Saturday, December 1, 2007

McFadden's is da BOMB! (literally)


I hadn't heard too many positive comments about the new Power and Light addition, McFadden's Saloon, so I thought I'd walk over one night this past week to give it a try. It was about 9:00, a bit late for dinner, but I was hungry from the busy day. There was a concert in progress across the street at the Sprint Center which held the crowds down at the bar. I walked right in, showed my ID at the door and was instantly taken-aback at how loud the music was. Not the atmosphere I'd expected in a restaurant. Maybe I'd come too late and the place had already switched into night club mode?

On a positive note, however, the place was really beautiful! I loved the three distinct bars, the hardwood floors, and the unique "double-spinning" ceiling fans--nice touch. The developers did a fantastic job in laying this place out!! Too bad though that they didn't incorporate any sound-absorbing materials into their design. The music was over-the-top loud to an almost uncomfortable pitch, reverberating off the concrete and glass. I almost left for that reason alone, but decided to stay because I was really hungry and needed a beer.

Sitting at the corner bar, closest to the Sprint Center, the bartender asked me what I'd like to drink (I think). I wasn't feeling too creative, so a Bud Light draft (no bottle for me, thanks) was ordered. But the bartender couldn't hear me… I practically had to YELL my order at him, as he stood three feet from me on the other side of the bar. Yes, it was THAT loud. I also asked him for a menu, using my best hand gestures to describe what I needed. Mental note: next time, bring a small dry-erase board for easier communication.

The menu looked pretty standard, offering all of the usual sports bar fare, but I had heard that the Philly cheesesteak sandwich was one of their signature meals. So that's what I ordered. It was fairly priced at about $7.00, and included fries. Great! I was starving, so the meal could not be prepared fast enough!!

So far, on a scale of 1-10, I'm enjoying this new joint about a "6" mostly due to the obnoxiously loud music… A basketball game was on, but there was no sound, I assume. Would have been nice to have heard the game, perhaps, as I waited on my order. The bartender tried to strike up a conversation, but I couldn't hear him, so I just nodded, looking off toward another area of the pub to not encourage any further attempts at communication. I know I'm getting old and probably need to get a hearing aid, but this was crazy! It would really suck to sit here at one of the fine tables with a small group of friends, just looking at them, wondering what they might want to talk about.

When the food arrived in good time, I was surprised at how greasy the sandwich was. The flavor was fair, but the bread it came out on was loaded with steak and cheese grease. Not too attractive. At least I had some decent looking fries---that ended up tasting horrible. How can you screw up FRIES?! There was absolutely no seasoning, and they were 100% flavorless, tasting like over-cooked nothing served with a side of nothing, covered in a special sauce of nothingness. They reminded me of chewing paper, perhaps? Only paper would have more flavor--especially the college-ruled kind, yet not quite "Big Chief Tablet." Half a bottle of ketchup easily fixed the issue.

And being the excellent eater that I am, I never leave food behind, always creating a Happy Plate. This time was different. My mother would understand, and would let me up from the table to go play without finishing my meal, knowing that she'd failed me in some horrible, life-altering way.

My perception of the restaurant has now dropped from a "6" to a "3," although I should probably give a couple extra bonus points just for the cool look of the place. It has potential, but two out of three strikes on a first visit? We'll just have to see how this place does… Others I've spoken with have said roughly the same things, giving McFadden's lukewarm reviews at best, describing the venue as "too corporate." If I had a choice, I'd easily go across the street to Willie's next time for a better meal and a place where I can at least hear the waitstaff without having to play charades to place an order!

Upon leaving, I glanced through the large pane-glass windows of Vinino next door to the north and noticed a dim, relaxed-looking, comfortable atmosphere--although lacking any kind of a crowd. There were candles on the tables and the bar looked impressive. It will be my next stop on the never-ending tour of KC bars, and will be reviewed on this site in due time....

I promise to give McFadden's a second chance to impress--you should always allow for that. It does scare me slightly though, that this place may not survive. It's a "cool" addition to downtown; it just needs to work out a few kinks to keep people coming back.

5 comments:

  1. I agree with the music being too loud. But when I was there they had already shifted in to "night club" mode.

    I've been told to think of J.J.'s on the plaza when considering Vinino's But I'll wait to make up my own mind when I get a chase to go.

    ReplyDelete
  2. This does not sound good. Like you said, how do you screw up fries? Lets hope they don't run the place with a "tourist trap" mentality.

    ReplyDelete
  3. Give it time. I live out by the Legends, and as restaurants were just starting to open several of my experiences (as well as others I know) were mediocre/bad. All of those restaurants improved with time. Once they get a bit established, filter out the good servers from the bad servers, and get a kitchen staff that knows what they are doing I am sure the experience will improve. Either that or they will soon be replaced with another store front.
    Given my experience with the Legends, I would say patience is a virtue.
    Or you could write them a letter and ask them to TURN IT DOWN.

    ReplyDelete
  4. McFadden's is for sure the worst bar in KC of all time. Firstly, the music consists of every song you never wanted to hear. The staff is subpar and the drinks are weak. If you want to go to a bar with a 4 to 1 guy to girl ratio and wait for 45 minutes in line for the bathroom, this is your place. Otherwise, I'd recommend waiting for other bars downtown to open before venturing back down to McFadden's.

    ReplyDelete
  5. I can see the notion of "just opened work out the kinks thing" but when your corporate with bucks you should already have that accomplished before opening. It comes down to it's a 'cattle drive' to sell as much liquor as possible to whoever will buy it. I look for places non-corporate. Will there be any Downtown besides Willies? Is there anybody local that believes in Kansas City or can they just not afford it? Go to Chicago downtown...lots of local flavor, architecturally cool...some history!
    I don't think bringing Johnson County type establishments to downtown is the long term answer.
    What do I know!! I've only had 3 guiness!!!

    ReplyDelete