This was my first trip to Aubrey’s. My first impression, as we circled the block for the 4th time all the while hearing “DESTINATION” from the GPS voice, was that it is difficult to find. It really is tucked away in a little corner. When we (finally) arrived and went in, I was impressed with the interior. It is so cozy. And I mean cozy. It’s a tiny little place. The dining room was very pretty, with upholstered blue 1940’s-ish booths all along the walls and a large S-shaped booth configuration in the middle with round tables. I don’t know if it was decorated for the holidays or if it is their normal decor, but there were pretty white lighted tree branches everywhere too. The atmosphere was, as I may have mentioned, very cozy.
So, about this S thingee. Because we were there with a very large party, half of us sat at one table on one side of the S and the other half on the other side. We were unable to interact with half of our party until we basically crashed the whole restaurant for our gift exchange at the end. If you are not going as a couple, I would not recommend this place because the seating is not cohesive to large groups. As it was, several of us at our table were positioned so that we were forced to stare at a couple (not from our party) at one of the other tables as they basically made out with each other throughout about 6 courses of dinner. By the time they got to their table-side bananas foster, we were all ready for them to get a room.
Anyway, the best part of my meal was the appetizer, which was a portobello mushroom. It was very flavorful. I also had a salad that I remember as being fine but not anything spectacular. The fettucini alfredo was not as good as I thought it should have been. I do think that my experience with fettucini alfredo over the past 5 years being the Lean Cuisine version may have contributed to my opinion that it was WAY too greasy. Thinking I was just too full from bread and appetizers and salad, I took home leftovers. When I reheated the next day, I poured about 4 tablespoons of melted butter off just my left-over portion! I can’t imagine how much butter was in it. Perhaps this is what fettucini alfredo is supposed to be like, but I didn’t like it.
Overall, I was more impressed with the beautiful stained glass fire screen and the (cozy) and romantic booths and decor than with the food. Next time I want to make out over bananas foster, I might go there again. Friends of mine seemed very surprised that I found it “eh” so maybe we were there on an off night.
I am one of the friends Susan refers to below as “raving” about Aubreys…Let’s just get it out there, I will not be recommending or backing any recommendations for next year’s Christmas gathering. The past two years, I have been soooo wrong!
It has been about 6 years since I graced Aubrey’s with my presence. It was with another group of friends- I think there were 6 or 7 of us. Although, I can’t remember what I had to eat, I remember the eye-catching fireplace, the great atmosphere, the great time we had…really a very delightful experience.
Isn’t it funny how time molds your memories!
What I didn’t remember was the horrible seating. Yes, it would have been nice if there were 2 of us. But, we were here with a big group…reservation size = 14. So, 3 couples were crammed in 2 “S”-shaped booths and one couple was split with one in one booth and one in the other. Did I mention there was only one way in and out of this booth? And did I mention that I was one of the lucky ones to be on the closed side? So, 4 people had to move in order for me to get out of it.
OK…on with the food. Bryan and I ordered the lobster bites for an appetizer. These were pretty good. But really, I’m not sure how to measure the culinary greatness of deep fried lobster. They were just lobster chunks in a tempura-like batter with a butter sauce to dip them in. They probably wouldn’t have tasted much different if Captain D’s or Long John Silver’s would have fried them up.
I ordered the lobster ravioli…I was sure this was going to be a hit. Usually, I would try to get something different if someone else at the table was ordering the same dish (aka Susan and Saundra, Phil’s wife). This is for review purposes, of course. But the thought of lobster ravioli sounded so tasty, I decided to throw out all my rules. Well, I should have stuck to my precious rules because the lobster ravioli was not very good…and when I say not very good, I mean bad.
When it arrived, it wasn’t what I expected. I think my thoughts would be best described using a table.
What I expected What I was served
creamy sauce salsa-like sauce
lobster in the ravioli no lobster in the ravioli
lobster in the sauce lobster chunks served beside ravioli
light, sweet lobster hard, chewy lobster
Needless to say, I was not very happy with my meal. I would try to describe the raviolis but they were uneventful and plain. There was plenty of food on my plate, but it was really pretty blah and I couldn’t get past the chewiness of the lobster. Very rarely do I leave any seafood on my plate, but I couldn’t finish this. Luckily, Susan shared some of her delicious wine with me- which helped ease my pain while filling my stomach.
