Observations on Food in the Bay Area
On Bayshore, in Burlingame. Suffice it to say that this wasn't exactly a destination restaurant experience, but that I ended up there for lunch recently.
Upon first viewing the building as we pulled into the largely empty parking lot, it was immediately clear that we were about to enter a place that really thought it was in the early 1800s, except that it didn't quite know what the early 1800s were really like. Passing the large, dark wood doors we came to realize just what an experience this would be. The walls were lined, nay, nearly wallpapered with odds and ends intended to make one feel as if one had been transported 200 years back in time - pipes, artwork of Gulliver's Travels, olde-fashioned plates, and more knick-knacks than you've likely seen in one place at once. The kitchen in the back had an impressive array of clean, shiny copper pots and kettles hanging from the ceiling in front of it which were clearly for no more than decoration. A harpsichord plinked tunefully from the speakers in the ceiling. And the waitstaff... oh, the waitstaff. The poor, poor waitstaff. Let's just say that in some situations (a fancy Japanese restaurant perhaps, or some truly authentic German Biergartens) the staff can be dressed in authentic costume garb and it works. Here, it didn't. You could almost feel the souls being sucked out of them. Right before the eau de armpit wafted in our direction (lightly disguised by a layer of tasteful cologne, which gradually dissolved leaving a wonderfully sweaty after-nose). I'm guessing not all those costumes get cleaned quite as regularly as they ought.
Anyway, their specialty being prime rib, we figured we'd go whole hog.
I'll give them this - the bread was warm, hearty, and quite tasty with a nice rough, crunchy crust. Perhaps the single best part of the meal.
The prime rib, a massive portion probably on the order of 10 or 12 ounces, came served with the most overcooked husk of a Yorkshire pudding I've yet seen, a sliced pile of baked potato dusted with something which looked like a spice, yet tasted of nothing at all, some basic green beans (which were suprisingly crisp and actually pretty good), and a rather frightening mini-bowl of creamed corn, which could have come out of a can as easily as any other preparation method, except I've had canned corn which was far better. OH! And let me not forget the accompanying horseradish, which seemed more mayonnaise than horseradish. What a frighteningly dry looking, bland consistency. The beef itself was reasonably good in the center, where it was actually medium rare. The surrounding inch, however, was tough enough to the knife that I didn't venture to sample its consistency on my palate, even though the large cup of au jus was probably sufficient to soften it some.
What would I say? Well, I've had better buffet food. I've also had worse buffet food, but this being a restaurant which claims to do prime rib as their specialty (and actually had a number of Best Of awards upon their entryway walls. Um, how on earth did that happen?), I shouldn't find myself forced to compare it to a buffet as the nearest competitor in quality.
Save yourself and your kin from the pity you'd be stuck with, and go elsewhere. Preferably far, far away.