Saturday, June 18, 2011

Smokey Bones Wellington, Fl.

Tonight as a spur of the moment decision, we decided to eat out. We chose Smokey Bones because it had been a while since we had been there. We arrived around 4:30 PM and the restaurant wasn't too crowded. Sadly, they didn't seem to be very organized. The hostess started to sit us down, but one of the waitresses told her that she was leaving, and there wasn't any coverage in that section. So the hostess had us go back to waiting area.

After another short wait, not even 5 minutes, they got us seated. That being said, and for those who've worked in the restaurant business will understand this, our poor server dude got sat 2 parties at once. Our party which was just me and the wife, and another party with about 6 people in it. As you can expect, the service level was slower than normal. What was really annoying, was the fact that although our server was busting his but trying to take care of his tables. The rest of the staff was just standing around the kitchen area just talking. It seemed like there was NO teamwork at all. Also, in my opinion, in the restaurant industry, if you as a server are not actively getting something for a customer or cleaning something, then you should NOT be seen. The last thing a customer wants is to have an empty drink and see staff members laughing and joking with one another.

Now I'm sure there were other circumstances such as the ones standing around were either the oncoming dinner crew or something. But still, it's just not professional and shouldn't be done.

As for the food, the wife just ordered an appetizer sampler called the "Crowd Pleaser", which she really enjoyed and said she would order again. It came with seasoned fries, chicken tenders and South West spring rolls. Portion size was good for an appetizer, with enough left over (after one person eating) to take some home. I ordered the pulled pork platter, and I wasn't impressed. The pork was too dry, even with extra BBQ sauce at the table. And there were lots of inedible fatty parts. The pulled pork is not something I would order again from here.

All in all, we were disappointed by our adventure out. Although it was obvious our server was really making an effort, he remembered special requests such as extra ranch and he brought full drinks with out being asked, he was hindered by the lack of teamwork. He was sat with way too many tables (I believe he had 4 or 5 more in addition to us and the large party) at one time.

Service C- (Our server was at least a B+, but all the others standing around not doing anything made it slower and lower)
Food: C (Wife liked hers, I wasn't a fan)
Portion Size: B

Saturday, June 11, 2011

Tokyo Peking Wellington, Fl

This will just be a quick review.

This was a Buffet style restaurant that we hit up for lunch. It has a really interesting decor that helps add to the ambiance.

Food wise, they offer a Sushi Bar, Hibachi grill, Salad and Fruit bar, and a good selection of "standard" Chinese buffet choices. The standard choices include, but not limited to, Pepper steak, Teriyaki chicken, Vegi Lo Mein and more. For the sushi bar, well, I'm not a big sushi guy, but what they had out looked fresh and very well "put together". The Hibachi grill is probably the highlight of the restaurant. They have fresh cooked beef, chicken, shrimp and some awesome fried rice. Everything had a really crisp almost clean flavor to it that went really well with the rice. Also, they had what appeared to be some fresh cooked hibachi squid for the more adventurous dinners.

The service side wasn't bad, out waitress kept our glasses filled and got the empty plates off the table. When it comes to buffets that's all you really need.

Overall, if you like Chinese Buffet's then you should check this place out. Its located on the North West corner of Lake Worth Road and State Road 7.

Food: B+
Service: B
Portion Size: N/A (again, it's a buffet)

Tuesday, June 07, 2011

TooJay's Wellington, FL

The other night, we went out to the Wellington Mall to let our little guy play in the play area. Our original plan was to just hit up the Food Court and then call it a night. Instead we decided to go over to TooJay's which turned out to be a nice choice. We arrived around 7:30pm, and their was hardly anyone there and we were able to be seated right away. We were seated near the window, which looked out into the mall. For us, this was a nice feature as it helped keep our little one entertained, but for people who might prefer a bit more privacy, might not be a great choice.

Our server was really friendly and welcoming. She was also very patient with us while we got the little guy settled in. Sometimes servers seem to get irritated with customers who have children. Having been a server, I can understand their feelings, but a good server can, and will, hide any annoyance they might feel. Overall we were very satisfied with our waitress. So much so, that we'd make a point to request sitting in her area again if/when we go back.

Moving on to describing the food. For those who don't know TooJay's has a lot of menu choices. It's actually almost overwhelming on the number of choices they offer. I ended up getting the "Grilled London Broil" that came with Mashed Potatoes and Mushroom Gravy, and I selected the vegetable of the day which was Broccoli. I ordered the meat cooked "medium" and it came out perfectly. The potatoes and gravy were also really good, although I did have to pick the mushrooms off, but that's just because I don't like the texture of mushrooms. Vegetable wise, the broccoli was quite tasty, but the portion size wasn't all that large.

The wife settled on the "Classic Chicken Pot Pie" which doesn't come with anything else, but is filled with chicken and other fresh veggies. She said that she really liked the flaky pastry part of the pie, and the chicken and sauce and other veggies were also very good.

