Restaurant Review: The Souplantation – the “Hungry” Eater Strikes Out – Again!

by on October 3, 2011 · 16 comments

in Culture, Popular, The Widder Curry

I am so glad that I have written some positive reviews about local restaurants, because I, once again, just had a terrible meal from one of the standards.

A friend called me and said that he had a coupon for the two for one Sunday breakfast at the “Souplantation” on Midway – close to OB. I hesitated before agreeing to go with him, because I have never enjoyed the lunch or dinner I have had there. (I think they need more variety of salads.)

But… since he offered to pay, I agreed to go. The coupon was for us to buy two breakfasts, pay for one, and order two drinks. The cost of the breakfasts were $8.99 each, less one of them, and two drinks at $2.39 each! (For ice tea, no less.)

The first thing that greeted us were several bowls of dry cereals. That is okay, for some, but I didn’t want to pay $8.99 for a bowl, or two, of cereal. Then there was the same salad bar, with the same scant amount of salads that are available for lunch and dinner. For some reason, potato salad, cucumbers, etc. just not I was looking for breakfast. My friend asked if there was any hot food, and was told it was available after the cashier station.

The first thing available, after paying for our meal, was the soup station that is always available for lunch and dinner. Again, clam chowder, chicken noodle soup, etc., was not what I wanted for breakfast, so I skipped that part. And finally, the breakfast selections.

It is hard for me to talk about this, because it was so bad. I will try to be as objective as I can but….

There was a “scratch-made” Egg Frittata – although it was nothing like any Frittata I have ever had before. And “scratch-made.” What the hell does that mean? That they didn’t open up a frozen frittata and zap it in the micro-wave? Perhaps they should have, because it was luke-warm.

There were “freshly made” Belgian Waffles. I watched the “cook” cut them before putting them on a serving platter. I wondered if he needed to put his knee up on the cutting board because he was having trouble cutting them. He was probably one of those kindergarten children that could not color in the lines, because he was having such a hard time cutting the squares. They too, were luke-warm.

The French Toast reminded me of Zwieback (for those of you old enough to remember it) for it was overcooked, hard, and, again, luke-warm. Even the tasty berry compote I put on the top of it did nothing to soften the bread. The menu says they serve “Potatoes O’Brien” but I didn’t see them. What I did see was tepid cut potatoes that were supposed to be “country style” but they fell short.

The “Egg Scramble Focaccia”, was okay – basically it was scrambled eggs with red pepper, seasonings, tomatoes cooked on top of Focaccia bread. Any guess as to the heat index? You have to give Souplantation credit – they were consistent.

There was one item that was hot. Real hot. The cinnamon apple compote was tasty and served nicely. There was a “Mediterranean Breakfast Pasta with Feta Cheese” that is similar to Carbonara. It too, was only warm. (Believe me, Carbonara is much better even if served cold.)

There were Cinnamon Chip Biscuits that are billed as “to die for”, but I am afraid that might be a literal translation instead of a figurative one. (I think that is what that was, because there was no sign identifying it.)

The donuts were tasty; the Blueberry muffins were good, except they ran out of them and in the 45 minutes we were there the tray was never replaced. That in itself is odd, because the blueberry muffins are served at lunch and dinner, so it wasn’t like they didn’t want to have any left when they changed from the breakfast menu to the lunch menu.

There was also a bowl of warm scrambled eggs. (What else can you say about warm scrambled eggs?)

The man behind me asked where the sausage was. He was told they didn’t have any. He then asked where the bacon was. He was given the same answer. (Oh well, it probably would have been served cold, anyway.) A woman seating behind me said to us, as she was leaving, “I have never had such a bad meal. This was my first – and last – time here.”)

The only fruit available was slices of honey-dew melon, which I would have had but just moments before I watched a youngster touch each piece before he decided he didn’t want any at all. There was “sugar-free” chocolate pudding (you really don’t need me to tell you my feelings about that, do you?), yogurt, and, of course, their soft-serve ice cream which was served cold!!!!

And one more small thing; our table was never cleared, even when we got up to get something else to drink.

Souplantation states that they have “ . . . all the ‘fixins’ for making your own Breakfast Burritos.” I thought that Burritos are made with tortilla’s, but I did not see any available. (Of course, I really didn’t see the “fixins” for burritos anyway!)

In a previous review of a restaurant I visited, someone said that I “got what I paid for. He felt that if I were to go to a cheap restaurant I should not expect better than I got.” I don’t think that $10+ is cheap for breakfast.

I am on a very limited income (Social Security) and I expect good and tasty food no matter where I go. I am a good cook and know that it does not take much to make food tasty. Certainly serving it hot should not be difficult. There’s not a heck of a lot that a person can do to screw up breakfast – runny eggs, maybe; overcooked eggs, etc. But what I had as my choice of eating this morning was terrible. Why eat there for $24 – if we didn’t have a coupon – when there are so many other good places nearby. (Case in point: we went to Chili’s for dinner last night. For $23. we shared an appetizer and I had half a rack of ribs and my friend had extra crispy chicken. It came with French fries as well.)

The Sizzler was in business a long time and it is gone. I will not be surprised when the Souplantation closes, also.


avatar oBak October 3, 2011 at 10:20 am

Personal attacks on people trying to do their job.
Stay classy.

avatar judi curry October 3, 2011 at 11:25 am

Excuse me. What personal attack? I paid for the meal; the least I can expect is hot food.

avatar oBak October 3, 2011 at 11:47 am

“He was probably one of those kindergarten children that could not color in the lines, because he was having such a hard time cutting the squares.”

avatar doug porter October 3, 2011 at 10:48 am

it’s “personal” when we pay good money for bad food.

avatar Let's Be Realistic October 3, 2011 at 2:28 pm

This lady is certainly entitled to her opinion but she was not paying for the meal-her friend invited her and paid for it. No one goes to Souplantation and expects a gourmet extravaganza. I have been there for breakfast with my son several times and found it very tasty and good. I skip all that salad stuff at the beginning and head straight for the hot breakfast dishes, where the selections are generally quite good and I am NOT a big buffet aficionada, to begin with.

