Two stars instead of one because (a) the waitstaff couldn't have been nicer and (b) my 80-year-old mother liked her bluefish.
This is one of those places that has a 10-page, six-different-font, incredibly dense menu of everything from crab soup to chicken parmesan. It serves huge quantities at very reasonable prices. But with variety and volume high, and price being low, the only way to make it all work is to serve dishes made with low-cost ingredients, which the chefs are unable to overcome.
I started off with a bowl of cream of crab soup. At $3.20 it was a steal. When I got it, I thought there were lumps of starch left in the soup, but it turned out to be the crabmeat. From what I could tell, they used canned flaked crab from overseas, which, since it is already cooked, becomes mush when re-cooked in soup.
Likewise, the shrimp and crab mornay had 5 decent shrimp, but what looked like dried flour lumps or parmesan cheese. It turned out to be more of that same crabmeat, again mushy due to apparently being recooked a second time in the mornay sauce. The linguini was overcooked; with just a minute or two less, it could have been al dente and helped rescue the dish.
The dinner rolls were large and smelled fabulous, but they were wet on the bottom; not sure if they were bottom-steamed and then plopped on a plate, or if the butter/margarine in the dough just soaked the bottom as it cooked. At any rate, the top half was fine.
Tossed salad was iceberg, and dressings were clearly Sysco-type, although they came in huge plastic cups.
One last odd thing: they seem to be trying to hide the "Golden" in their name. The windows shout, "THE golden DOVE DINER!", with "golden" so small you can barely read it. Even on their website the "golden" is tiny in the logo. Sort of weird.
So this restaurant's heart is in the right place, and the waitstaff was great to us, but the sacrifices in taste and food consistency they have to make to get the quanities and prices where they want them make this a tough place to recommend...unless you are my dear old mom.
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