I visited Buckalew's twice this summer on a recommendation from my sister who raved over the food there. Overall its a nice restaurant/bar on the inside, and both nights I went were on a saturday and there was live music. However, our general experience in both instances were anywhere between poor and below average. Here's the Pro's and Con's:
--- PRO's ---
1.) MUSIC - Live music is pretty good. Tends to have a crowd somewhere btw 30's-50's. Buckalew's in general seems to have a pretty strong following, at least the nights we were there which were both on Saturday nights.
2.) LOCATION - Located in Beach Haven, within walking dsistance of Fantasy Island, the waterpark/mini-golf range and Bay Village.
3.) Food (Maybe) - I'm going to list it as both a negative and a positive. The first time I went I thought my steak wasn't very good at all - I barely finishedhalf of it, but my girlfriend did enjoy her scallops. The second time I liked the Prime Rib, but she did not think the clams were very good. Seemed very hit or miss. I did however, like the fact that the vegetables that came with the steak were fresh and not frozen.
--- CON's ---
1.) DRINKS - Don't ask me why, but these people can't make a drink to save they're lives. I asked for a Mojito. The drink came out and I'm looking at it and saying "Where are the crushed mint leaves?" It tasted odd as well so when I asked the waitress she said "Oh, the mint is in the bottle" - so after a little ore cajoling, she admitted they use a pre-mix concoction. So I asked if it would be ok to change to a margarita. Same deal - pre-mixed concoction, although this tasted significantly worse than my first drink. My girlfriend had a cosmo which she thought was just ok. I tried it and thought the same. I switched to beer because really, you can't screw that up. The point is, the approach they have to mixed drinks appears to be nothing more than mixes.
2.) SERVICE - In both instances, we felt our servers were just ok. They just both seemed dis-interested, and barely made an effort to be anything more than marginally cordial. I like to tip well. But it just annoys me to tip 18-20% when someone is doing nothing more than going through the motions and seems annoyed to have to even be friendly.
3.) FOOD - See above. It's just hit or miss.
--- OVERALL ---
It's not a cheap place to eat. So when you feel like the drinks are terrible, the service marginal and the food hit or miss, you walk away just feeling like you would have been better off making dinner at home or just going elsewhere. I hate to give the place such a scathing review, but considering both experiences were fairly similar, it feels less like an isolated incident and more like a way of doing business.
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