Our waitress was excellent. However, we finished our meal up around 10:00 pm. Since it was our Christmas get-to-gather, we had a few presents to exchange. Some of the wait staff seemed like they were ready for us to leave.…Opening the back door, emptying the trash, and standing around staring at us.
I would recommend Aubrey’s if you were a small party, didn’t get the lobster ravioli (maybe just get some dessert), and were out of there by 9:00 pm.
It is times like this when I wish we could give out ½ forks…but I try not to create too many waves here at Fork You. So, I will bump up Aubrey’s rating due to the nice atmosphere…TWO FORKS!
Side note: Bryan ordered the surf and turf…which was a filet and lobster tail. The steak was excellent, but again, the lobster was sub-par. Although it was better than the lobster I received, it still wasn’t worth the price. Our total bill was around $100.00 before the tip. And I just didn’t feel as if I had a $100 meal and left disappointed.
The annual Dinner For Lunch Friends and Spouses (not its real name, can’t remember what Daniel calls it) is an event I look forward to all year long. Not only do we have a great time talking and laughing, but we choose a “special” restaurant which we don’t frequent during the year much. This year, Aubrey’s got the nod. I have had Aubrey’s on my radar for years. Several friends have raved about the atmosphere, menu and quality of food. As a result, I had high expectations. Boy does it sting when you fall from such a height.
The interior decor is impressive – a long bar is on your right as you enter. Straight ahead you can see the overstuffed semicircular banquettes with round tables in front of each. What a romantic setting! It probably hinders turnover and revenue, though – the seats are so comfortable, you want to linger. And each table is so large, if you seat a party of two where you could have seated six, you serve four less plates, obviously. But to the customer, it looks and feels luxurious. The deep navy blue of the upholstery contrasted with the stark white linens and navy and gold banded dinnerware.
Ron and I were the first to arrive (I was anxious) so we enjoyed an adult beverage at the bar. I sipped on a $7.50 glass of Prahova Pinot Noir. I am sure Ron will complain that this English pub has no draft beer, but they probably don’t have enough folks who want draft beer to make it worth the effort. Romantic and draft beer just don’t go together in my dating handbook.
The rest of the group filtered in and we were seated at two tables, side by side, creating an “S” shape with the banquettes. I was very happy to be seated directly in front of the “fireplace” which provided even more enticing ambiance. The large menus felt impressive and revealed a surprisingly large list of choices. Prices were right where I expected: appetizers around $8-$10, entrees seemed to range in the neighborhood of $18 – $30. I also perused the wine list for our table, having been designated the Wine Expert due to my membership in the notorious Screw Top Girls monthly wine club. Malbec’s been good to me lately, so I chose the Occhioverde from Argentina, of course, for $39.
Since it seemed most were ordering appetizers, I fell prey to peer pressure and asked for the brie in pastry.
Served with salad greens and cubed fresh fruit, the brie was pretty as a picture. The lightly golden pastry flaked to reveal the creamy cheesy center. I enjoyed the appetizer, priced at $7.95. It was too large a portion just for me, but Ron doesn’t like cheese. I know! Who in the world doesn’t like cheese? Ron is who, I tell ya. I shared some bites with my friends and did my best to devour most of it.
Let me tell you about this wine:
The attentive and professional service was in full force by the time we received appetizers and the wine. Note the decanter in the photo above. Pretty nice, huh? This wine was the absolute best part of my meal. With a buttery smooth finish, the lightly spicy notes of the wine complemented the creamy brie to perfection, but could stand up to the tomatoes in my entree. I was so enamoured with the Occhioverde, I promptly made my way to the Capitol Market the following week to order a bottle for my Christmas Eve dinner. (In case you’re interested, it was around $15 and they were happy to order it for me at the Wine Shop.) I shared with Misty, Phil and Saundra. It was such a hit, Phil ordered a second bottle for the table. Oblivious to the magnificence of the grape, Ron sat at the head of our table with a Bud Light.
And the review is going to go downhill now.
I had the winner narrowed down to Chicken Oscar and Lobter Ravioli. I’ll bet you’re wondering why an almost locally famous food critic would order something as mundane as chicken for this occasion. Well, I’ll be honest with you because I consider us friends by now: the asparagus will get me every time. I just love asparagus. If the menu said rabbit droppings in a cream sauce with asparagus, I would seriously consider ordering it. OK, that was an exaggeration, but you get the point. I get weak in the knees for asparagus. Our waitress made her only mistake of the evening by recommending the Lobster Ravioli and I made a mistake by succombing to her suggestion.
