1900 Northwest 86th Street
Clive, IA 50325
(515) 270-8620

The Dish:
Two Adult Buffets
Two Diet Cokes
$26 (Tax and tip included)

Grade: 1 Spoon

Our original plan for this day was to drive to Des Moines, eat at a “better” place, play free pool, eat appetizers at the place we play free pool, and take in a Tim McGraw concert. About the only thing according to plan that happened was the concert, which prior to we had a late lunch at Ryan’s (aka Ryan’s Steakhouse, Buffet, and Bakery).

Ambiance: Ok please don’t think I am any more racist than you are (we are all racist to some extent). But the American flags hanging all over the very busy dinning are do not cover the fact that the only American is the person running the operations of the place. Every time we are there Ryan’s seems to be the melting pot of different ethnic and racial backgrounds. It is as if to get American citizenship, you have to complete a semester at Ryan’s, which in itself might portray Americans as we are, but that’s a whole different blog post for that one. Today however everything appeared dirty. There were multiple tables that had not been cleaned from previous guest which made finding a table a bit tough. But its a Buffet and a busy one so some of that is to be expected.

Menu/Price: If you want you can order a Steak, but it seems most folks just go for the buffet. It is a bit cheaper at lunch than dinner at about $8 and $12 respectively. Since it is a buffet not much else to talk about here.

Meal: The food quality has gone way downhill from what it used to be in my perspective. The choices are there, but it seems you will run into stuff that looks really good but ends up being “meh.” For instance, they had some really cheesy looking mac and cheese that really looked awesome, but ended up being “meh.” They have dinner rolls that are delivered to the table when you waiter/waitress gets your drinks (if they come). The rolls are really good, and probably the second reason they did not get just the 1 Knife rating. The first reason they did not get that rating is because they did have self serve soft ice cream and yogurt at their desert bar area. However like everything else, they look better than they really are. Some of the better items they used to have are not out on the line any more. One of those was sliced potatoes and onions fried/sautéed. Another was the same dinner rolls that instead of just butter slathered over the top, butter, cinnamon and sugar were slathered over the top. These are items I missed dearly.

Service: Sometimes when you go you get a server whom you don’t understand that well but they take great pride in their work. Today however we got a waitress whom was more interested in spending time with her Spanish speaking group than waiting on us or the other three tables that she was assigned to. Needless to say we self served our drinks and got our own plates, something that they are supposed to do.

Overall: I was a bit disappointed with the condition, quality, and service of Ryan’s from what I remember it being having eaten there many times for lunch when I worked the night shift. It will defiantly be awhile before we revisit.

Danbury Cafe

Danbury Cafe
56 N 8th st
Danbury, CT

The Dish:
Ranch Burger
Cheeseballs (as appetizer)
Diet Coke
Apple Pie a la mode
$9.12 (tip and tax included)

Grade: 1 spoon

Greasy spoons are hit and miss. Sometimes you know that it is going to be worth your time to ignore the fact that your food could literally slide off your plate and table with out any help whatsoever, because the service, taste or whatever your liking is just so good. Other times it is almost an embarrassment to be caught at one. There are chain greasy spoons, the best in my humble opinion is Waffle House and there are others that just don’t compare.

Being in Connecticut for the first time ever I thought it would be best to see how the New England ma & pa compared to the Midwestern ma & pa. Perhaps

Ambiance: Good greasy spoon feel, however sometimes that look should be thrown to the way side if your walls have at least and inch and a half of greasy residue, dust, and Lord knows what else. The ceiling tiles were in poor shape and showed signs that this “non-smoking restaurant” only recently obtained that label. The table I was at appeared solid, however the table next to me wobbled every time the poor souls next to me moved or sneezed. The few pictures of “farm life” they had on the wall gave the indication that they had no idea what “farm life” was really all about as they had pictures of happy jolly farmers with endless harvests. The floor was probably the cleanest thing and that is not saying much. I am not even sure which was cleaner, the carpet they started to tear up and left cut or the original tile that was under the carpet.

Menu/Price: Breakfast is the most prominent thing on the menu here, however as it was almost 1:15PM when I walked in, I felt it was not appropriate to have breakfast that early in the afternoon, had it of been 2:15PM or even 2:17PM I might of tried one of the omelets (the couple next to me in the wobbly table got the Texas Omelet which looked good). Anyway, they also had the normal main street café America items like specialty sandwiches, burgers, chef salad, and mini-diner items. Pricing was decent enough, $3.99 could get you a soup and a sandwich and $12.56 would get you the sirloin special.

Meal: Where do I start with this, I ordered cheese balls because joints like this are usually the best place to get fried items like that, however the “balls” were over fried and lacking cheese. Not a good way to start. The Ranch Burger was a hamburger that was a preformed patty that had, get this ranch sauce (dressing) and cheese on it. Wait a sec, the menu said that it was a burger with secret ranch flavorings, lettuce, onion, cheese, and pickle. I am missing a few things and ranch dressing as the secret? Come on!? I asked my waitress about this and she replied, “oh yea we changed the menus a bit.” Isn’t that false advertising? Moving along though, the fries were equally over fried to the tune of I only ate four. The apple pie (I figured) would be the saving grace but even that was ruined because it had cheese on it. I did not ask for cheese on it, I did not see it on the menu… I didn’t press the issue because I forgot “the menus changed.” The ice cream also was disappointing as it was evident that it was de-thawed and refrozen at some time.

Service: The service was ok, did not have to ask for refills and outside of the “menus changed” speech I really did not have any complaints. Others around me appeared to be on a first name basis with the waitress, perhaps they were locals. At any rate I was treated the same as they were, maybe that is why the “menus changed” bit took me off guard. A local would know this with out asking, I was not a local.

Overall: I really can’t think of anything good to say about the place, they did have ice cream so I cannot give them the knife rating I wanted to give them but I might have to reconsider my scale and come up with a new rating of a spife or a knoon, something in-between a knife and a spoon.