Tuesday, September 7, 2010

The Village Idiot Bar & Grill | 306 Mackenzie Avenue | Revelstoke, B.C

What’s in a name?  That which we call a rose, by any other name would smell as sweet.  But just look at a rose: it’s lovely, red (I know there are other colours, but those are only for your grandmother), and it can buy you out of almost any trouble you’ve caused.  This is based on a sliding scale, from a single rose “just because”, to several dozen, “just because I crashed your car while playing slap and tickle with your sister”.  The rose is invincible to degradation, even if you call it “Duane Allman’s gangrenous foot”. 

Other things are not so lucky, and were they to have their names changed, their image would suffer accordingly.  Imagine, for instance, that during a moment of intimacy with your lady, you glance downward and ask if she wants to meet “The Ringing Disappointment”, or “Fester”.  Will her answer be a breathy “Oh yes”, or would your bed empty faster than a church pew when Father Flynn passes the plate?  If you named your restaurant “The Village Idiot”, would anyone take it seriously?


In recent years Revelstoke has seen an economic and population boom because of the Mt. McKenzie ski hill development so it is to absolutely no one’s surprise that the Village Idiot has a theme aimed at drawing athletically-inclined Australians wearing Helly Hansen coats.  The restaurant has built a solid reputation for itself and long-time locals seem to enjoy it alongside their newly-arrived counterparts.  It was here, during my most recent visit to Revelstoke, that I arranged to meet up Andy, my former high-school English teacher and a regular reader of this site.

Before anything else, let’s talk about the furniture: parts of it are made out of old skis and snowboards.  I still can’t decide whether this is alpine thriftiness, recyclista chic or just plain laziness on the part of the carpenter, but what I do know is that they are more novel than they are comfortable.  Alpine recreational equipment is no more enjoyable to sit on than it is using it for its intended purpose.

Pretty sure that railway bulls used
something like this to torture hobos
once upon a time.
The floors and ceilings of The Idiot are wood panelled and the walls painted a deep red.  I suspected this paintjob was meant to help disguise the blood spilled by snowboarders fighting over who had shredded the most gnar.  This was confirmed by the heaviness of the chairs; Trev and Keith couldn’t hurl these at one another no matter how angry they were.  The tables were heavy too, so heavy that they either had gotten a great deal on hard wood or the Incredible Hulk was a regular customer.  The bar stands against the left-hand wall and on the right side are tables, with a door leading to the patio in the far right corner.  The tables at the front of the restaurant were nicely lit but towards the back it started to look a bit dark, so I took a seat by the window.

Whatever.
The waitress came over and introduced herself, although I’m embarrassed to say I have since forgotten her name.  A shame too, since she was easy to get along with and made a good first impression.  She had with her a glass of water and a couple of menus that I glanced at while I waited for Andy.  When he arrived we greeted each other and after some catch-up banter we both decided to make some hard decisions regarding lunch.

My thoughts on novelty menus have been expressed in previous reviews, so I won’t bother repeating why having to say, “I Found Nemo!” to order a damned fish sandwich makes my blood pressure spike.  Through gritted teeth I ordered the special, a pizza-wrap that someone, after a few bong hits, decided to name Roachzilla ($10.27), and a side Caesar. 

Smaller than you'd expect from
a member of the Zilla family.
Roachzilla arrived, ready to rampage all over the Tokyo of my heart, and I was satisfied, if not thrilled.  Inside the wrap were the standard fixings for a pizza sub:  pepperoni, salami, ham, mozzarella cheese, green peppers and pizza sauce, all of which were fine, the sauce even having a respectable spice to it.  My issue with the whole package came down to it being in wrap form; all those ingredients have a soft texture and a bun or bread everything was too soft, too chewy.  As I’ve mentioned the flavours were all up to scratch but the whole thing didn’t come together as a whole because it was lacking something substantial to hold it all together.  The Caesar was good enough, and but really, it’s just lettuce on a plate that I ordered because my “rational” voice wouldn’t allow me fries.  This is not the salad’s fault.

Even though Roachzilla failed to live up to its name and was brought down by the Japanese army before any real damage could be done, this won’t be my last visit to The Idiot.  Sure, I don’t like the clientele and the furniture gives me cold sweats and flashbacks, but the atmosphere is relaxed and the service always good.  That which we call a rose by any other name would smell just as sweet, that which we call The Village Idiot by any other name would still be a wise choice to grab dinner.

The Village Idiot Bar & Grill on Urbanspoon

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