I don’t care much for the show or the host, but I’m amused by the whole theme restaurant thing, and a couple of years down the road when I met my girlfriend she spoke positively about the place. So, when an opportunity to pick up a $45 voucher to Donnie Mac’s for $20 through LivingSocial, I could hardly pass it up.
We decided to make it a family-type evening and bring the kids along, since there are some rather amusing children’s options on the menu at Donnie Mac’s. We showed up rather early on an evening shortly before Christmas. I was instantly amused by what I saw, namely plastic flamingos, toilets used as planters, and Halloween decorations still in the windows.
|Donnie Mac’s VIP seating|
In the center of the main dining room is what remains of an old car, converted to provide a unique dining experience. The kids wanted to sit there, but the grown-ups weren’t really feeling it. Luckily, someone else snatched up the seats before it became an issue. We ended in a booth where the seats have very smooth-rolling wheels and the slightest movement can propel you towards or away from the table. After perusing the rather impressive menu, the younger child settled on a PB&J with a bag of Cheetos and a Dr. Pepper. The older went for the Spaghettios, which was supposed to have been served in the can but couldn’t be, ostensibly because there was a can opener issue? Anyway, that darling dinner also comes with Cheetos and the added benefit of a spork. The adults had both decided on burgers, but having heard good things about both the sweet potato fries (a weakness of mine) and the mac & cheese, my beloved and I had trouble deciding on side dishes. In the end, we both went with the mac & cheese and ordered a basket of sweet potato fries for the table as sort of an appetizer.
The fries themselves were good, but didn’t quite live up to the hype as far as I was concerned. I have to fess up that the most likely reason is that they just weren’t as good as Boise Fry Company‘s sweet potato fries. It may be a slightly unfair comparison given that fries of all kinds are the crux of BFC’s business, but theirs are amazing and I can’t help but compare. The sauce that came with them definitely didn’t grab me, but I was able to make do with the other provided fry sauce.
My girl had decided on the Single Wide Cheeseburger, and though I don’t remember what cheese she chose, knowing her it was very likely bleu cheese. I decided to cough up the few extra dollars for Grass-Fed Beef Burger. The girlfriend snickered, saying that if I were blindfolded I’d never be able to tell the difference just because the cow’s diet was different, but I was able to resolve that by letting her try a bite when it hit the table. Interestingly enough, she didn’t care for it, saying the flavor was too strong (she’s not a huge beef fan, in case I haven’t made that abundantly clear in previous entries).
|Grass-Fed Beef Burger with Mac & Cheese|
As for myself, I adored the burger. It came on a real artisan-style bun with red onion (my fave), kosher pickle slices, perfectly ripe tomato, crisp lettuce, and at my request bleu cheese. I don’t know why so many of these niche places downtown have such great burgers, but it’s a trend I fully support. The meat itself did have a strong beef flavor, but it was a good, clean beef flavor. I have to be careful or I could develop a taste for the grass-fed stuff. The mac & cheese, on the other hand, wasn’t as impressive. It was perfectly serviceable, but when you see people on TV doing the whole eye-rolling and yummy sound thing, it builds up a fair amount of expectation. The kids dug their dinners, but it would have been strange if they hadn’t since it was Spaghettios and PB&J.
All in all, I can’t see this being a place I would go to on a regular basis (it’s not near to home and the atmosphere was at times a little too authentic for my taste), but I’m sure the kids will want to return, and I know there’s good food to be had there so I won’t put up too much of a protest. I’d be lying if I said I wasn’t curious about what they could do with a BLT.
Final Grade: B