Here at Fork You, we are just about to arrive at the point where we have forked all our favorite places, places in close proximity to work, and places that fit neatly into a lunch hour. It is becoming more difficult to find new victims for the midday meal. Thus, today’s review…
“Cracker Barrel?” you ask. Indeed it is an unusual choice for me. I am not as chain-averse as Daniel but I am averse to “home cookin'”. However, on Fridays, Cracker Barrel has a fish fry special. I do love yummy fried fish!
The parking lot was crammed full of Lincolns, Cadillacs, and Buicks. We were a bit worried about our chances to score a table quickly, but it was not a problem. As we walked through the restaurant to our seats, I scanned my surroundings. After performing some quick calculations in my head, I determined the average age of the diners to be approximately 63. That explains the vehicles in the lot.
I had every intention of ordering the fish fry Friday special, but the price scared me off. (This special begin at 11 am and lasts all day – that’s probably why the price is a little higher than we expected.) Lunch would be nine bucks plus drink (if it met my price criteria) and tip…wow – over $10. I just wasn’t feeling a $10 lunch happening at the Cracker Barrel today.
Much to my delight, they have a special section of the menu dedicated to low-carb offerings. For real! Maybe there are a lot more senior citizens on low-carb diets than I ever imagined… The suggestions consist of ground beef and chicken prepared in different ways with bacon and cheese. They even give carb counts for the side dishes that were ketogenerian-friendly.
The last time I was here (years ago) I had the grilled chicken tenderloin sandwich. It was on 2 slices of bread instead of a fluffy bun and I recalled that it was slathered in butter and then grilled. I also recalled someone telling me that if you don’t want to absorb as many carbs, eat the carbs with fat. Hmmm…..the justifications were swimming inside my head.
I order it for $6.99. The menu says it comes with a sample of cole slaw and fries. I don’t like cole slaw, so I asked for carrots instead. (Side note: I can’t stand green beans cooked for three days until they can be gummed instead of chewed, especially when bacon or ham is cooked with them. This is the way they cook ‘em at the Barrel. Don’t order them at Captain D’s, either – they do the same thing even though they look crisp-tender in the photo at the register.)
I ask our server how much the cokes are and she hesitates, then states “1.79.” Well, they are .29 over my soda ceiling price of $1.50. But I really, really want a Diet Coke. They always taste better when they are fountain sodas….I am already eating fries and bread….why not? I’ll just go hog-wild today!
My carrots mysteriously came out WAY before our lunches. They were yummy and I was wishing, apparently out loud, that I had a spoonful of brown sugar on them. Misty made a genius suggestion: sprinkle a packet of Splenda on them. Holy fake sugar cane, Batman – that tastes wonderful!
When my sandwich finally arrived, the bread had indeed been slathered with butter and toasted to perfection. I had butter residue on my fingers…yum. The marinade they use on the chicken is very tasty. The fries are standard frozen steak fries and were a satisfying vehicle for the Heinz ketchup.
I saw a couple plates of the fried cod go by and it did look good. Maybe next time I’ll get it…
Our server was always there with the refills and even offered me a to-go cup with a refill for the road. I gladly accepted her kind offer. If they don’t offer, a lot of times you can get this star treatment if you ask. I picked that tip up from a former coworker and have used it many times, in many different restaurants. To date, I have not been told no. At least about the to-go cup.
My bill was a whopping $11. What? But I didn’t get the fish fry…something must be amiss. Using my special accounting powers, I audited the receipt and quickly uncovered two discrepencies: 1) the cokes are NOT $1.79, but $1.89. But that is only $.10. and 2) I was charged $2.19 extra for the carrots. Evidently we had a miscommunication. I thought I was going to get carrots in place of the grody cole slaw and I (happily) did not receive any cole slaw. I explained that to the nice lady who took my money and she deducted the charge for the carrots.
So Misty & I had a nice lunch with good food and good service. Too bad we didn’t have time to look around in the shop before we went back to work. THREE FORKS.
Susan and I decided we were going to have a girls lunch (well, it was really by default, because no one else was in the office) at Cracker Barrel on Fish Fry Friday. The parking lot was full when we pulled in and I could see the fear in Susan’s eyes. She was afraid that we would not get a table and we would end up at Arbys. To Susan’s relief…as soon as we walked up to the hostess, we were taken to our seats.
I was going to get the cod fish special but it when I looked at the menu, it was priced more than I expected for a special. Now, I didn’t know what I would do. Should I go with my trusty favorite…the country dinner plate- deep fried catfish, corn and hash brown casserole with buttermilk biscuits and grape jelly? Or should I get the fish special? Then, I saw someone else’s Friday special as it passed by our table. There were 3 big pieces of fish with fries and cole slaw. That was way too much for me to eat for lunch. My mind was made up. I would get the catfish country dinner plate for $7.19.
In my world of instant gratification, I really like it when the server brings my biscuits and jelly with the drinks. This one didn’t. I forgot to ask or mention it, so it wasn’t her fault. And I really can’t complain about the service at all, she was excellent. She refilled our drinks several times during our meal and offered to make us a to-go cup when we were ready to leave. I can’t remember her name…but she was great.
My food was also great. My catfish was hot and crispy…right out of the fryer. My corn was hot and very buttery. My hash brown casserole was a little dry and lukewarm, but it was still good. The biscuits were moist. Let’s just say this meal was very predictable and consistent. There’s not much left to say! -Three ForksCracker Barrel 5720 Maccorkle Ave SE
Charleston, WV 25304