Eats, chews and leaves: Leather couches and lacklustre choices

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In elementary school, I attended a popular girl’s birthday party during summer break. Schoolyard gossip placed the girl in high regard, and I was sure the party would not disappoint.

I was wrong.

Despite the summer heat, we spent much of the party inside her house, sitting on oversized black leather couches. My legs melted, adhering to the inky seat.

Since then, I’ve hated black leather couches. I sat on another last week at dinner, and my opinion hasn’t changed.

As at that childhood party, I did not expect The Office Restaurant and Lounge to disappoint.

Unfortunately, it did.

Despite The Office’s prominent location on Yates Street, I had yet to dine there. A Groupon promising dinner and a movie for $14 per person finally pushed me to schedule a visit.

Our table was a low ottoman, which forced everyone to hold their plates in their laps (no easy feat), or bend awkwardly low to eat. The couches were comfortable (I have a feeling they would be great for a make-out session), but I longed for a proper table and chairs.

If you decide to visit for the dinner-and-movie special ($27 per person without coupon), the menu is extremely limited. Our choices for an appetizer were caesar salad or pita with tzatziki dip. The salad leaves were torn, decidedly unfresh and vastly underdressed.

I found the restaurant extremely hot, and given our recent cool weather, I shudder to imagine what the thermostat would read on a real summer day. The décor consists of dark wood, dim lighting and heaps of black leather furniture — in other words, a man cave.

For the main course, our choices were either a Mediterranean linguini or crispy-skin salmon. Seventy-five per cent of our table picked salmon, and 75 per cent of our table was satisfied with its choice. The pasta portion was tiny and didn’t even come close to filling my male friend’s belly.

Served with tomato confit, green beans and fingerling potatoes, the fish paired well with the earthy sides. I appreciated the confit technique: an item is completely submerged in a flavourful liquid for the entire cooking and preserving process; as my aversion to tomatoes didn’t surface during the meal.

Dessert is a one-way road: apple crumble. My friend summed up the dish by saying, “I wasn’t looking forward to it because I don’t like apples, but thankfully it was mostly just crumble.”

The fine print on the Groupon reminds users to tip servers as if paying full price, which is a fine idea if service is satisfactory. Our server, however, ignored our table repeatedly during the meal, and her slow service had us dashing across Yates seconds before our movie began.

The movie made up for dinner (go see Moonrise Kingdom; it’s amazing). Still, I felt bad for fellow diners who didn’t have a Groupon. The meal isn’t worth full price, and Wes Anderson can only fix so much.

The Office Restaurant and Lounge

Two out of five stars

759 Yates St.

M–F 11 a.m. ’til late; Sa–S 4 p.m. ’til late

Phone: 250-590-5253 (reservations recommended)

Twitter: @theofficelounge

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