This restaurant has been on my list to visit since the first time I saw it. Why? Every time I drive by this place there is always people waiting outside. All these people couldn't be wrong, could they? I finally decided to stop and, when I did, I waited for a half an hour to get in.
When I was finally seated, I was taken back by the buzz of the place. The décor caught my eye in this place. I saw palm trees and car parts. The overall building was made to resemble an old surf shop. I felt the sometimes the furnishings were trying too hard. I could get into the hubcaps hanging from the ceiling, however, the retro sparkle red booths seemed to be out of place.
I finally had a chance to look at the menu and the server brought me some chips and salsa. I could tell right away that this salsa was fresh and made with fresh ingredients. Although I was not the biggest fan of the salsa, I could appreciate the flavors and I believe most of Picky Nation will enjoy it.
The menu was full of options. Just not many for me. I finally went with the Baja tacos. I told the server I did not want any creamy jalapeño sauce and it was no problem. Then, to my surprise, she offered me an option to get one taco with fish and one with shrimp. I was excited to get both!
When my order came, I was surprised with the freshness of the dish. I was, however, disappointed with the jalapenos on my lettuce. It proved not to be a problem. I decided I would try the refried beans. I had never had any before but there was something about these that had a certain draw to them. Much like a carnival game, you know you will more than likely lose but you have to play. To my surprise I won the toy! These beans were fantastic. They were like a more creamy version of brown beans, or as the south says, soup beans.
The deliciousness did not stop there. The Mexican rice was fresh and with good flavor. Unfortunately as you can see, the rice was up against a helping of Pico de Gallo. I ate up until the division line and stopped. I finally came to the tacos. What happens next will probably not surprise you.
The fish in the taco was crisp and warm. The tortilla was just right. The flavors were bursting all over my taste buds as if there was a secret ingredient. The shrimp taco proved to be just as exciting. Crispy and fresh with lettuce on top. The only thing I could complain about is that there wasn't any more. My mouth is watering as I am telling you about this.
At the end of it all, I have to say I found little to complain about. I finished my plate and was happy to do so. The service was excellent and the environment was very entertaining. I will be looking forward to visiting again and I hope to see you there. For all that it offers, I give this restaurant a picky 4.6 out of 5.
Chicken And Cashews
At the end of my meal, I was in disbelief. But we will get there soon enough. Yes Picky Nation, I have found another exciting place to dine. I had driven passed this place several times and never stopped. Today intrigue got the better of me and I had to go see Chef Ben!
It is located in a store front building. From the outside, I could not tell if this was a buffet, fine dining, or just a small place to dine in a hurry. Trust me, I was praying that it was not a buffet. As I walked through the door, I was relieved to find that there was no buffet to be seen. Then another anxiety came upon me as I noticed I was in a room about the size of my living space.
I was greeted by a very friendly woman and was instructed to have a seat anywhere. It wasn't a hard choice so I chose a booth and sat down. The server came over promptly and quickly retrieved my drink. As I looked over the menu, I noticed it was a large menu. The menu itself was worrisome. It was worn and tattered. Some pages stuck together as if it was hiding a well-kept secret. I finally saw a probable choice. The chicken and cashews sounded simple enough.
When the server came to take my order, I asked her what came with the chicken and cashews. As she began to spout off vegetables, I stopped listening for vegetables and started listening for silence. When she was through I asked her if I could have no vegetables. She looked at me strange and then confirmed the order.
As time passed, I could here the cooking of the food. It let me know that this food would be fresh and perhaps not sitting in some sort of bucket as some restaurants do. I did not wait long and my food had arrived. I was pleased to see the dish came just as I wanted. Chicken, cashews, and white rice. I took my first bite and I was over the moon. The chicken was not the standard teriyaki. It was sweet but it had a crisp. It was well cooked and the flavor was great. The cashews added a certain dynamic to it. Once I put the rice with the chicken, it was an amazing dish. A picky eater's dream. I was in disbelief!
From start to finish, this tiny restaurant was full of big surprises. The food was delicious. Something I will be looking forward to coming back to. For friendly service, delicious food, and a price that won't break the bank, I give Chef Ben a picky 4.2 out of 5.
Barbecue Chicken + Barbecue Ribs
I was passing through this famous town, known for its NASCAR race track, and decided to stop for lunch. I chose Logan's because it was visible from the highway, very close to exit 7. I walked in and was greeted by a friendly hostess. As of late, this feature at restaurants has been hard to come by and I was pleasantly surprised.