All in all, this meal out was another nice surprise for us. The food was good and the service was really good. Add in that there wasn't a lot of people out and it made for a pleasant and quiet night out.

Food: A
Service: A
Portion Size: A

Saturday, June 04, 2011

The Carving Station Lake Worth, FL.

The Carving Station is a buffet style restaurant located in Lake Worth, Fl on the South East corner of Jog Rd and Lake Worth Rd.

I'll start this review by saying that we fully expected to be disappointed by this restaurant. It's located in a shopping center that just lost its anchor store Winn-Dixie, and the whole plaza has been in what seemed like a downward spiral for a few years.

We arrived around 11:30, and were some of the first customers of the day. I will admit my surprise at just how clean the place was. Everything in the restaurant seemed to gleam and the decor reminded us of a vintage type of diner.

As we walked in the manager/owner (I forgot to get his name) welcomed us very warmly. He told us to take a look around, and that if we liked what we saw to have a seat and dig in. He let us know the prices which were amazingly reasonable, the full lunch price was $7.99 per person or you could get just a soup & salad buffet for $6.29.

We took him up on his suggestion and checked out what they had to offer. Just on a quick walk through we noticed they had several stations set up. These included a cold food section that served salad, bread, and cold pasta. A hot food section that had 4 different kinds of soups, tacos/chips & salsa station and a hot food and carving section. They also have a cakes/desert section for a small additional fee.

After looking around we liked what we saw and decided to stay. The wife and the little guy started out with some salad. She said that the tomatoes tasted fresh off the vine, and they had what looked and tasted like "in-house made croutons". She only had one minor complaint, and it wasn't on the food itself but on the layout of the salad bar. Which was, with her pregnant belly, a little hard to reach the iceberg lettuce. The iceberg was placed near the back and they had a romain lettuce and bean sprouts in the front.

All of the food served appeared and tasted "home made". I've got to add that buffet's are a guilty pleasure of ours and usually at most buffets the emphasis is on quantity not quality. The food at the Carving Station was great, I was especially happy with the mac & cheese. It wasn't just an average dish, it had a lightly baked crust on top and several additional seasonings. Everything else was also very good -- from the mashed potatoes and 2 types of gravy, to the 3 or 4 types of chicken and everything in between.

Our server wasn't the most smiley person in the world at first, but she kept our drinks filled and our tables clear in a quick and efficient manner and she warmed up as the meal went on.

Overall we were highly impressed with this place. If you're a fan of buffets or a fan of good "old fashioned" American style cooking, then you should definitely give this place a shot.

Food: A
Service: A
Portion Size: N/A (its a buffet)

Wednesday, June 01, 2011

Outback Steakhouse Lake Worth, Fl

Another evening out to eat.

Last night, we decided on going to Outback for dinner. We got a little apprehensive as we were pulling into the parking lot as it seemed very full and thought we might be in for a wait. We managed to snag a spot close to the door which is not an inconsequential consideration when you've got a pregnant wifey and a two year old. It was actually a very nice surprise as we walked in and were seated right away. Our hostess also was able to give us both a booster seat and a high chair for the little guy which was appreciated. Sometimes he likes to sit with the "grown ups" and sometimes he needs to be in the highchair.

The food overall was good, the wifey ordered the new Teriyaki Fillet Medallions cooked medium which also comes with a flavored rice and green beans. I tried some of hers and the filet's were melt-in-your-mouth tender and had a very nice Teriyaki "twang" flavor that didn't over power the flavor of the meat. She said that both the rice and green beans were also really flavorful and that this is a meal she would order again.

I had the old school "Outback Special" the 12oz Sirloin cooked medium rare with a double order of the mashed potatoes. The steak was seasoned well and had that signature Outback flavor, In the future I'll need to remember to order the steak cooked medium as I'd forgot how thick of a cut of meat it is and ordering it medium rare leaves the center a little underdone, but still edible. The potatoes were average, I think they would have been really great if Outback had some sort of "gravy option" to add to it, unfortunately you can only get the regular garlic mashed potatoes.

Our little guy got a cheese burger from the kids meal, which was much larger than I thought I'd be, he only manged to eat about 1/3'rd of it before he was full.

The service we received was surprisingly good, our waitress was friendly and took our orders and any requests and took care of them quickly. The only thing I would have to say is that it seemed like it took a little while for the kitchen to get the food out. However, having a hungry toddler and wife probably added to that perception.

All in all, we were happy with our choice to go to the Outback. It was a pleasant night with no problems or complaints. Which sometimes seems like a rare occurrence. Another nice thing is that there were several families with little ones having dinner at the same time. Which, if you don't want to go out and occasionally hear a little one being loud, may not be a good thing. But for families with youngsters who just need a night out, its reassuring to know that you're not "disturbing" most of the other diners, or at least you're not the only one doing it.

Service: A
Portion Size: B
Food: A