There are just times when I crave comfort food. Like my weekly hamburger urges, I get semi-monthly cravings for chicken fried steak. There are few places in greater San Diego that serve this king of comfort food that always includes gravy and mashed potatoes.
The Lake Murray Cafe is quite close to my home on Mt Helix in East San Diego and when my last comfort food attack struck me last week I decided to give it another go.
You know a place has to be pretty good when the parking lot is almost always full and the three times I've dine here it's been that way. The crowd is mixed with the majority, at least for the lunch crowd, being families and retirees. And that's reflected on the menu with a nicely discounted senior and kid menu.
The last two times I've visited the cafe I've ordered the chicken fried steak dinner for seniors for about $9. They serve dinner beginning at 11 a.m. The ultimate geezer hour.
You can pretty well judge a comfort food dining establishment by it's chicken fried steak and I will have to give them pretty high marks for their effort. The portions are large but not as gigantic hang-over-platter servings I've had in the past. But for me it was fine, I wasn't hopelessly full when I finished, but I certainly felt I got my monies worth.
The steak was very tender, suspiciously tender, so I don't know if they started with some kind of processed steak or not. I'll check on that. The it tasted fine and had a perfect non-soggy breaded crust topped with white gravy that had excellent flavor and not flavored with some institutional powdered gravy mix. The mixed corn, bell pepper and squash dish was delightful and fresh, not watery canned stuff you get in a lot of comfort food joints... like the Chicken Pie Shop.
The mashed potatoes were the real deal and mixed with a few chives. I like the fact that there were a few lumps testifying that these were truly fresh mashed spuds. The roll was impressive to behold, but a bit on the undone side in the middle.
The service was good, with servers, who look like they would call you hon if you were a regular. All in all a good experience and I'll be back again with the urge descends. I think I'll try their burger next.
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