Pulcinella and Fatburger in Calgary
Just had lunch at these places over the last two days.
Fatburger was the destination of choice for my two nephews. In the midst of the monstrosity (or triumph) of Deerfoot Meadows, Fatburger seeks to conquer the rather bizarre food war going on in the area. The interior is remixed diner style. It has the same hollow ring to it that Krispy Kreme has - They want to look like Diner Deluxe, Lido Cafe, but they don't want to have to source out individual items.
The food itself is pretty much akin to Boogies Burgers. Onion rings were the only standout achievement, they are said to be made to order (I didn't see anyone slicing onions).
If forced to go to a burger place, I see little difference between Peters, Harveys, Boogies and now Fatburger. Maybe Harvey's doesn't belong on that list, but I doubt many could tell the difference blindfolded.
Pulcinella has beckoned since I saw the glowing Gilchrist review. That said I am not so overwhelmed by the use of products so exclusively from Italy (at least from a socio/political bent). The interior is much like Criterion (of Stephen Ave back in the day). Lots of white. The forno is tiled with a small mosiac tile which is quite nice. Bizarrely, like Muse, they have theatrical face masks hung here and there. Maybe it's a neighbourhood cure for "Bermuda Triangle" restaurant syndrome.
We ordered a couple of pizzas, the classic tomato and a prosciutto and mushroom. I was not suprised after having seen the photos that the pizza was quite wet in the middle. Even the folding trick doesn't save you after those crucial first moments have passed. The flavours were good italian classics and the prosc/mush pizza had a nice roasted piece of basil on it. The crust has great bounce and a wonderful ashen residue on the bottom. I think they depend on the parmesan to provide a bit of salt to the sauce, which wasn't quite enough in this case, and no s+p at the table. I believe that it's a fairly genuine representation of Naples pizza and I'm glad to have had it.
Divino makes better pizza.
I have only had an espresso at Pulcinella- from an absolutely GLAM Faema espresso machine. They use Illy, which I would have been very impressed by about 2 years ago but with as good a local roaster as we now have in Big Mountain I see no value added in using overpriced Italian beans. Still, it was a good cup in a very beautiful space.
Now, as to Fatburger- I finally got to taste this place on Denman in Van over reading week in Feb and was happy with it, esp with the "fat fries," like "steak fries" of yore, just magnificent. Burger was very good. Now, we went to the Calgary one a few weekends ago and they've taken the fat fries off the menu! Damn them! But ya know, I had a double w/ cheddar at Burger Inn this week and I agree with ya Mike, Fatburger is not the second coming. HOWEVER, Burger Inn, the one of 4th at least, has ZERO ambience, it feels like a hospital cafeteria, and the burgers on paper plates with no trays is just a disaster waiting to happen, hard to handle and very unsanitary (tables get icky). But I can walk to Burger Inn.
It's located in Deerfoot Meadows, the Big Box complex on Deerfoot just South of Glenmore anchored by the "new" Ikea.
It's unfortunate not everyone has had a good experience with Fat Burger - the one that used to be on the strip in Vegas was excellent. I was really looking forward to it...
As for Burger Inn, their Burgers are ok - but i love their fries. Fresh cut, with skins, in brown paper. Load it with salt and malt vinegar.... greasy heaven!
I have to disagree about grouping Peters burgers with the likes of Boogie's, Fats, and (shudder) Harvey's. Peters stands alone as a great messy and simple burger. No messin around with junk food like lettuce and tomatoes, just gooey sauce, cheese, relish and mustard on a soft warm bun. Oh yeah, baby.
I also sampled Fat Burger lately (with my Mum). Location suxs but if your out and about at ikea/costco etc. worth a stop - the diner atmosphere, while not orginal was fine. We both had "Baby Fat" Burgers and i thought it was step up from Mackers or BK or something. My Mum complained that it was a bit small for a hambourgie but I reminded her that we did in fact have the "baby" burgers so..... I eyed a dude close by chowing a regurlar size and it looked decent. It was a Thursday night at about 6pm and and we where one of the only three customers in there so i was a little disappointment with the 15-20min wait (unacceptable for "fast food" - I think).
I totally think Burger Inn on 4th Street has the market cornered still. While I concur the atmosphere in the new place is lame, the old spot was the bees knees. Plus I love the dude that works there and has for like a million years. He's great and the service is fast, regarless of how busy. Plus you can always sit, chow and read fast forward while you eat.
I too have a problem with the lack of flavour in the Pulcinella sauce (and toppings for that matter). When I ate there recently, I had to ask for salt. I was sharing a grilled vegetable pizza and there wasn't any seasoning on the veggies nor in the sauce. When I asked our server why she said that the kitchen relies on basil and garlic to flavour the sauce!?
I agree nice crust but really just a so so 'za.
went to fatburger first and last time the food there is over rated you do not get the value for your dollar.