I sat down in a booth that was open on either side. I thought it was odd and made me feel as if I was in some sort of display. Possibly a podium for the most hungry award. The server came and received my drink order and I chose water. I am not sure where the server went to draw water. Perhaps she went out back to the well. In all seriousness she was probably waiting on the delicious bread to come out in order to bring both together.
I was finally ready to place my order. Nothing sounded appealing but they offered a combo of ribs with a garlic chicken. I asked if I could make the chicken barbecue and they were happy to make that happen. I was also talked into the bacon and cheese fries. Later I found out I should have opted out of the fries all together.
The food came and to my surprise the chicken came on a rice bed. I assumed the chef would know that barbecue chicken would not need rice but, why should I expect so much? I was fortunate enough to like the rice so it didn't ruin my dinner. The ribs had good flavor, but was a little tough in spots. I can always tell how tough because I choose to eat my ribs with a knife and fork.
These fries were not what I was expecting. With little cheese, and even less bacon, these fries left me wondering why they were on the menu at all. Furthermore, the plain fries were not very good. They were chewy and flavorless. Just do yourself a favor and get another side.
Would I eat here again? I definitely would, however, I would learn from this experience and change my order slightly. So for your recap, the service was good, but a little slow. The food was tasty, but not too tasty. Lastly, the seating was comfy, but not too comfy. For some kind service, and getting hoodwinked on the fries, I give this restaurant a picky 3.3 out of 5.
Grilled Chicken Sandwich
As I am sure there are many Chili's restaurants in the town of Knoxville, I want to let you know, I dined at the one on Kingston Pike near the Tomato Head restaurant. That being said, I was almost hit turning into the place so if you do go, please be careful. The parking lot could be arranged better but, just do your best.
I walked in, only to be greeted by a hostess who, although trying to crack a smile, was obviously not that into her job. I walked to my seat and sat down in a booth. After the feeling of being unwanted left me, I turned my attention to the kiosk in the middle of the table. If you have not been to a Chili's establishment before, you will want to check them out for this feature. You can pay, order, or request refills without waiting on your server.
For the youngsters or the easily entertained, they have a gaming feature for only a dollar. So after I paid my dollar and played for a moment, the server came and received my drink order. I was thirsty so I had water. Without asking or letting me know, he brought water with lemon. Not picky friendly but I do like lemon so I wasn't complaining
I ordered the chips and salsa (not pictured) for an appetizer. The dish was out quickly and I began to enjoy. The chips were a crisp tortilla style chip. The salsa wasn't quite your normal Mexican salsa. It has a bite to it, and if you do not like heat, don't over do it. The salsa gets hotter as you eat more. I am very particular on the salsa I eat and, I admit, I ate two baskets of the chips and salsa.
For my dinner I ordered the grilled chicken sandwich without tomato and honey mustard, but with a side of barbecue. I had fries for my side. My order came just as I ordered it. The barbecue sauce is not very good so I wouldn't recommend getting it. I did not apply it to my sandwich. I also recommend no lettuce as well as they put the chicken directly on the lettuce, which made it hot and wilted.
The fries were just what you expect. They do serve Heinz ketchup, which as you know Picky Nation, is the only acceptable ketchup. So to recap, the sandwich was good, the fries were normal, and the service was bad in spots. Overall I believe I will be back and, for that reason, this experience gets a picky 3.9 out of 5.
Fish And Chips
When all of the employees look like they have lost the will to live, you may have come on a bad night. Now I normally don't associate a review with a certain date, but to tell the story, I must. You see I chose to go to this crab shack on the night of the Florida VS Tennessee game. Now we all know how much Tennessee loves their football team, however, I believe I may have underestimated just how real this fanfare was.
From the road, this restaurant looks stunning. The building is large and has a nice outside venue. Inside it was decorated like a hunting lodge. It didn't have much to offer to make me feel confident about eating seafood. Perhaps I would have ordered elk if it had been offered.
I was told my wait would be around thirty minutes. Unfortunately, I could see that the place was quite empty despite the parking lot looking rather full. I was astonished that I had to wait but I did. It took about fifteen minutes to be seated, and then the wait began. I waited for another fifteen minutes until my server decided to come and get my drink. He apologized for the wait and told me he was on suicide watch.
