I have only been to McGarrey’s Oakwood Cafe one other time, to try their soup. It was suggested to me to go back this round and try some of their comfort-style food. This Erie favorite got the most votes this week by leaps and bounds, so Amanda and I headed there on Monday night. There were only a few tables of people seated when we arrived so we had our choice of seats. We took a few minutes to look over the menu and after talking it over with each other, as well as asking our server for some recommendations, we were ready for dinner.
Amanda settled on the pot roast. A cold winter’s night, slow cooked roast beef, and hot mashed potatoes fits the definition of comfort food quite well. The beef slices were piled high on the plate and smothered in thick, brown gravy. To our dismay, however, some of the meat looked pretty unappetizing. Many of the slices were mostly fat, which is characteristic of pot roast, but was still disappointing. In addition, some of the meat had started to turn from brown to a not-so-appetizing shade of iridescent yellow. Upon further investigation when we got home, we discovered that the meat would have been safe to eat. However, if food doesn’t look appetizing, it’s human nature to not want to eat it. The roast came with a choice of potato and a tossed salad or the vegetable of the day- corn. Amanda chose mashed potatoes and the corn. The potatoes were good, but not as good as the homemade potatoes from last week and the corn overcooked and tough. Although I typically do not like gravy, the slices of beef we ate, as well as the potatoes, were good with the gravy.
Growing up with and Italian grandma and a Ukranian grandpa, I ate more than my fair share of stuffed cabbage rolls. My Nana and my dad made them regularly and they became one of my childhood favorites. When I saw them on the menu, I had to try them. Two good-sized rolls were topped with the house marinara sauce and were served with my choice of potato, I chose mashed, and a salad. The salad was pretty standard, an iceberg lettuce blend with tomatoes, and the Italian dressing was good. The cabbage was stuffed with a seasoned beef and rice mixture. I have never had marinara sauce on top of cabbage rolls, nor have I had them with mashed potatoes, so it was different from what I’m used to, but not bad. The stuffed cabbage rolls obviously weren’t my dad’s or Nana’s, but seeing as how I haven’t found them on another menu in Erie, these served as an acceptable substitute.
The meal wasn’t the best when it comes to comfort food, but they did have speed of service and price on their side. Our food was out fast and our bill was under $18 before tip. The menu is stacked heavily with sandwiches so that might be a better choice over the comfort food. The phone number is (814) 866-0552 and the business hours are Monday through Saturday from 11:00 am – 10:00 pm and Sunday from 11:00 am – 8:00 pm.
Until next time,
Andrew – Beard vs. Food