Country Cookin Diner-Rockledge- 0.5-Stars
"I will eat disgusting things, but only those with long-established culinary traditions." -- Dana Goodyear
I abhor national chain restaurants, which is why you will never see a BBDO review for Chili's or, *shudder* Olive Garden. However, small local chains are something I do like to see, at least when they are slingin' quality slop, for nothing pleases me more than local entrepreneurial success. So, when Country Cookin' Diner showed up on my random generator, I was actually looking forward to trying their fare, with three locations I figured they must be doing something right.
Judging by how packed their parking lot was in Rockledge at 9:43 in the morning, I again thought that they must be serving at the least, average foodstuffs, if not downright good grub. Upon entering I was greeted warmly enough and didn't have too long of a wait before I was seated. Turning my avid eyes towards their menu I found nothing extravagant, just your average diner fare, being a sybarite, I grudgingly came to the conclusion that there would be no eggs Benedict with fresh lox and homemade Hollandaise sauce this morning, but if the home fries were good, I could live with that.
Soon enough I was greeted by a charming individual who introduced herself as Keely and asked me if I had any questions or was I ready to order. Keely, as mentioned, was charming as well as diligent and honest. Her service was the saving grace to be sure, but I get ahead of myself. I asked Keely if I could have the Country Fried Steak and eggs (over medium) with home fries, a medium-rare Patty Melt and a side of biscuits and gravy. As Keely scampered off to place my order, I took the opportunity to glance about the place. It was clean, tidy, well lit and did have a certain "homey" feel. If we at BBDO rated such things as ambiance, this place would be above average for a greasy spoon type diner.
Considering how busy the place was, my food was brought out within an acceptable amount of time. As one can see by the photos, everything looked as it should and was not unappealing to the eye. However, once again, we at BBDO don't give all that much credit to the presentation, to us, it's all about the execution. First up on the Big Boy palate was the Country Fried Steak and eggs breakfast platter. Man, that sounds good, does it not? Alas, it was far from good and as it turned out, just this side of edible. The home fries were flavorless discs of carbohydrates, the steak was the proverbial hockey puck of grossness, while the gravy had that unmistakable made fresh from the packet taste. At least the eggs were satisfactorily cooked over medium and didn't taste bad.
Turning my attentive taste buds towards the Patty Melt, I first pulled it apart to look at the patty itself. Did it look homemade? No, no it did not. Did it taste freshly made in the back? Again, no it did not. This was so disgusting that I had to spit it out. The fries were unmistakable the frozen not fresh variety and while they were deep-fried to a beautiful golden brown, they were completely flavorless. One bite and I was ready to move on to the final item up for review, the side of biscuits and gravy.
At this point in the meal, I had a fair idea that the biscuits would be of the frozen plug and play type and I was not wrong in this assumption. They were flat and had that unmistakable fresh from the freezer after taste we have all come to know and love. The gravy was the same reconstituted flavorless powder crap they served with the Country Fried Steak and I assure you, it didn't taste any better here. It really isn't all that hard to make a gravy from scratch, nor is it all that difficult (as past reviews have noted) to make powdered gravy at the least palatable, with the right doctoring and execution.
The fact that they have expanded to three locations does not speak to their fare, but rather is a testament to how little the bulk of humanity cares about quality food. I firmly stand behind my swill alert and 1/2-star rating.
The Big Boy says, "this is swill through and through and should be avoided at all cost." Just to further drive home the point on how bad this stuff was, I actually stopped at a McDonald's on the way home to wash the horrid aftertaste from my mouth. That's right, I cleansed my palate with a Big Mac. That speaks volumes to the horrendous swill I had been served at the Country Cookin' Diner in Rockledge. #bigboydiningout #iamthebigboy