Friday, February 18, 2011

IKEA 99-cent 10-Piece Meatball Dinner Promotion Feb 17-20

I first caught wind this nationwide deal perusing RedFlagDeals. I've always known IKEA had a restaurant, but have been warned to stay away and save my money. But 99 cents for 10 meatballs and mash? That's pretty safe to try I guess, so I went to line up at the Richmond branch of Ikea at about 6:30PM.

The lineup was pretty massive and it took a good 25 minutes before I even got to the cash register to pay for my food. I must say the management there prepared for this very well as there were staff there handing out free "Daim" candies to the people in line. These are Swedish chocolate covered hard caramel candies that they sell at their food section for about $7 per 400g bag. These were pretty darn good. Next time I have a chocolate fix I may come by and pick up a bag.

Since it was questionable if I would make it through the lineup again if I was still hungry, I got 2 plates of the meatball dinner. The choice of sides were mash or fries. I got one of each, and just so I don't feel like a total cheapskate, I also got one of their regular priced pieces of garlic bread at a whopping 50 cents :-P

Each plate of meatballs came with a ladle of thin gravy and a scoop of lingonberry jam. So was it worth the wait? The meatballs were tender and very mildly spiced. They reminded me of the Michelina's frozen dinner stroganoff meatballs. You could tell they were highly processed and slightly freezer burned. Not surprising since you can often pick up the frozen dinner versions for 99 cents too. IKEA also sells these meatballs frozen at their Swedish Food Market. You're basically paying them to rip open these bags and heat them up for you.

The thin gravy did not add much to the meatballs and were severely lacking in flavor itself. Although the fries were not oily, they were all limp and not crisp at all - even the ones not smothered in gravy. The mash potatoes were just that: potatoes. I could not taste any salt, butter, or garlic. Definitely go for the fries here. They were not good fries by any definition, but were much better than the mash. The garlic bread was soggy and didn't have much garlic taste either.

The saving grace of the meal was the lingonberry jam. This was sweet, tangy and delightful, and tasted like a mix of strawberry and raspberry jam, minus the seeds. This went well with everything: the meatballs, fries, and mash were jazzed up nicely with this fusion of sweet and savory. I love this stuff! I have a lot of jam at home already or I would have picked up a jar from their Swedish food store.

Unfortunately, you're not given nearly enough jam to go around. I had to resort to salting my own fries, shaking my own pepper and adding vinegar to make the flavors more palatable. The whole meal reminded me of a frozen dinner, and I guess at 99 cents, that's acceptable. Would I pay the regular $4.99 for a plate of this stuff again? I'm kind of torn. If they let me get more jam, then yes. Otherwise, probably no.

Now the jam left me with a bit of a sweet tooth, but the lineup was too long for me to go get a piece of dessert from their somewhat wide and tasty looking selection. Luckily, they also have a "Bistro" downstairs that featured frozen yogurts for $1 - and 10 times shorter lineup. I noticed that they also sell self-dressed hotdogs here for 50 cents each and they were going at quite a pace. I will have to come back some other time to try one.

The yogurt was very large for $1, and very smooth and creamy. It was just the right amount of sweetness and thoroughly enjoyable. I will remember these in the summer when it's sweltering and I need a frozen treat.

If you happen to miss this 99-cent 10 piece meatball dinner deal, they also have a 15 piece meatball meal promotion that will last until April from what I heard. It's also a pretty safe price point to try if you want to see what their food is like.


Pros:
-cheap 

Cons:
-cheap
-you get what you paid for, pretty much just reheating frozen foods for you.
-mostly flavorless food, requires some self-assembly (seasoning)
-more of a cafeteria than restaurant. You bus your own tray and get most of your own food.

Notes:
-ample parking in IKEA lot
-prepare for a LONG lineup if you're going for the 99-cent deal this weekend

Website and Menu:
Richmond, BC: http://www.ikea.com/ca/en/store/richmond/restaurant
National: http://www.ikea.com/ms/en_CA/IKEA_Food/restaurant.html

IKEA Restaurant & Cafe on Urbanspoon

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