I’m always amused when I flip through a London dining guide that’s organized by cuisine and the restos listed in the “American” section are a who’s who of mega-chains: Chili’s, Hard Rock Cafe, Rainforest Cafe . . .Well, my snobbish ways had a (small) comeuppance when I found myself at All Star Lanes this week for a team-bonding event (ahh, the modern workplace). The place is so retro-romanticized that it has nothing in common with a normal (dark, loud, slightly-seedy) bowling alley, except for the fact that there are lanes and bowling balls. And you know, I was never a fan of bowling alleys, so I think the retro-romanticized thing is a real improvement.There’s a large diner section offering a TGIF menu – burgers, quesadillas, ribs – and servers who wear poodle skirts. The quesadillas were hot and cheesy, and the fried calamari were fresh from the fryer, so no complaints. I was pretty psyched for my meatball sub, but it was sadly far from Jersey-style. Small meatballs that were slightly sugary, an overwhelingly-meaty-and-sweet tomato sauce, and a thin layer of provolone that hadn’t melted.I did enjoy my chocolate milkshake, though. Thick and creamy. Came in a pretty glass.
The bowling shoes were stylin’ velcro and – most importantly – clean. The lanes included bar service, so the buckets o’ beer didn’t have to stop. As team bonding events go, this one was low-key and fun. It was like going to American in Epcot Center. And I’d go back for the milkshakes.