A lot of our restaurant choices are determined by what’s in the Entertainment book or the Prestige Dining Club book – we get both every year, and usually make up the cost of it in just a couple of outings. One of the restaurants in this year’s Prestige Book was Wendell’s – however, the discount was only valid at the Lane Avenue location and not the Westerville one.
We took a look at both menus, and our original plan was to go to the Westerville location despite the lack of discount, because they offer a brunch menu on the weekends that looks tasty. We figured that it would be an easy jaunt across town after hitting the North Market in the morning, and our expectations of the meal were reasonable, given the low prices, we figured we couldn’t go wrong.
After a very difficult time finding the place (it’s tucked away in the rear of one of the strip malls by the Meijer at the corner of Polaris Parkway and OH-3), we got settled in and after looking at the menu again, decided to go with sandwiches instead of brunch. We should have stuck with brunch.
It’s not that the food is bad, per se – it’s just relatively uninspired. It’s the same pub grub that you can get at any pub in town; the food is prepared competently and is definitely edible, but nothing stood out as especially good. And with a check totalling almost $50 for the pair of us, we could have done much better as far as quality and quantity of food elsewhere.
We started with two appetizers. The first, an order of Macaroni Cheese Balls ($6.95), was a good combination of hot gooey interior, crunchy fried exterior, and a good marinara that made an otherwise bland dish distinct.
The other appetizer, and order of Crab Cakes ($9.95), had good flavor but were mostly filler. The whole grain mustard sauce was delicious and a good pairing with the seasoning of the crab cake, but I wish they would have put it on the side to allow each person to add as little as much as they need individually. I could have saved a ton of calories (and the flavor wouldn’t have changed dramatically) if I had half as much sauce on there. Overall, though – this appetizer is definitely overpriced. At this price point, I expect a little more crab in my crab cakes. Perhaps I’m just spoiled by my recent experiences in New Jersey.
Since we were both going with sandwiches, we decided to each get an order of soup as well.
I went with the Chili ($3.75 for a cup), which I was very disappointed with. The spice balance was off, and the taste was comparable to what you get at Giant Eagle or on the buffet at Golden Corral. It was very soupy, and light on meat, beans, or any bulk – I needed to add oyster crackers (something I usually forego) to make it edible. The included cheese and onions were very stingy, I could barely find a trace of either.
My husband went with the Steak Stew in a Bread Bowl ($6.95), which for all intents and purposes, reminded both of us of Chunky Soup. The reason my husband gets soup in a bread bowl is so that it will moisten from the soup and add texture to the soup – this bread never moistened, and ended up being inedible and a waste of the additional dollar to upgrade from a regular bowl.
For my sandwich, I chose my standby, and got the Wendell’s Reuben ($7.95). I asked them to substitute cole slaw for sauerkraut, which they ended up serving on the side. As far as reubens go, it was decent – comparable to what I get at other bars/pubs around town. At least they grilled it rather than toasted it, which is what most places around here do with a “grilled” sandwich.
My husband chose one of his guilty pleasures, the Bermuda Bologna ($6.95), expecting it to be fried. This one was really strange, because it wasn’t hot, and it wasn’t cold. These types of bologna sandwiches are only good if the bologna is fried enough for it to be crispy on the outside. This ended up just being a warm bologna sandwich, which we both agreed was kind of gross. It was much better later on in the evening, once it was fully cold. The fries served with both sandwiches were straight from a bag of frozen, and were fairly bland.
Overall, we were bored with the food here. This would be an ideal place for those with “beige” food tastes, but if you’re looking for somewhere that will awaken your taste buds, look elsewhere.
If you’d like to go: Wendell’s, 925 N. State St, Westerville, 614.818.0400.