Every year our big family has been going to Christmas in Hershey and Hoss's is the dinner spot they choose before the ride home. This the first year my wife and I have been able to go. The whole trip was great until dinner. Our family always spoke highly of this establishment and we were looking forward to trying it. Wow major disappointment and the family even agreed this year.
I will start with service.
When we arrived there was a major lackluster greeting it seemed as though we had intruded upon their evening with our large party. The impression I myself got was that if you weren't locals you weren't important as two other parties arrived shortly after us and were greeted like old friends.
The setup of this place is odd, when you arrive you place your order before being seated but in my opinion ordering blind like that is not right. A lot of times I have no idea what I am in the mood for and when sitting at the table I am able to see what looks good coming from the kitchen to other patrons to highlight this point I must say as I was sitting with the family I saw several plates that came out which peaked my interest, one was a burger and another was what looked to be a sirloin.
The server brought everyone's drinks out but had no idea who ordered what drink. This was rather inconvenient being that the family was in full conversation with each other. Again when the food ( I will review the food shortly) starting coming out of the kitchen it was complete nonsense as the food runner had no idea who ordered what. I will say though as members of our party started finishing their dishes the server lady was quick to remove the soiled plates from the table clearing up space but in doing so she managed to snag my wife's plate before she was even done eating, there was still a third of the meal on the plate when she swooped in and took it. There was zero indication this plate was done, for crying out loud my wife was still holding her fork when she looked down and saw her dinner was no longer in front of her.
Through out this whole experience I was struggling to understand what exactly the role of server is in this restaurant. The only thing our server did was refill our drinks and take dishes away but yet a tip is still expected. What percentage do you tip someone for not really doing much? This place would be better off with a self service drink station and station to put your dirty dishes when your done almost like a cafeteria. After all of this some of our party was still working on dessert they had gotten at the dessert station and I kept noticing the "server" walking back and forth past the door way as if she was getting impatient with us. Back and forth and back and forth pacing it was 8:30 at night and no line at the door what is the rush.
On the way out we didn't even receive a " have a great evening or something along those lines" from the Host/order taker which was just leaning against the wall at the register terminal.
Now for the food. I have seen several reviews saying how nice the salad bar was. So this is where I will start, yes the salad bar was the only highlight to our experience. They had several lettuce options as well as toppings but if a salad bar is the center piece they should have offered real bacon bits to go along with the hard stall fake baco's they offered. Why not have a seafood salad or macaroni salad? The dressing options were limited which I was surprised by considering my local grocery store offers at least twice the amount of dressing options. However a nice surprise which I thought was great was the ability to make a plate of nachos. That is a refreshing take on things and I have to say bravo for that.
The soup options at most salad bars are limited to two sometimes three but not here they offered four which is nice to see but unfortunately they didn't offer a vegetarian option which excluded some of our party from enjoying a cup of hot soup after a long cold day. I myself did try their ham pot pie soup and enjoyed the large dumplings but there was an odd after taste which I for one found off putting and difficult to describe, the only thing I could think that would have caused this would be to much salt in combination with a low grade cut ham. The ham at both the salad bar and in the soup was a deeper color red then what I find to be normal it, was similar in color to supermarket beef.
My wife ordered the salmon dish which came out looking like it had been boiled which tells me a it was a frozen low grade cut possibly farm raised. The kitchen tried to dress up the salmon by dusting it with flavorless paprika. The baked potato was okay and she enhanced it with some sour cream making the only enjoyable part of the dish. I find the price for the dish in relation to what was served very unbalanced as what appeared to be maybe a 4oz or 5oz portion of fish and baked potato was $14.95. For that price a side of steamed veggies should have been included which would have completed the dish nicely and not made the dish appear small in relation to the plate.
I ordered the Hoss's Famous stuffed chicken breast which looked great in the picture and sound delightful by description. Well for starters the stuffing was pretty good but being wrapped inside a piece of chicken that had the chewy texture of microwaved food and a hard over broiled crust, which was literally the chicken no breading in this dish, I found it to be rather repulsive and difficult to eat. The dish came with a plastic cup of gravy which when dumped on top made it slightly better. The mashed potatoes had a strange flavor which I can only guess to be either instant mash or pre-made bagged mash and to my dismay the gravy did not help the flavor. I am not able to comment on the dessert options as we did not have any by the time we got to this part of the meal were so frustrated and disappointed we just call it a night.
This review is strictly the opinion of my wife and I and we would have rated this place as terrible but there were highlights expressed by the other family members which boosted it to poor.
I truly hate writing reviews like this but I do so because I want to help others avoid the same disappointment we experienced. I also do so in the hopes that the establishment comes across my review and takes it for what it is worth and looks into the issues in an attempt to better their restaurant and make it enjoyable for future guests.
If you own or manage Hoss's Steak & Sea House, register now for free tools to enhance your listing, attract new reviews, and respond to reviewers.