August 9, 2012

The Sunrise Cafe (Review)

While my "real" job is as steady as can be, Wife often finds herself in flux.  Not that she is ever worried about being laid off, thankfully; her employment is more solid than that.  But working in child care, her hours can vary pretty wildly, especially during the summer.  Kids vanish for summer vacations, then come back with siblings who are normally in elementary school.  Some checks are small, and others....well, let's just say others prompt us to go out for breakfast on a Saturday morning.

It was that way last Saturday, when we came out from under a little financial dark cloud and decided to celebrate by getting something to eat.  We knew we'd have a great breakfast at the Egg Factory, but I'd already written about it.  That meant leaving the neighborhood, hitting a chain, or going to either Merrit's or The Sunrise Cafe.  The former is well known in town for being the "Home of the Scone" (despite the fact that what they serve, while amazing, is actually a sweetened fry-bread, not the hard English tea-time snack,) but the latter, in my opinion, has often gone unrecognized for having the best biscuits around.  Wife didn't care, so I voted biscuit, and we drove over to the Sunrise Cafe (7135 West State Street, Boise, ID 83714
  Prior to the existence of the Egg Factory, this was actually a fairly regular destination for us, but we had only been back once since it closed down for a remodel.  When we entered, a very chipper hostess gave us a seat not far from the counter, where we could see all the cooks in action.  The chalk board in the front lobby told Wife all she needed to know--Prime Rib Special--but I began looking at the menu for something to satisfy.  

Minutes passed.  And then more minutes.  Despite a relatively small weekend crowd, our waitress didn't come by our table.  Wife flagged down the hostess while she was trying to seat others, and managed to get some coffee, but I was left without a drink  Finally, we decided to put our menus at the edge of the table to attract the server's attention.  Still nothing.  We estimated we'd been there a full ten minutes and were preparing to walk out the door when she finally came over.  

"You ready?"

"No, actually," Wife began, "we just thought our menus by the side of the table would get your attention.  My husband just wanted a soda, and we've been here ten minutes without anyone saying anything to us."

"Oh.  So which soda?"  No sorry, no slightest hint that she realized how irritated we were.  Still, it seemed pointlessly dramatic to walk out at that point.  Well, and we were hungry.  Although the Sunrise is technically "just across the street" from the Egg Factory, by the time we packed up, argued about having to pay for the coffee, re-parked, re-sat, and re-perused, another twenty minutes would have gone by.  So I ordered a Diet Mt. Dew (one of the bright spots of the visit, the presence of a diet soda other than cola in a restaurant's soda fountain, which in Boise at least seems to be rare,) and finally settled on my meal.  Wife, as predicted went prime rib (medium rare) and eggs (over easy) with hash browns and sourdough toast.  I ordered a jalapeno, ham, and cheddar omelet with a biscuit and skillet potatoes.  Orders in, we began wait #2.  It was hard to shake off the bad service that greeted us, but Wife was adamant we try.  Anyway, there were no issues of the Boise Weekly on hand, so I wasn't able to torment myself by finding other places I hadn't blogged about in their Annual Manual.  The wait for our food was average-to-long, and probably wouldn't have been noticeable without the other gripes, but at least our cups stayed full.  The waitress assigned to us still didn't seem much inclined to give us the time of day, but her coworkers (despite being pregnant and working busier sections) kept coming to check on us.  I think they could sense our frustration.  

One of these looks like what I wanted.  The other...not so much.  Can you guess which I got more of?
This prime rib could never play Shylock in The Merchant of Venice, because if you prick it, it really doesn't bleed.
Egg Snot!  Need I say more?
Sadly, the food didn't make things any better, especially not Wife's.  She and I both got disgusting potatoes--some crispy and brown, teasing quality, others limp, wet, watery and white--but she had to contend with burnt toast as well.  The prime rib was overcooked and tasted like cafeteria steak rather than something that was "special."  But these were irritations that could have been overlooked if it weren't for her eggs.  The cook had failed to complete cooking the albumen, leaving what can only be described as egg snot oozing off of the whites of her eggs.  Even though she hates making a fuss (in public places, anyway,) Wife had no choice but to send it back.  With one of the pregnant waitresses from the other section, because she was the only waitress we could find, naturally.  

Normally, omelets have things in the middle.
As for my food, the potatoes were gross, as I mentioned above.  The omelet was odd, with the jalapenos and ham mixed directly into the eggs and the cheese melted in a tiny patch on top rather than anything stuffed within, but although I judged its appearance harshly, it tasted OK.  

A biscuit in a box to go would have earned a good review, though.  Perfect.
Fortunately, despite all the other flaws that were exposed that morning, the biscuit was exactly as I remembered it.  Soft, flaky, and huge, I spread it with butter and strawberry freezer jam and savored every bite as if it were the blue pill from The Matrix, allowing me to forget what had transpired before.  But unfortunately for the Sunrise, I didn't forget.  Bad service is one thing (although bad service that doesn't include a welcome is pretty bad indeed,) but the incident with the uncooked egg is a dire one.  We'd had many good meals at the Sunrise, but only two bad ones--both after their remodel--and both featured such uncooked eggs.  This isn't the only Sunrise location, (there are others in Meridian, Middleton, and another Boise location on Federal Way,) and there is a good chance that things are better at one of those locations.  But these aren't the same cooks that I remember.  And despite doing all they could to cover for our assigned waitress, the other servers couldn't make me happy with the service I received.  They still have a biscuit that makes my mouth happy, but that isn't really enough of a reason to recommend going there; biscuit aside, until they make some changes at this location, I'd go as far as to say that if it came down to the two you should pick Denny's.           Sunrise Family Restaurant on Urbanspoon

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