I have no idea how many times we have driven past Esquire Restaurant along the Bedford Highway. The place is known for their good hearty food for great prices. Not to mention their chowder and I LOVE chowder.
Reg’s vacation was suddenly cut in half but we got some good news and I wanted to go out and celebrate. But on a budget! I thought this would be the perfect place for us to go for a hot meal for a great price.
This restaurant has the reputation of being the local gem of the area. I had heard so many good things about it and it seemed beloved by everyone.
When we waited for our table we were thrilled to see that they had fresh strawberry shortcake on special.
We were seated by a bus boy who was far from friendly or talkative. Hmmm… Then we checked the place out.
The decor was very Nova Scotian but also a little dated. Normally I do not care about such details if the food makes me happy.
It was clear that this place was super popular not just for dinner but to get takeout as well.
I of course had to try a bowl of their lobster chowder. It was $10.49 which is not exactly cheap but we were celebrating. Sadly, the chowder was a bit… weird.
It was so thick and almost pureed that it really jiggled and reminded me of the consistency of a souffle. It was under-seasoned but did have nice chunks of lobster claw meat in it. I enjoyed the flavours but the texture was so odd it was a bit off-putting.
As much as I wanted more seafood, I decided to get the hot beef sandwich instead. The meat was very dry, the gravy was super salty but the onions were delicious.
As my regular readers knows, I am not a huge fan of French fries but have been wooed by them in the past. Not these ones. They were completely unseasoned and very dry. I really disliked them and ate only a few. Reg, who loves all fries, did not mind them one bit. He did enjoy his crunchy chicken sandwich but we both agreed the coleslaw that came with our meals was unpleasant. The pickles were too sweet for me so I did not eat those either.
After 8 pm the place quickly empties I suppose because the restaurant closes at 9 pm. We ordered coffee and Reg, who did not get an appetizer, ordered the strawberry rhubarb pie.
Now this was divine! Oh the flavours were so fabulous, so fresh and beautiful. Normally I do not like crusts to be this dark and on the verge of over-baked but the chunks of rhubarb were so big, long-baking was necessary and the crust tasted as good as the filling. This treat was the best part of the meal for sure. I got decaf coffee but it was so strong that with five creamers, I still couldn’t drink it.
Our server (who was not the bus boy, phew!) was wonderful. Cute as a button, super friendly and helpful. If you go to Esquire Restaurant go for the pie and the service.
By the time we were leaving the place was closing down. I did hear people complain that their food was cold but it is clear that despite some of the issues, people love this place.
The food at Esquire Restaurant was not terrible but it was not great either. Our dinners were close to $10 each and even for under $10, they were not stellar. Issues with seasoning were rampant, a weird chowder but fabulous pie… An odd mix and a difficult review to write.
Overall, I just get the sense that this restaurant is more than a little overrated. Reg feels the food is cafeteria quality (good for cafeteria food) and I think he is bang on the money. Which makes me sad. I really wanted to love it but the food I ordered was not very good at all. We probably will not go back, even for the pie.
I give Esquire Restaurant three out of five wooden spoons.