No, it is not a hard-to-find restaurant, but a new column for AdVantage News! Each week the Secret Diner will post a review of a River Bend eating establishment. The Secret Diner will not review chain or franchise restaurants, only privately owned ones. About the rating system: zero stars would mean avoid at all costs, one star is pretty bad, two stars is merely fair, three stars is OK, four stars is good, and five stars is perfect! Before posting a negative review, the Secret Diner will give the establishment a second chance at a different time of day. See if you can determine the name and location of the restaurant under review! The answer will appear in next week’s column.
Were you able to discover what restaurant was reviewed last time? It was Chubb’s at 1112 Milton Road in Alton. The logo is a large man’s face, with just a tiny hint of a grin. It’s a great place for a little soul food!
My companion and I were driving around because I wanted to go somewhere different. I spotted a place we had never been and became quite excited. There was an advertisement on the window about an all-you can-eat lunch buffet for a very reasonable price, but it was too late for lunch. I filed it away in my mind for a future visit. As we walked in, I noticed there appeared to be plenty of seating. I noticed a bar in the first room. We were greeted and led to a booth in another room. We were brought ice water in goblets without having to request it. There were large cloth napkins and flatware-in-a-napkin already on the tables. A flat-screen monitor played romantic instrumental music, and the brown-painted walls had framed artwork depicting village life every 4 feet or so. A stunning wall hanging that represented the name of the restaurant was hung near the monitor.
The menu had descriptions and phonetic spellings to help us order. We ordered an appetizer to share, soup, flatbread and dessert. While waiting for the food, I went to check out the restrooms and found one to be very warm. Since the door stayed closed and the track lights had been left on, I think the heat had simply built up in the room. I turned out the lights when I left. The restrooms were reasonably clean and well-stocked.
Our appetizers were two pyramid-shaped pastries filled with ground meat, sitting on a bed of shredded lettuce, and sprinkled with a spice that I think was ginger. They were easy to pick up and eat with the hand. My companion had ordered spinach soup, and I had ordered chicken soup. I had expected the spinach soup to be green, but I was apprehensive when I saw that my chicken soup was orange! I have always associated the color orange with hot spice, and we all know by now that I cannot tolerate spicy food. I tasted it carefully and was happily surprised to find that it was rich and creamy, and not spicy at all. We were given ceramic spoons that matched the soup bowls. We had two different varieties of flatbread baked in a clay oven. One was potato and the other was chicken. The flatbread came with three dipping sauces, one green, one orange and one brown, and all were delicious.
There were several desserts to choose from. We ordered a rice pudding with pistachios and ice cream flavored with rosewater. The rice pudding came with a soup spoon and the ice cream was served in a small footed glass with a tiny metal spoon, similar to an infant’s feeding spoon. I felt very elegant while eating it.
The appetizer cost $4.49, the potato flatbread was $3.49, the chicken flatbread was $3.99, the rice pudding was $3.49 and the ice cream was $3.99. The total with tax was $28.84, and I paid from the table. This would be a great place to bring one’s significant other on date night!
Overall – 4 ½ stars
Service – 4 ½ stars
Cleanliness – 4 ½ stars
Food – 4 ½ stars
Do you think you know the name and location of this restaurant? Check out the next issue of AdVantage News to see if you are correct!
The Secret Diner