Archive for Thursday, February 5, 1998

FAMILY RESTAURANT HITS THE SPOT

February 5, 1998

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Hearty portions and a variety of choices are Country Kitchen's winning combination.

In the land of perpetual breakfast chain "family style" restaurants, normalcy and regularity rule.

Country Kitchen, 1511 W. 23rd, is no exception. It's comfortable, mainstream and has plenty of dishes for every appetite and palate.

You can find 'most anything there, from lighter meal-sized salads to hearty entrees to classic burgers to, yes, even a short stack with syrup.

Of course, the establishment offers the ever-popular American grazing bin, the salad bar, filled with fresh greens and a variety of fresh vegetables (except the carrots, which looked like they had made a trip through a food dehydrator).

There were four kinds of picnic-style noodle dishes, a cheese sauce (what it was supposed to top is anyone's guess) and a Calico Bean Soup that looked incredible.

We began the meal with the Country Sampler appetizer ($7.29). When the platter of fried chicken strips, onion rings, potato skins and fried cheese sticks arrived, with three dipping sauces, we hesitated momentarily, expressed a nominal amount of guilt for what we were about to do and proceeded to dig in. God bless America, my friends. It was good.

We opted for a meal of sandwiches and added the ample salad bar for only $1.50 extra, each. The entrees looked tempting as well, with Rainbow Trout ($7.29), Pasta Alfredo ($6.79) and Smothered Chicken ($6.99). Lo and behold, the salad bar is included if you order an entree.

Our sandwiches arrived promptly: one classic Patty Melt ($5.29) and one Deluxe Clubhouse ($6.29), both sided with a heaping pile of seasoned

(heavily salted and peppered) french fries.

Halfway through our delicious meal, we realized we had completely forgotten the salad bar. The greens called out to us. Although our stomachs said no, our quest for knowledge led us on.

We each made tiny green hills on our fresh plates, chose from an array of salad dressings and picked a few fresh vegetables for good measure.

Back at the table, our dutiful server noted our eating pace had slowed. We packed the rest of our meals in to-go boxes and didn't even think about dessert. If we had left some room, we might have sampled a slice of fruit pie ($1.99), an ice cream sundae ($2.29) or other treats. Maybe next time I'll skip the old Country Sampler.

At a grand total of $20 the dinner was not cheap, but quite hearty and decadent and served well.

If eggs and hash browns are more your style, you'll be pleased to know Country Kitchen now offers its famous weekend breakfast buffet every morning of the week for only $4.95.

Now if I could just get them to add macaroni and cheese to the menu ...

-- The Mag's phone message number is 832-7146. Send e-mail to biles@ljworld.com.

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