Sunday, January 15, 2012

The Diner: newest to Columbia's dining scene

First, let me admit.  The Food Truck Rodeo at Crosshill Market was our original destination.  However, two hours into the event, we arrived to find lines for some trucks that (I swear) were 100 people long.  I realize that last night's event was very heavily attended, but honestly, any mobile food biz should be able to turn faster than that.  That is the nature of the food truck, by definition.  I want this trend to work in Columbia, but so far, it's not working like it does in the big cities where the concept originated. 

So, anyway, with temps in the 40's and two kids with us, it became apparent quite quickly that this wasn't going to work for us.  So, instead, we turned our sights on the new "The Diner" which was just next door.  They just opened this week, so we all went in with the clear understanding that they would surely be working through some kinks and growing pains, as any new restaurant does.  It's for that reason that I'm not even casting a vote on Urbanspoon yet because I'm a fair person; they need more time to get their groove on before I really make up my mind.

Anyway, some friends have already asked for my two cents' worth on last night's dinner, so here goes:

First, we had to wait a bit, but not overly long.  However, the vestibule of this place is quite small.  That means when people are waiting for a table, the entrance to the restaurant becomes quite congested and there's nowhere to go.  We also learned that moving us to the bar (the open area adjacent to the hostess stand) wasn't possible because kids aren't allowed "in the bar."  Not to nit-pick semantics, but why does a classic diner need a "bar?"  A place to pour beer and wine and mix up drinks, yes.  But am I going to go to my neighborhood DINER as my regular bar hangout?  Not likely.  Ok, not at all.

Once seated, we ordered the fried pickles and cheese sticks to share.  The cheese sticks were very good....cheesy, gooey, and dusted with herbs.  The pickles were also well seasoned, crispy and came with a remoulade sauce which I think had a touch of horseradish (nice touch.)  Henry's pickles are still my favorite but these were a very close 2nd.  

Kids menu:  Sarah (my god-daughter) is a grilled cheese aficionada.  She was pleased with her sandwich because it featured more than one type of cheese, was gooey and "stretchy" but she commented that the bread was greasy.  Maybe next time we can ask for light butter on the outside of the bread.  My Vivian ordered the kids cheeseburger, which received her signature "10 thumbs up" but she could only eat 1/2 of it.  

Grown-ups:  Mike chose the meatloaf.  I have to rely on him here since I am not a meatloaf eater and really know nothing about the stuff.  It was a thick slice served with mashed potatoes and green beans. He commented that the meatloaf was very nice but wasn't sure about whether the mashed potatoes were homemade.  Euge and I both ordered the "Daddy's Bleu Burger."  It was a pretty well done patty, but not cooked beyond recognition.  This burger has onion, jalapeno and bleu cheese mixed into the patty.  We both felt it was nicely flavored but while we could certainly pick up the jalapeno, neither of us could detect the bleu cheese.  The fries were flavorful but I would have liked them to be crispier.  

Finally, the girls wanted to order the hot fudge brownie for dessert.  Granted, I'm not a sweet-freak, so I'm probably not the best judge here.  It was tasty, the kids loved it, but let's be honest...what has to happen to a brownie that a kid won't love it?

The food was certainly not bad but it didn't knock my socks off either.  But, let me clear about this.  I truly believe that all new businesses, especially restaurants, have to get in the groove and work into their skin.  I am pretty confident that this place will evolve into a very nice addition to our dining scene.  I hope that the opening of The Diner and soon the Whole Foods right behind it will both be responsible for breathing new life into this area and bring more new biz with them.  Try out The Diner.  The menu looks very nice and I'm sure the entire experience will simply continue to improve with time.  It's only the first week, after all.  And P.S....we had EXCELLENT service.  That is a huge check mark!
The Diner on Urbanspoon

No comments:

Post a Comment


Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...