NOTE: This is Fork You’s
100th West Virginia restaurant review!!!
At Stanton’s suggestion we met at the Dome Grill and Bar in early April for another Charleston food blogger summit. Albeit Stanton will argue that Fork You is not a Charleston food blog. Just like his nationally famous, WV Hot Dog Blog, our not so famous blog reviews restaurants across WV. You can read Stanton’s review of the Dome’s WVHD here.
I like hole in the wall type places and Stanton’s blog has given me the gastronomic courage to try many great, but shabby looking joints. I used to think if they don’t take the time and energy to improve a customer’s first impression, then I hate to think about the effort going into the food. The Dome has taken zero effort to enhance ones first impression. The inside is not much better. A matter of fact it’s pretty worn. Keep it mind if it was dark outside and you had your beer goggles on it would look just fine, but the Fork You Five had the benefit of sunshine.
The menu contains all the standard WV grill foods – Burger, Hot Dog and BBQ. I have been craving burgers lately and I am building a catalog of the best burgers in the valley. After reading “8 oz patty and seeded bun” I thought that the Dome would be a contender. Unfortunately, the Kanawha County Health Department has everyone thinking they’ll contract E.Coli poisoning if they consume their beef less than well done. After receiving my burger, chips and pickle I figured out what took so long in the kitchen. They were making Kingsford out of my beef patty. OK they didn’t make charcoal, but my patty was on the dry side of well done. The bun appears fresh, but fell apart. The toppings were standard.
The Dome could be a great place for Kanawha City, but as it stands I don’t think I will visit the Dome any time soon when the Anchor is only a couple more miles away. ONE FORK.
When we walked in The Dome, I was concerned that we were in the wrong location or perhaps, an abandoned building. It was 11:50 and I didn’t see any diners or employees. In fact, we walked around for a few minutes and finally settled into a wobbly booth.
The inside was dark and dingy. The kind of place that you would go to at 11:30 pm, not 11:30 am. I just wasn’t getting a warm fuzzy from this place- it was making me uncomfortable.
A person (the waitress) finally came out from the back. She took our drink orders. We waited for Stanton and scanned the menus.
We did notice that instead of downsizing serving sizes in these hard economic times like everyone else, The Dome is giving you more. For example, you get 6 Mozzarella Sticks instead of 5 for the same price of $4.50.
I ordered the Dome BBQ and a regular soda. It took a while for our food to come out…but when it did, it looked and tasted good. A generous amount of BBQ was piled on a large, steamed sesame seed bun. The BBQ was tender with just the right amount of sauce…not too sloppy. There was a side of chips with my sandwich. They were forgettable…nothing special. In fact, I might have eaten 3 of them.
Let’s focus on the drinks. I know that the diet drinkers at the table were pleased with getting their refill pitcher, but I wasn’t. In fact, I didn’t get a refill. There were 3 regular soda drinkers and 2 diet drinkers…why did the diet drinkers get their own special pitcher brought out to the table? It was like torture for me. I was choking down my sandwich, staring at the pitcher of diet. And I never even had a chance to ask for a refill…because the waitress never came back!
I think it is safe to say, “I will not be dining at The Dome again.” That’s just not how I roll. If another individual wanted to call in an order, go pick it up and bring it back to me- I wouldn’t object. Even though the food was good, I couldn’t get past the atmosphere. The Dome gets ONE FORK.
I don’t think The Dome is interested in a bustling lunch crowd. Unless that lunch crowd brings their gamblin’ money.
The interior is rather sparse, dark, and dingy like you would expect if you were headed out on a Friday night to throw back a couple cold ones and shoot a game of 8-ball. Back in my auditing days, I would sometimes find myself in a joint similar to The Dome, trying to get something to eat besides fast food, and feeling very out-of-place in the standard dark suits we were expected to wear on the job.
And this is not a family place – you must be 21 with a valid ID to enter. On the bright side, though, there is no smoking. A sign on the door reminds patrons to leave their drinks inside when going out to smoke.
