A long time ago, this place was an excursion for most people who lived in the Valley. One went there to eat in the desert. (What remains of that desert is dismaying.) The steaks were the primary goal of the ‘long’ drive; everything else was secondary. Oh, and you visited to see how the “wild west” viewed the objet principal of “city life”- neckties. So it was with these nostalgic memories and finding myself in the now citified desert, we had supper at this iconic Valley restaurant.
The gravel “parking lot” should give you an impression of what you might expect at this kind of restaurant. The façade of the building has changed little over the decades. Timing it correctly, we were immediately seated. Walking through the sawdust covering the floor with thousands of neckties hanging from the rafters brought back that happy childhood memory. Our server clad in blue jeans, plaid Pendleton-like blouse, and boots took our order. We started with the fried zucchini and mushroom appetizer. One of us had the ½ chicken; the other had the salmon salad. (The days of eating beef are long over. Can’t say too much or the Texas businessmen cum ranchers might sue me. If you’re looking for a carnivore review, please read others.) We ended with desert, the all-American apple pie ala mode. As the driver, the drinks were limited to iced tea.
The appetizer didn’t set the stage for a pleasant meal. While the zucchini was passable, the mushrooms were still partially frozen and were not only cold but squirt water when you bit into them. It wasn’t yet that busy in the restaurant, so what was going on in the kitchen? My dining companion said nothing, so I decided to follow suit.
Thankfully, food improved greatly with the arrival of the entrees. The salmon was a bit overcooked. (Fish is finicky and most cooks overcook it.) Other than that it was seasoned well and was tasty. The same could be said for the chicken. Again, it was a bit overcooked leading to a bit of dryness, but the seasonings used on it were superb. In fact, we both agreed it was the highlight of the entire meal.
The meals are served with a generous salad, “cowboy beans,” and bread and butter. Not much to say about a simple iceberg lettuce salad but, as a salad lover, even the bottom end of salads is fine with me. The bread was also OK, but not the standout it could be with a bit more effort. The beans were excellent. Again the seasoning used really made these quite tasty and fit the meal perfectly.
The apple pie ala mode was sticky sweet. The apples were also a bit overcooked- see a pattern in the kitchen? We know that American food is generally very sweet and/or salty, so this was more-or-less expected. The vanilla ice cream was good, but again, could have been better and bit more vanilla-y.
Most of the servers were not young things with little experience. Thus the service was quite good and what you might expect from servers who probably have been doing this job for a very long time.
We were there on a day a band played. Live music is my thing, but only if the singers can sing. You can only beat the drums so loudly and turn up the amplifier on the guitar so much, but nothing could drown out these awful out-of-tune singers. Surely there have to be a few more country bands in the Valley who need a gig. Please apply: this place needs you…desperately!
Overall, what started out rather unpleasantly, nasty “shrooms,” turned into a decent meal. It was helped along by someone who knows their spices and how to use them correctly. The music would have made it even better if it had been sung in key. (If I had not been driving, a beer- two or three- might have helped.) But it was the nostalgia of re-visiting this place, a long ago memory buried deep within the recesses of my mind. Maybe it was this memory that helped me always look for employment that didn’t require a necktie. (They are from all over the world if you read the cards on them.) The atmosphere definitely helps make the food more palatable. If it weren’t for that, this place would likely not survive. But, again, this is written as a non-steak eater.
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.