Monday, July 19, 2010

Moxie's Classic Grill

No. 54

<2010-07-19 Mon> Dreaded Monday. If you have read my reviews before or eat out a lot, you know that Mondays are usually a day in which restaurants close. To top it all, I must be at work at 13:00. This reduces the areas of Victoria where I can venture for lunch.

I decided to give Moxie's a try. I tend to avoid restaurants that like cloning themselves. I know why they exist: they help the customer balance the information asymmetry between the customer and the restaurant: if we have visited one of the branches, we know (more/less) what to expect when we enter another one. Uniformity is the name of the game.

I have never visited another Moxie's. I think I have been in this one twice before; in one occasion I had an above average lunch, and in another a below average one.

Moxie's prides for having 44 branches across North America and a Web site soo generic that you can't find the opening hours of its Victoria one.

The restaurant is very large and its main floor has high ceilings. This makes it feel bigger, and it makes it a very welcoming space. Its tables and chairs are comfortable, and you get a servillette.

The lunch menu is primarily burgers, but they offer some lunch specials for the "season". It is clear that this is a corporate restaurant: they specials are printed in colourful plasticised pamphlets.

I opted for the cod tacos with a salad.

The tacos came in a "taco holder". A first for me. I thought for a second that I had crispy tacos (which I consider an aberration), thankfully I was mistaken. It is great for presentation, but to put salsa in them one needs to open them. So I removed them from the holder and placed on the plate. I realized the holder makes them look bigger than they are. The tacos were filled backwards: the main filling at the top, then the vegetables at the bottom; the reason they do it backwards is for presentation: they want to show the few pieces of fish first.

As you can see from the photo, each taco has two or three small pieces of deep fried fish and some vegetables (lettuce, red pepper). They were ok, but didn't have much flavour (the fish tasted like it had been frozen for some time); the guacamole (that green layer on the tortilla) felt like that spread sold in the supermarkets (what I call "artificial" guacamole, and did not feel or taste fresh, but it had a good lime flavour that worked with the salsa and the fish. The salsa was very good and it added flavour to them. Unfortunately some of the tortillas where cold to the touch. I am not talking tepid. They were cold to the touch as if they had just been taken from the fridge. Why? I don't know, because they had grill marks on them, the plate was warm, the taco holder was warm--warm plates is a sign of good service). Overall the tacos got a thumbs down.

The salad, on the other hand, was the star. It contain cranberries, feta and a good dressing. I craved for more.

The service on the other hand, was impeccable. I was asked how the food was, and I was sincere: one of the tortilla was cold as if taken from the fridge, which I didn't understand because it had grilled marks. I added I was ok with it, but that the kitchen should be informed. She guaranteed me she would do it. Minutes later the manager approached my table to ask me about my dissatisfaction with the food, which I stated.

The lesson? Moxie's cares about customer service, and seems to have good procedures in place to address it. I felt very satisfied with the way the restaurant handled my complaint, because I felt that it had not fallen in deaf ears (at least at that moment).

In a way, Moxie's is a contradiction: excellent service (both in terms of place, table, cutlery, servers, and management), but food that sometimes feels prefabricated and below expectations (particularly when I consider the type of restaurant it wants to position itself).

Verdict: Neutral

Paid: 14.56 + tax

For more information, including address, visit:
Moxie's Classic Grill on Urbanspoon

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