AS A SPORTS BAR, Alberta Substation is great: Massive TVs and projection screens on every wall face scores of clean, spacious booths, raised tables, and comfortable barstools. The beautiful mirrored wall of liquor—six shelves, 20-some-feet high—is a smartly stocked library, and mixed well by the staff.

It is also a restaurant, though, with a big and somewhat ambitious menu. Dinner for three here ranged from $60-80 with a round of drinks and a 20 percent tip, and in a town where that's about 10 percent of someone's rent, the mediocrity you get in return is enough to get your blood up.

First, the good. Silly as this might sound, Station Big Mac ($11.25), which is a large-scale rendition of the "two all-beef patties, special sauce, lettuce, cheese, pickles, onions, on a sesame-seed bun" jingle, was the only completely successful item we tried.

After that, the downhill slide into I'd-like-to-see-the-chef-eat-this begins where the menu does.

It seems pointless to go on running up the score. The picture is as clear as the HD units on the walls: Have dinner somewhere else before catching the game.

- CHRIS ONSTAD

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