I first heard about Karen's Kitchen about three years ago when the office I work in had a pot luck. Someone brought the potato salad from Karen's and it was so delicious that I just had to visit the restaurant to sample some of the other food. Due to it's close proximity to my apartment, Karen's had become a pretty regular hangout over the last couple of years, but since starting this blog, my visits here have been infrequent at best. One night several days ago, I left the office earlier than usual and decided to stop by Karen's on the way home.
It was already 8:00 pm, but the shop was quite crowded when I arrived. In fact, Karen's seems to draw a steady crowd no matter what time of day it is, even though it is in a small strip mall in a mostly industrial area of town.
Tonight, I decided to have the hamburger steak with macaroni salad (US$6.95).
A huge piece of hamburger "steak" was topped with mushrooms and onions before being covered with lots of brown gravy. The plate also came with two scoops white rice and some macaroni salad. Delicious is how I'll describe this thick, well-seasoned piece of hamburger. I'd probably go as far as saying that this is one of the better hamburger steak plates that I've had the pleasure of eating. The gravy is the perfect consistency, though it can be a little salty at times. The macaroni salad here is good too -- mixed in with all of the elbow macaroni, you'll find pieces of egg and potato as well.
For dessert, I had a slice of blueberry cream pie (US$2.50).
Although the blueberries used as topping for this pie are probably canned (?), the crust is flakey and definitely homemade. The cream filling is dense and rich without being overly sweet.
On another night recently, I had the hamburger curry with tossed salad (US$4.95).
First of all, I have to mention the fact that the girl behind that counter was very nice. It was late, a little after 8:00 pm, and when I had ordered the hamburger curry, she ended up putting whatever was left in the warmer into the "bowl" which is probably why the portion looks so huge here. In fact, I couldn't eat it all. The curry was very meaty and just slightly spicy, not really spicy enough for my tastes. I got a lot of salad with some wonderful "oriental" style dressing that had the taste and armoa of sesame oil.
On the same evening, I decided to go home with a slice of the key lime pie (US$2.50)
When I ate this, my first thought was that it was really good. I liked the graham cracker style crust and the key lime filling, which was thick and custard-y, was just the right tartness. The whipped cream topping was sprinkled with something as well. I couldn't really taste what it was, but my guess is grated lime zest. Anyone know what it is?
The food here at Karen's is good without being fussy, and fresh, just like homemade. The people here are helpful and friendly, making this a great place to eat at. Taking the prices into consideration, the portions here can be considered extremely generous, thereby making a meal here a great bargain.
614 Cooke Street