We waited several minutes for someone, anyone else to appear. I wondered if they no longer served lunch. But alas, we received menus and placed drink orders. In what I would label as a stroke of genius, the diet sodas came in a glass mug and the regular sodas came in tall glasses. This was helpful to our server and to us. You should see the face Misty makes if she accidentally gets a hold of a diet soda. On second thought, nah. I wouldn’t want to put you through that.
Relief swept over me when I saw the plethora of deep-fried items on the menu. When in doubt of a restaurant’s repertoire, deep fried foods are usually a fairly safe bet.
I immediately spied the fish sandwich on the menu for $5. But wouldn’t you know it: they were out of fish. What’s the deal? I have been to numerous places in the past few months trying to get fish sandwiches and they are out. Is there a fish shortage? Geez.
My back-up plan was simply a burger and fries for $4.25 and $1.80, respectively. The soda is priced at $1.75.
We enjoyed friendly food-related banter during our wait for the food. I noticed Misty’s eyes kept darting around the room like she was nervous or something.
I must say my food was pretty good. The hamburger was pattied out by real human hands it seemed. The bun was a large, soft sesame seed covered variety that was a bit too big for the burger, so I tore off the excess for a perfect fit. The fries were frozen, but served crispy. The portions were generous, especially for the price. Daniel and I even got our very own pitcher of Diet Soda for self-serve refills. I liked that!
But the food was not tasty enough to get me to come back to The Dome, not that there’s anything wrong with it. If I didn’t know Stanton better, I’d think he suggested The Dome simply to try to put us off-balance a little bit. ONE FORK.
Ha! for those in the Phil fan club (okay I know there really is no Phil fan club…just humor me), I’m back from a trip around, um nowhere. I really don’t have a good excuse for not posting recently except to blame it on my three kids and the ‘hectic-ness’ of my life in general.
Oh well, I have been in attendance for a lot of meals with the rest of the gang, just haven’t had anything prolific or interesting to share. But, I’m feeling a little guilty, so I’ll add my two cents to this post.
Approaching the Dome, I felt that old adventurous spirit rising in my blood. It almost rose enough for me to order a beer, but not quite. Entering the place reminded me a lot of those old westerns where the tumbleweed blows down the empty dirt streets, and the door hinges creak from a lack of use. It was eerily similar to that image. No wait, it was exactly like that image.
Once inside, we wandered around for a minute or two, assessing the best seats in the house. Actually, we had our pick of any of them (as we were the first patrons in the facility for the day) and settled for one near the front window, mostly because of the availability of light. I can say I’ve closed my share of bars down in my life, but this was a first to actually open one up! Eventually our server approached and upon request, presented us with several menus.
Trying to be different, I ordered a steak and cheese hoagie with the standard mayo, lettuce and tomato. I really wanted fries, but neglected to tell the server and instead received the standard chips with the order. The sandwich was average, even though I like my meat well done, (I’ll replace the E. Coli risk here with that of cancer by carcinogens) it was actually little overdone and too dry for me. Actually, I think my sandwich was done first and sat the longest waiting for everyone else’s to get done.
The conversation and company was great (at least until Daniel spooked Stanton). We got to hear about some of the early years of Stanton’s life and of the origin of the Hot Dog blog site. (For those of you who haven’t heard it, it involves allergies, massive quantities of Benadryl, and peanut butter). Quite the story.
Much like the wait staff, our food all disappeared, and eventually we had to return to work. The lunch was uneventful and unmemorable, almost average for bar food. No one got sick, but I don’t think we’ll be back unless we’re ready to pound a few. By the time we left, a few of the locals had pulled their way up to the bar. Checking out was a little interesting, as we were not the regular crowd and we garnered a few looks while waiting to pay our bills. All in all I’d say the experience was a TWO FORK one. I’m too wimpy to rate it with just one.The Dome Bar & Grill 311 57th Street Charleston, WV 25304 304-925-1469