The restaurant reviewed last week was The Pump House Bar & Grill at 1523 E. Edwardsville Road in Wood River. Fast service and very clean!
• • •
My regular dining companion and I had been to this week’s restaurant a couple of times but had not had a chance to get there since I started reviewing for AdVantage News. The last time I tried, the line to get in was out the door. That’s a very good sign, but we went elsewhere. This time, there was no line, and I was anxious to see if anything had changed since our last visit.
In the lobby, a sign indicated diners should wait to be seated. So we waited for about five minutes. We then were greeted by a smiling hostess, who seated us at a corner table already set with two sets of knives and forks in large, brown cloth napkins. She gave us menus in a heavy book-type format. Each table had soy sauce, lower-sodium soy sauce and a metal cylinder stuffed with disposable chopsticks. The décor was completely different from the last time I was there. I liked it then, but I loved it now. Art pieces were on every wall, there was a large fish tank behind the bar, and an enormous origami crane watched over the main room from atop a room divider. Two additional rooms were available, with large barn-type doors that could close them off from the main room. The walls were made of gray wood and flat stones. Feng shui was evident everywhere. The air was filled with mellow classic rock selections, but the sounds were soft enough that there was no impediment to conversation. I felt tension drain from my body as soon as I sat down.
Our server came over and introduced herself. We each requested lemonade and she gave us a little more time to peruse the menu. When she brought the lemonade, she asked if we had any questions. We did. I appreciated the opportunity to ask about dishes I was not familiar with. The selections were a little pricey, but there was a lunch special for $7 that looked perfect. I ordered chicken pineapple fried rice with a hand-rolled crab Rangoon for an extra 75 cents. My friend requested shrimp fried rice with a Vietnamese spring roll.
Our food was presented in shallow, round bowls with scallops around the edges that were perfect for chopsticks. My dish came with soy-mustard sauce in a tiny bowl, and my friend had Thai chili sauce. Now, I am not fond of soy sauce because of the high salt content, but this was perfect. The crab Rangoon was the best I have ever tasted, and the fried rice was heavenly. My companion had high praise for his dish as well. We sat back, well-satisfied with the food and the price, when our server popped up and asked if we would like dessert. I had not seen any dessert on the menu, and asked what was available. It just so happened that there were two desserts, so I ordered them both.
These came on square plates with syrup in a criss-cross design. I had to ask for clean forks, as ours had been taken away with our dinner plates. One dessert was pineapple tidbits that had been flash-fried and coated in cinnamon sugar. The other was chocolate rolled into a spring roll wrapper. Both came with a mound of whipped cream and two fresh mint leaves. I found out that whipped cream will not adhere to cinnamon sugar, so I needed to get the whipped cream on my fork first, then the pineapple. These desserts were both so delicious that I could not decide which one I liked better, but my companion definitely preferred the warm chocolate rolls with raspberry syrup. The desserts were $5 each, but worth every cent.
The restrooms were decorated with the same loving hand as the rest of the restaurant, and were spotless. We paid from the table.
Overall: 5 stars
Cleanliness: 5 stars
Wait staff: 5 stars
Food: 5 stars
Can you figure out the name and location of this Asian delight? See the next issue of AdVantage News to see if you are correct!
Do you have a restaurant in mind you would like to see reviewed by the Secret Diner? Send us an email at firstname.lastname@example.org; include "Secret Diner" in the message.