place but nothing to travel for.