I have ordered lobster ravioli at other restaurants and based on those previous experiences, I was expecting a homemade ravioli filled with cheese and lobster, covered in a creamy lobster sauce. The menu described the dish as having a tomato topping. but I figured it would be in addition to my traditional idea of the dish.
When the entree was presented to me, I had to first overcome my surprise – it was vastly different from my expectations. No worries, though. Pasta, cheese, lobster and tomatoes are all wonderful ingredients. I was sure I’d still love it.
I was wrong.
It’s tough to see in the photo, but there are three or four raviolis under the sauce and they were tender and tasty. The pasta in the center that somewhat resembles a wonton was also tasty. However, I still had no hint of lobster – not inside the pasta or in the sauce. The chunky pieces you see on the plate are the lobster. I’ll say there’s plenty of it, but it was terribly overcooked. Lobster should not have a rubbery texture. The meat was so tough, I could not cut it with a fork. I resorted to my knife – it felt as if I was cutting through a tendon in a piece of chicken.
I couldn’t really taste the lobster once I finally got it but into a bite-sized piece. The delicate flavor of the lobster was completely overpowered by the tangy tomato topping. Three of us ordered this dish at my table and none of us thought it was worth eating. It became one of those things that you want other people to taste so they can see firsthand how bad it is. Like that comedy skit about spoiled milk where the wife tastes it, realizes it’s spoiled and then asks her husband to taste it. Two others at my table ordered surf and turf. Misty tasted both and said the lobster tail was better then our ravioli dish, but still not what a lobster should be. My entree, served with two sides was $21.95.
The asparagus (no surprise there!) was cooked properly and nicely seasoned. Portion size was generous for one person. My other side was saffron rice and it was also good.
You’d think that with 5 lobster dishes being served at one table, someone would have tasted the lobster to ensure it was cooked properly. I could just imagine Gordon Ramsay yelling expletives at the cowering kitchen staff.
Then I was faced with a conondrum: To complain or not to complain? Ordinarily I would have considered saying something like “I thought the lobster was a bit overcooked” if I was alone with Ron. But I was with a large group. I wondered if anyone would be uncomfortable or embarrassed if I spoke up about the poor quality of the entree. I considered the restaurant’s response if I complained, too. I don’t want my meal comped. I ordered it, I ate part of it, I felt I should pay for it. If I had complained, I would have been worried that other patrons and the staff would think I said something just to get a discount or a free meal. In the end we all smiled politely and said nothing. I don’t know if it was the right thing to do or not.
The really sad part is, Aubrey’s is a beautiful, romantic restaurant with wonderful service but that entree was so bad, the memory of rubbery lobster is what I remember most about the meal. I am spooked. It’ll take a while for me to get up my nerve enough to try this one again. For the amount of money we paid, I rate it TWO FORKS.
Oh yes remember the hussle and bussle of the Holidays??? How could you forget. Spending money that you don’t have on things you don’t need, for people you don’t like on things they don’t want. Can’t wait to do it agian next year.
Yes as Susan called it the annual dinner among friends and spouses – but of course her and the “five” eat out about every day, so what’s so special about this occassion eludes me as it happens almost daily.
Aubrey’s was the choice of this years event. Last year if memory serves me correctly it was at the Dog Track, and I think that particular meal didn’t really blow anyone’s skirt. So thus this years establishment. Aubrey’s Yorkshire Pub and Eatery. After all a place named after a county in England where brewing has been an art form since the 18th Century, and good eats with a northern English feel. I can’t wait.
I had heard of Aubrey’s, but that’s about it, mostly as a place to eat, little on the steep side but not anything special. Thus I had never really had any desire to go here, but hey, nothing ventured nothing gained. Or so I thought.
Ever heard the saying “be thankful for what you don’t have” ? Well I’m kind of thankful that I had never eaten here previously, because even though I ventured… I did not gain.
