Monday, December 9, 2013

Huddle House

13002 Highway 21
Desoto, Mo
On the Wide World of Web

Angel's choice, Adam shrugged his shoulders at the suggestion, I grinned.
I like Huddle House, I even stop in occasionally when I have weekend business in the Fountain City.
Like I did that very morning. Sometimes it's just coffee, that morning I went full plate, 2 eggs, hash browns, bacon and toast. I even took my book in with me and enjoyed a brief respite from the arctic air blast our area had been under for a couple of days.

I'd done quite a bit of shivering and shoveling since then though, I didn't mind going back at all. besides, HH has stuff other than breakfast fare.
The Place:
It wasn't very crowded, the ample, red-shirted staff was bustling, the half dozen, family filled tables were chowing down, everyone seemed to be enjoying themselves.
We were told to seat ourselves and we did, sort of in the middle of things at a table. The massive menus were in their place at the side. I passed them around while our server asked about drinks, tea, sweet tea and Pepsi. She offered to serve our tea with lemon, we said sure.
I looked at the non-breakfast items but the sandwiches sounded too bread-y, and other than the chicken fried steak, nothing jumped out at me. In the end I decided on the Philly Cheese Steak omelette. Kind of breakfasty, kind of not.
Our drinks were delivered and the server asked if we needed another minute to decide, I said "Yeah give us a couple of minutes."
She stepped away and disappeared for over ten minutes. Behind the counter seven or eight staff members chatted and chuckled, they indeed seemed to be enjoying themselves not serving us.
In the meantime we'd all decided and were waiting patiently. I noticed the Christmas tree, a cheap, modest thing, but tasteful. Under it were two Piso Mojado (Wet Floor) signs, the big yellow ones you see in restrooms. Somebody was going to be a little disappointed on Christmas morning.
Finally our server showed up and immediately apologized, she said she been pull aside. More on this later.
We placed our orders.
Me: Phiily Cheese Steak Omelette, hash browns(with cheddar cheese) and wheat toast.
Angel: Prime Rib Tip Stuffed Hash Browns, withe a side of gravy and raisin toast.
Adam: French Toast Platter with bacon and two scrambled eggs.
As we waited Adam and Angel played mahjong on her smart-ass phone. I listened to the music. Country Music. I've said before that I don't care for country music, but I knew what the alternative would be, Christmas music. If there is one thing I dislike more than country music it's that. So I sighed in futility and resigned myself to the brutal aural assault.
The Food:
It was delivered in good time. It was quite pretty, as pretty as the pictures in the menu.
Philly Cheese Steak Omelette
The only problem I could see was the cheese on the hash browns. I could tell it had melted, then hardened, turning the browns into a singular entity. I could tell the browns were well made though, golden brown charred ends meant they'd been allowed to become crispy. The omelette was fresh, bright and fluffy. The toast was. . .  toast.
Our server was pleased to see me snapping the pictures, she even said she was. "I like it when people take pictures of our food, it usually means they like what they see."
I carved up the hash brown brick before it hardened any more. I also carved up half the omelette, juicy thin meat, peppers and onions spilled out. Mmmm, it looked good. The table went quiet as we devoured.
Stuffed Hash Browns
Angel handed me a chunk of her rib tip, it too was juicy and tender. Adam offered up some of his French toast, but he'd already put syrup on it, ruining it for me.It was very pretty though.
French Toast
There were absolutely no complaints from around the table. Well, I had one, but it wasn't worth making a big deal out of. It was, of course, the tea. Cloudy, weak, almost bitter. A minus three if I were to be generous. They make a very good cup of coffee, but somehow the advanced chemistry required to make ice tea was too much for them. A common problem.
Summary:
Very good food, simple, fresh, well prepared. None of it was especially complicated but it was all very good. The service.
Ah, the service.
If you are a regular reader then you know I've ranted a few times about service issues. I've been reading some books by Anthony Bourdain and feel emboldened pointing this stuff out.
I can make breakfast stuff. Omelettes, hash browns, bacon, eggs, even a pretty mean waffle. I don't need to go to HH or the Waffle House, or anywhere else, to enjoy a good breakfast any time of day. When I go out to eat I want to be fed good food, that's a given, but I also want it served. The food industry is, after all, a service industry.
That our server was pulled aside was a little troubling. More so since I knew what she was doing instead of taking our order. She was washing dishes. I saw her. If what she said was true, that she'd been pulled aside to do that while active tables awaited, then we have a problem. There were a lot of staff people there, there were not that many customers. I assume it was the manager that pulled her aside, so it makes me wonder what he/she was thinking.
To pull someone out of the front to help out is certainly normal business, but while they've got active tables in progress?  There was no hand-off, no notice, she'd simply disappeared from our perspective.
It's a small thing but a telling thing. If this was a management call, it was fumbled. Nobody died, nobody got rushed to the hospital, but the obvious message was that we were less important to the business than that stack of dirty dishes.
Like I said though I like HH. The servers are always friendly and polite and eager to please. I only ask that management think about this particular incident and evaluate its priorities.
The bill came to a modest twenty nine dollars, less than ten bucks per meal. Certainly  reasonable for very good, well made food.
I'll definitely go back, I really like this place.

Note to loyal fans:
Next weekend Angel is heading down to Springfield for an early holiday celebration with her family. Also, I'm on call that weekend. What that means is that I'm not sure there will be a review next week, so don't call 9-1-1 if nothing posts.




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