I was taken back by this statement. Should I be concerned? He later explained that Tennessee had just lost the football game by one point and so things were going a little slow. Really? Is this what kind of service I can expect? A football game no one played in effected the staff so much that they were keeping an eye on each other to ensure no one does harm to themselves?
Another ten minutes went by so I got up and went to the restroom. Not a detail I would normally discuss except there was a gentlemen in there which was part of the staff, and he was crying. Yes Picky Nation he was crying over the game. You see he had be three hundred dollars on the game. Meanwhile he wasn't making any good tips by crying in the bathroom. I was sympathetic at the time but, in retrospect, I should have gave him some tough love.
I decided since things are moving so slow, I would order an appetizer of bread. Yes the cost of bread was 2.99. Most restaurants offer this as complimentary. I waited, and waited. Finally, I ordered the fish and chips. I figured it wouldn't take long. I should have known better. After a while the food came out.
The fish was made out of grouper. What a refreshing twist on an old favorite. The fries were just steak fries so it was not very special. The fish had a nice crisp and was just flaky enough to enjoy. Are you wondering about the bread? It was delicious. A nice, fluffy roll. But unfortunately it came out after the food. My guess is the server forgot it. I would not have paid for bread if I had known when I would receive it.
I guess to sum it all up, the food was great. You really never know when you will receive it though. I recommend checking the score of the Tennessee game before you go as it has a direct effect on your service. Harpoon Harry's has great potential. Maybe I will be back on a less emotional night. I give this experience a picky 3.1 out of 5.
14 OZ New York Strip
As I walked in, I felt a warm welcome from the hostess who took me to my seat. I had never been here before, and took a moment to look around. I felt the décor was nice and put together well. The waitress came and took my drink order. She was back very quickly and, with a smile. As I looked at my menu, I wanted to eat everything. Maybe I was hungry. Maybe it looked great. Whatever the case, I had a hard time choosing.
As you know, I am a meat and potatoes guy and so I decided to get a steak. I love a NY strip, but I felt 14 ounces was a bit much. That would prove to be true. I ordered my steak to be cooked in the medium fashion. I know I have two types of potatoes and, yes I meant to do that. Picky Nation you know I am not a fan of many sides. You may also notice I have three plates. I asked for every side to be on a separate plate. I love steak juice, but not in my fries. I prefer ketchup.
When my food arrived, the first thing I noticed was my potato did not have a separate plate. It wasn't an issue because I had a plate for my bread which, over the years I have learned to keep for such an occasion. The steak was cooked perfectly, but lacking in flavor. I just felt it was missing something.
So to give you the run down again. The waitress was great. My cup was never empty! The layout of the seating was good. The food was good but it could have been better. For my first experience, I can say I will be back to this establishment. For picky friendliness, and a drink that never ran dry, I give this experience a picky 4.2 out of 5.
Country Grilled Pork Chops
I was out and about one day and needed a place to grab lunch. In the mood for some country cooking, I immediately thought of the Apple barn. Well, at least, that's what I have always referred to it as. The actual name is the Applewood Farmhouse Restaurant. When I arrived, I was surprised to find it not too busy. As I walked in, I was seated right away. The staff was very friendly. My waiter was extremely helpful too. You guessed it Picky Nation. Another hum drum experience, in the sense that the service was great. On to the food, shall we!
I ordered pork chops, which is always taking a risk. I like to live dangerously. The server brought me some apple fritters with apple butter, and apple julep. Who could resist such and appetizer? The fritters were tasty and the julep was fresh, which is important. If you never had soured julep, it tastes kind of like rotten fish. I finally received my order and everything looked very good. I know mac and cheese is always risky for picky eaters, but I was pleasantly surprised. The mashed potatoes were very good as well. Nothing special. Just "country taters". The biggest miss was the pork chops. These chops were not the best cut of chop. I found them to be overdone and tough. To be fair, I suppose these are "country chops." I was just hoping for a little more from this establishment.
Here is the long and short of it. I had excellent service, great appetizers, and a main course that missed the mark. I suppose the moral of this story could be simply not to get the pork chops. For a chipper waiter, some great fritters, and a piece of pork that was tougher that Chuck Norris' beard, I give this restaurant a picky 4 out of 5.
