...we just didn't have a good experience here. Out of so many dining options in the lower mainland, we chose Kelsey's this particular evening because 1) I thought (correctly) they would have the hockey game on in their bar, 2) we'd never been to a Kelsey's and wanted to give one a try - largely because I thought it looked a bit like a Moxie's, where I've had good eats before, 3) it was one of the restaurants available to us on the gift card my employers gave me for Christmas.
And the outcome? Well, the hockey game was good...but that was about all. We had a brief stint in the bar waiting for a table. The bartender - a young lad - was friendly but didn't know his wines despite the incredibly short wine list he had to work with. Pretty inexcusable but he laughed about it and had us laughing along with him. That alone wouldn't be any kind of biggy - and seriously: if you're a wine snob what the heck are you doing in a Kelsey's anyway, right? So, the waitress comes to fetch us and off we go to our table.
What greets us when we get there? Litter all over the floor in that section. And when I say litter, I mean french fries, candy wrappers, bit of other food and garbage. It was pretty appalling even by the standards of an inner-city McDonalds. We asked to be moved and promptly were - to the adjoining section where we still had the garbage from the previous section in plain view :-(. I should note here that the garbage remained in situ during our entire stay. When do they clean this place?
We would have (should have) walked out at this point, but it was already getting late, we were both starving, and the hockey game was still on. Besides, we told ourselves, the ultimate proof in in the food.
We started with an appetizer of the Blue Cheese Kettle Chips. It arrived hot and was ample for two people. The chips themselves weren't the dry, thick kettle chips you'd buy in the snack food section at a grocery store, but rather fresh scalloped potato chips that had been deep fried on premise. There was ample cheese to go with them, but I'm pretty sure the "Blue Cheese" dressing - which the title of the appetizer would lead you to believe was the star of this nosh - was just bottled salad dressing. Disappointing, but on the whole the appy was okay.
I followed with the Chicken Sonoma Valley Salad as my entree. It sounded great on the menu - "Mixed greens topped with seasoned grilled chicken, red peppers, grape tomatoes, crumbled Feta cheese, croutons, raisins, mixed seeds and nuts. Served with our spicy honey citrus dressing." What arrived did indeed contain most of those ingredients, but unless iceberg lettuce comes in more than one variety, it was the sole constituent of the "mixed greens", the feta cheese was conspicuous by its near total absence, and the chicken was under-seasoned and overcooked.
My partner ordered the Balsamic Chicken with Yukon Gold mashed potatoes and seasonal vegetables. After a long wait it arrived mostly cold and very dry, as though the kitchen had started off with the original dish in mind but decided on pemmican at the last minute, almost like something a survivalist would expect to reconstitute with water from his/her BHP-free water bottle while out on a weekend Walden fantasy.
We sent it back.
The manager came out and was quasi-apologetic, blaming the food and the dirt on how busy they were. And indeed they were busy - the place was nearly full when we arrived. I'm not sure if this is more a reflection on the scarcity of dining options in Steveston, or on the already low level of expectations of those who frequent Kelsey's. The staff seemed very young, and not particularly well-trained or managed. In fairness our waitress was very earnest and genuinely seemed concerned about our poor dining experience. The food certainly wasn't her fault.
Maybe we did just catch Kelsey's on an off-night. But still...to get it so wrong on so many levels? For the same money, one can dine much better elsewhere. At least the hockey game was good!