We were the first to arrive and I promptly took a seat at the bar and ordered my first over priced beer of the evening. Yuengling. I forget what it costs, but even after two months I remember that it was more than the $4 Bud Lights (that’s a 12oz bud light bottle), that I switched to on my next round. Susan drank wine. (Editor’s note: Ron’s Yuengling was $4.50)
First thing you’ll notice about the bar is that it’s nice I’ll give them that – it gives me that European feel (yes I’ve never been to Europe ). Yet it would be the only Pub in Yorkshire that has no draft beer. Susan complains above that I’ll complain about this ~ mentions some silly nonsense about romance and draft beer – well what the hell is romantic about Pubs and Eatery – give me Guinness and Fish and Chips. period. Besides who wants to be romantic with seventeen friends sitting around together? (oh only if we could have sat around together)
After a while everyone had arrived and we were seated in what Susan calls “semicircular banquettes” – let’s be serious here for a second – they were couches. Our group was seated in two half circle couches butted end to end. Think of an ” S ” shape. Two tables would be placed in the hollow part of the ” S ” and a chair on the end of the open end of the table.
I forget the number of people at each couch but it was four I think. (Editor’s note: It was seven per table.) These couches were on the main floor, around them were the remaining tables maybe 10 to twelve around the perimeter of the room and elevated. (Editor’s note: There were only five or six other tables.) Almost like I was the main event at Aubrey’s Imitation Roman Colesium, and the lords are looking down on me to see if I could manage what would be served from the kitchen.
Well, perusing the menu, and seeing several attractive dishes, and their respective unattractive prices, I chose the Fettucini Alfredo for $12.95. Yes I went cheap. I wanted to drink beer. So I decided to allocate resources where they would be most pleasant. Besides it’s pasta alfredo, who could screw that up?
I also for sides got two baked potatoes. LOL. Hey I had to have something that would feel me up.
I during all the festivities, I will say that the service was pretty good. The staff did seem attentive, was helpful, quick, etc. But it’s almost like when that guy shows up dressed in a nice uniform and he’s there to pump out your septic tank. Something just wasn’t going to pan out. But you knew that didn’t you just by reading the tone of my review, and mostly everyone else that wrote something.
Well I have to say my pasta alfredo was not screwed up. LOL. Nor were my baked potatoes. My Alfredo was creamy, a little luke warm – which did make my experience bad. I should have complained, but because I was amongst Susan and her friends, I smiled and nodded and said my meal was OK.
So why is my review so negative. Well, I tasted some of the other dishes that floated around. None stood out as something I would recommend. But there is one noteable dish that had Lobster – I think someone got Surf and Turf or something…. The lobster sucked. It was as chewy as a squid tentacle. Yes I’ve eaten squid, and to be honest it was better than this lobster. Wrigley’s had nothing on this lobster as far as chewiness went. If this had been my dish I would have sent it back, for that matter I would have spit it out and threw it back. This was totally uncalled for. I can’t say enough bad things about this particular item.
Some of the other dishes I tasted were not as bad as that, but at the end of the day there was nothing special about them. I don’t recall anyone having an orgasm over their meal. Remember when you’re paying this much, shouldn’t the goal of the dish be orgasmic for the customer? These meals were average it seemed. There may have been one or two of us that thought theirs was better than average as they’ve told their stories above.
So after spending two and a half hours of my life that I’ll never get back in a pub that has no draft beer, bad lobster and pasta alfredo. How does it score?
Well if it was still Christmas – I’d probably give it a One Fork rating. But I’ve had time to think. I don’t think it deserves that. I would never go back here, I would not recommend anyone eating here, if Susan wanted to come here again I would put up one hell of a fight and may go kicking and screaming full bent on making a scene and being prepared to fight about after we were finished eating.
I’m serious there is nothing about this place that I would recommend. I bet money that if this entire group had gone to Applebee’s or The Outback, there would have been less complaining amongst each other and a lot more satisfaction. AND IF I’M WRONG???…. Well then I guarantee you that there would not be any more complaining amongst each other and just as much satisfaction for half the price. That my dear reader is what is sad about Aubrey’s.
Aubrey’s want’s to be what South Hills Market and Cafe is. Aubrey’s wants to be what so many places around this area want to be, but like so many places around here - They fail!…. Why? I don’t know. How does this place make it? but yet Billy’s at Southridge doesn’t?
No Forks For You. I recommend you eat here only if you don’t mind being disappointed. I really hope that Aubrey’s just had a bad night, but hey you know what they say about that one bad apple spoiling the whole damned bunch.Aubrey’s Yorkshire Pub & Eatery 601 6th Avenue, Suite 102 St. Albans, WV 25177 304-727-7782