Salmon and Fries
If you are looking to eat in a basement of a 19th century estate, this is exactly where you should go. If you are like the rest of us, perhaps you will find the décor a little... uninviting. As I walked in, I noticed the cool, dark atmosphere. The hostess greeted me cordially and sat me at a booth. I know I should have known by the name that the restaurant would be themed as a cellar, however, I just assumed the server would go to the cellar for me. I didn't think we all had to be there.
The server came by and took my drink order. Now this server had a way about him. A way in which reminded me of a man in a 1980's van with no windows... kind of way. Maybe it was the setting. Maybe it was the way he stood behind the pillars in the room, peering at his customers. I can just say he was a little different. In all seriousness I took it that he was just trying too hard to be a server in an elegant restaurant. Perhaps he would have loosened up if I had informed him that we are all in a basement.
He returned and took my order. If you follow The Picky Fork, you may know by now that I am a fan of salmon. Let me note that everyone tells me the prime rib is the best at this establishment. I know, I know. How can I order fries? The side orders were on a short list and it was the only thing I saw that I would like. The spot you see on the salmon is the remnants of a glob of butter that the salmon was served with.
How did it taste? The salmon was cooked perfectly. The fries were fresh cut, but nothing special that you couldn't get at some of the local sub shops. I never talk money but I feel it is worth mentioning here. I would have liked to pay five dollars less for this dish. It was tasty but I feel that's the real drawback for this particular experience.
So to sum it all up, it was basement dining at its finest. The waiter was odd and did not make me feel welcome. The food was delicious, yet a bit overpriced. I did ask for no spinach under my salmon and that request was granted. I can say I will be returning here, but not too soon. For picky friendliness, I have to give this experience a 3.9 out of 5.
Build Your Own Pizza
"Hi!" the waitress said as I walked through the door. As though I had known her all of my life. I suppose the feeling you are suppose to get is that you are family. Well I want to tell you I did feel like I was not a stranger. The staff was very friendly and accommodating. I did notice, however, that I was to seat myself. Maybe I overthink things but if it is my choice where I set, and I chose badly, there is no one to blame. Most of the tables were actually booths but the three tables in the middle were a little large. It felt like you were at a conference desk. Perhaps a good place to have a business meeting.
I ordered a large pizza with four toppings. That included pepperoni, ham, bacon, and green olives. When the pizza arrived, it was just how I ordered it. Also it was very large. I now realize why the tables are so large. The pizza, to my surprise was delicious, but since I am about the picky eater, here is the things to watch for. The only thing that might deter the picky ones from eating here is the sauce. It is very authentic. This means there is a hint of onion and pepper in the sauce. It is very slight though and if you are not too picky, you should try it.
The place seemed to be clean and comfortable. To recap, the service was great, the food was really good, and the dining was comfortable. If you are wanting a good tasting pizza, you should definitely try this place. For picky friendliness, and just friendliness in general, I give this place a loving 4.2 out of 5.
Beef With Broccoli Mix And White Rice
I had no idea what to expect. My first impressions were great. As I walked in, I noticed a nice sitting area outside. It looked very pleasant and so I walked in. I was immediately greeted and set at a table. Picky Nation you know I don't like tables but somehow, this time, it was different. In fact, the whole restaurant had a pleasant mood. People seemed to be having fun and enjoying their meals.
I will say it took a while for the waitress to get to me. I could understand as the place was buzzing. The server was very polite and, upon telling her it was my first time, was more than helpful to me explaining what exactly was on the menu. After a while, I chose to get the beef with a medley of vegetables listed under broccoli. That's right Picky Nation. I found this dish under a section called "Stir Fry Your Way." How great is that. I will say the server let us know the recipes could be altered any way you want. This is great for two reasons. One, I hate most vegetables (onions, peppers, etc), and two, you know the ingredients aren't out of a bag mix. Everything is cooked fresh.
When my food came, I could smell the pleasant aroma from my plate. The broccoli medley came with broccoli, carrots, bamboo (yeah you read that right), and a brown sauce (written this way on the menu). It was delicious. I enjoyed the meat (cooked perfect), the broccoli, carrots, and the sauce. The bamboo was good for about four to five bites. After that, it started to get overwhelming. For a first time dish it was great! Alright it's recap time. The service was great, but a little slow. The food was extremely good. I will be returning. For great service, and a wonderful picky time, I give this spot a picky 4.6 out of 5.