I vaguely remember reading a review for the Elbow Room a couple of years ago in the weekly and being interested but not intrigued. The other day at work Bruce mentioned the Elbow Room in the context of a conversation during which we were discussing the merits of eating far too much. He told me they had a Friday night fish fry that costs a mere 4.95 and while not necessarily music to my ears it was, at the very least, rhythmic tapping.
The tapping grew louder and louder and soon reached a crescendo and Sean, Cal, Bill and I showed up, after a few mix ups and turn arounds, around six on a Friday. The dilapidated awning and out of place time and temp display were promising but I was not prepared for the full un-ironic glory of the Elbow Room’s interior. There is a medium sized bar area populated with locals and a smaller dining area were we sat on both trips. We noted two different types of wood paneling as well as faux brick paneling to go with the odd Romanesque ceiling tiles. There were well placed televisions in the corners of both rooms, unfortunately Bill “broke” the one we were watching by randomly touching it with his hand, this after a patron at the next table told our waitress to be sure not to change the station since “the Steelers are on.”
The fish didn’t take long to arrive after we ordered and was served by a waitress with the equal parts feisty and spunky. I suppose brash might be an even better term. She dropped us each a basket full of fried fish, fries and coleslaw and didn’t return except to curse out whomever left the previous diner’s debris at the end of the table. I have to admit to not having incredibly high hopes for the quality of the fish, it’s only 4.95 and it’s an all you can eat at a bar, but I was largely mistaken. The fish was lightly breaded, a probable mix of flour and black pepper, and expertly fried. This sounds easy but if you think back on all the crappy fried food we’ve all ingested over the years it really isn’t. The fries were easy to miss, and ignore as we filled up on second helpings. The coleslaw was actually fresh and enticing. I can easily see things getting out of hand at one of the Friday fish fries in any number of ways, just among the people that I was eating with so I can’t imagine would could happen if all the variables sitting over at the bar got involved in something.
We went back on Tuesday for the all you can eat spaghetti, which is only 3.95. On the first plate you get a couple of meat balls and subsequently it’s just meat sauce. My spaghetti was a little rubbery but still edible. I’m positive it wasn’t 3.95 worth of spaghetti and sauce but I guess I’m paying not to make it myself, right? I can’t recommend the spaghetti nearly as highly as the fish but it was satisfactory. Our waitress wasn’t nearly entertaining as the first one but she was a hell of a lot nicer. The crowd was much thinner on spaghetti night but Cal did hear someone remark that they’d been there since 1:00.
I should also mention that on Wednesdays they have roast pork loin with mashed potatoes and gravy , on Thursdays they have chicken fried steak with the aforementioned mashed taters and on every night but Tuesdays and Fridays they have porterhouses and filet mignons for 8.50. All of them all you can eat. They don’t have to many beers on tap, we went with Coors Light both nights, but who needs ’em at the Elbow Room? I give the Elbow Room a solid 8.5 sweetly breaded and fried fish baskets.