At first glace, Ralphy's in Edgware looks like a place you want to go to. Itís billed as a "traditional kosher New York Grill Restaurant full of American classics", so with that in mind we entered on a Sunday.
We like the welcoming environment, the free but somewhat salty corn chips and salsa, the kids friendly atmosphere with booster seats and the chargrilled smelling atmosphere.
The menu is big from burgers to chicken, but a big menu doesn't mean anything unless the food is good and sadly however fantastic is the environment, you are going to a restaurant to eat, not just sit down in a seat. And that's where Ralphy's was a major let down.
We tried its chicken soup (£4.50) with noodles and while the noodles were soft, the actual soup itself seemed to be heavily seasoned with salt. So we only managed to get through a third of the big bowl before stopping.
We also tried one of its combo starters. We opted for the mix fire poppers, buffalo wings and a pastrami eggroll (£12.95). The fire poppers are pieces of boneless chicken in a sauce, alas this was quite salty. Buffalo wings were rather decent and quite tasty but the pastrami eggroll seemed to be slices of pastrami inside the eggroll and cut in half. It lacked any real taste and was not very inspiring
We then moved onto the main course. A burger was ordered with fries (£7.95). On the side was some coleslaw, the burger was very average. The fries appeared to be overcooked and not at all appealing, too many small bits of potatoes served within the portion of fries and also quite greasy at the same time. These were not exactly the best fries. We also tried a crispy chicken cutlet. A decent sized piece of chicken coated in a very hard type of topping meaning that the knife supplied was not ideally suited for cutting it. A steak knife should have been supplied with it. And like many of the other dishes we tried, this piece of chicken appeared very salty. Another chicken dish was also sampled - a plain piece of grilled chicken, this was tasty enough.
We also had a couple soft drinks and the total bill come in at around £48. Very poor value for what was served. Despite a 10% service charge notice for groups of eight or more, we were a group of four and yet they also automatically added the service charge. Not good practice.
The problem with Ralphy's is that is promises much but leaves much to be desired. To claim to be a "traditional kosher New York Grill Restaurant" you need to actually deliver. That means free coleslaw and pickles. It doesn't mean charging extra for pickles.
It also means providing food that makes you want to recommend to others as well as coming back yourself for more.
Overall a disappointing experience and poor value.
For more information: www.ralphys.com