A Slice of Fried Gold

Hippie Bracket: (3) Snow City Cafe vs. (6) Spenard Roadhouse

Sunday, March 7, 2010
This is another Moose's Tooth and Bear Tooth like matchup, as both of these restaurants are owned by the same crews and both find fans coming out of the woodwork. Snow City Cafe has been a landmark of Anchorage dining for a long time, while Spenard Roadhouse is a recently launched (just hit it's year birthday!) eatery that worked through its early faults to come out pristine. But who is the winner here?

Snow City Cafe: I've eaten breakfast at this place more times than I count. I love the food to an almost unhealthy degree, and it is one of the few restaurants I've ever been to that I'm so confounded by what to order that I order two entrees.

Yeah, that's right.

Snow City is the 2009 Oklahoma Sooners of the tournament, giving us some serious firepower like their Club Scramble or their awesome Benedicts (ala Blake Griffin), plus a ton of supplementary parts like mimosas, great coffee, hip and friendly servers, great atmosphere, and iconic location (the Willie Warren, Austin Johnson, and Taylor Griffin of the team). It is an exceptional place to eat at, but its big detriments are rather major: epic wait times and a strangely mediocre lunch menu bring down the experience from being a transcendant one.

Spenard Roadhouse: This restaurant started out to deafening acclaim (a coworker of mine went there every day, twice a day, for the first three weeks of opening) and lots of confusion from your's truly. My first experiences (along with my friends) were really mediocre, even bad. My first experience involved baby back ribs with my parents that tasted quite similar to marinara sauce. Unless I misunderstand the food, that is not what they should taste like.

Recently they've made a late run to relevance in my mind, as I've found a niche of foods that I enjoy. Their bacon of the month is fantastic, because really you can't beat bacon. The pièce de résistance however is their Autumn Risotto, a carefully crafted dish that is not only visually pleasing but something that must be eaten with the voracious intent of a pig. Or maybe that is just how I eat it. It's ridiculously tasty, and rivals the risotto I've tried in my forays into the food in Italy and in my kitchen.

In a lot of ways, their start and turnaround is a lot like the 2002-2003 Syracuse Orangemen squad - start out with drama and mediocre results, but in the end they turned it around and found their identity. And it's a damn tasty identity.

The food...not the Orangemen. That would be weird. Sorry Carmelo Anthony.

The Showdown: So who wins in this matchup, the late breaking contender Spenard Roadhouse or the long time favorite with major flaws Snow City Cafe? Well, when you get down to matchup of this sort you have to go with the place that has the most longevity and experience in these situations. The Roadhouse is new-ish, while Snow City has years of experience pleasing my palette. With that in mind it's Snow City Cafe in a barn burner.


Anonymous said...

Truly, the two should be synonymous in your mind -- they share an owner between them, so a lot of the style should be similar.

granted the kitchen staff is the heart of a restaurant, and it always takes time for it to beat just right.

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