Saturday, October 1, 2011

Early Bird Diner, Charleston, SC

Flavorless in West Ashley
I have seen the Early Bird Diner showing up on a few foodie sites recently and decided to give it a try.  Although many seem to “like” the diner, we didn’t.

We landed there for a late lunch on a week day.  There’s nothing special about the place, a little dumpy, counter seats and booths and I thought, “Great, a diner at its best.”  Not so much.

Our server was very pleasant and efficient, but I have to say that was about the best thing about our entire visit. 

The menu is a tad eclectic for a diner, i.e., offerings such as a Blackened Green Tomato Melt, Pecan Crusted Chicken Fingers, and a “Fancy” Grilled Cheese; and at first blush I thought that a “foodie” must be behind this place.  Wrong again.

The Counter
We ordered two basic sandwiches - a meatloaf melt with sautéed onions that was served on Texas toast and a BBQ chicken sandwich that was topped with ham and Swiss, (I subbed Cheddar for the Swiss).  Although the lunch rush had passed and there were only a few tables in the restaurant our lunch took about 25 minutes to be delivered. It felt like an eternity.

When our lunch arrived my husband said it best when he commented, “I don’t know how they managed to suck all the flavor out of my sandwich, but they did.” Even with the sautéed onions and BBQ sauce it was bland at best.

I am also used to diners serving heaping portions, and this was definitely not the case here.  His one “side” that he selected to accompany his sandwich was cheesy mashed potatoes.  They arrived in a small dish the size of a Dixie riddle cup.  It was more of a “suggestion” of mashed potatoes than anything else. No big deal as they were terrible and tasted like they sat on a steam table for all of their natural life.
Meatloaf Melt

Inside The Meatloaf Melt
My BBQ sandwich and side was no better.  My side of Fried Green Tomatoes was flavorless.  Nice, green heirloom tomatoes were unfortunately dredged in some cornmeal concoction that had neither seasoning nor flavor.  The sandwich was warm but the ham and cheese on top of the sandwich were very well done and chewy.  The BBQ sauce that topped the sandwich was a fluorescent orange.  I left the diner still wondering what that stuff was.
Chicken Sandwich
I smiled to think that often times when “exotic” dishes are put before you and people may say, “You should try this, it tastes like chicken.”  In this case my chicken didn't taste like chicken! It had no flavor whatsoever.

Although our server was cordial and checked back with us on occasion it could not save the meal.  At $27.00 with tip for lunch I also thought that it was a bit steep for what we were served. 

After dieting for the last month I left the Early Bird Diner thinking of the calories that I had just wasted and looking forward to a good meal in my future. 

We gave the Early Bird Diner 1 plate out of a possible 5.

The Early Bird Diner on Urbanspoon


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