The dear lady here may have been having a bad day and her apparent lack of appreciation for the generousity of her friend’s invitation to dine gratis makes her appear mean-spirited and ultra-critical. The OB Rag can do far better than to publish articles like this spitting nails by persnickety diners.

avatar judi curry October 3, 2011 at 2:50 pm

You have to be kidding! Because I didn’t pay for my meal I have to accept poor food and service. I was NOT having a bad day. My friend’s experiences mirrored mine. He was as unhappy with his meal as I was with mine. I am not a persnickety diner either. I love food; I have written two cookbooks. I would be embarrassed to serve the kind of food I was served at the restaurant. I work hard for my money, as does my friend. I didn’t expect gourmet food; merely tasty and palatable.

avatar unWASHEdwalmaRtthONG October 3, 2011 at 2:56 pm

Tastsy palatable, here, here.

avatar john October 3, 2011 at 4:31 pm

Sounds like an awful lot of food for $4.50, or even $8.99 in 2011, which is still cheap- the main complaint being some of it was not “out of the oven hot” by the time you got to it.
Souplantation: “We can fix that by raising our prices, but that means fewer people come and that means we can’t make as many dishes and replace the ones we make, as often- it’s quite a dilemma.”
Just accept it is not a perfect world.

avatar judi curry October 3, 2011 at 4:42 pm

This isn’t even worthwhile answering but: It was still a $15 meal; it was still awful, whether it was hot or not. If raising your prices means a better tasting meal then do it. As far as “replacing the ones you make” – I’m still waiting for the replacement of the blueberry muffins! No, it is not a perfect world, but I do not have to pay to eat substandard food. At the Souplantation or anywhere else. It seems to me there even might be a health issue involved if the food was sitting on a steam table and the possibility of bacteria growth happens as the food cools. I am more interested in quality; not quantity.

avatar john October 3, 2011 at 5:17 pm

How did it get from “2 for 1 for $8.99” to $15? Must be that “new math” thingy, but I digress, being in the last freshman class in California that was required to learn the slide rule.

“I am more interested in quality; not quantity.”

So why are we critiquing a visit to Souplantation on a twofer with this as a standard? I don’t think I’m alone here to say I’m baffled.

“It seems to me there even might be a health issue involved if the food was sitting on a steam table and the possibility of bacteria growth happens as the food cools. ”

You didn’t get sick, did you?

I was thinking the other day after the blackout, after which the health dept people on TV were telling me to throw out EVERYthing in the fridge “to be safe” what the hell did people do before the 50’s, when refrigerators became cheap enough to be commonplace? (I didn’t open the fridge ONCE in those 11 hours) I threw away an open package of potato salad (no brainer) and ate everything else. Although I was starting to notice the swiss cheese was a little bit cheesier toward the end, in a “my socks smell like cheese” way.

My god we’re becoming a society of scaredcats. Germs and bacteria are good for you! At least the ones that don’t kill you that is.

You should THANK souplantation for helping to strengthen your immune system, and me for strengthening your sense of humor.

avatar annagrace October 4, 2011 at 12:02 am

Judi- I have no idea what set off the snarling, grumpy responses to your review. Is it unreasonable to expect food to be served at the correct temperature? Is it unreasonable to expect the items listed on the menu to be available?
What bothered me about the responses is the presumptive remark about what constitutes cheap, as in “low” prices. Low prices is a relative term. What is easily affordable (cheap) for me may not be affordable for the next person. But beyond that, does “cheap” mean “don’t expect anything in terms of quality or service”?
Keep those restaurant reviews coming….

avatar john October 4, 2011 at 2:25 am

$4.50 for an all you can eat buffet, in 2011 with minimum wage being $8.00/hr.
Are you seriously going to argue that isn’t the cheapest meal in town?

I think I missed this the first time:

“I am a good cook and know that it does not take much to make food tasty. Certainly serving it hot should not be difficult.”

Cooking at home for 1-4 people is irrelevant to operating an all you can eat buffet restaurant, let alone doing so profitably enough to stay in business.

avatar judi curry October 4, 2011 at 7:41 am

John, let me clarify something. I do not know where you got $4.50 for the meal. It was $8.95 for each adult meal; we had to buy two drinks. One of the meals was offset by the coupon. We still paid $15 a substandard meal. Even if it is the cheapest meal in town – it isn’t – it was still awful. BTW – I can go to Las Quartros Milpas in Barrio Logan for a fantastic meal, hot, tasty and under $7, including a drink.

avatar ClubStyle_DJ October 4, 2011 at 7:54 am

Confused at the attitude being wafted towards the author.
Guess the obrag has logic-less trolls too, like every other blog.
Congrats OBR!

avatar Patty Jones October 4, 2011 at 10:26 am

Pffft, thanks CS_DJ.

I’m sorry, Judi, for all the personal attacks that this seemingly innocuous topic has resulted in. Especially from people who “spit nails” and can’t even use their real name.

I’m closing the comments on this post.

avatar Talkingheadroom October 4, 2011 at 9:24 am

I’m confused over the need to review corporate places like Denny’s and Souplantation. What’s next, a review of Subway, Cosco Pizza, etc? Try some of our local owned dining establishments. Or just title your column “Dining for seniors on a budget”.

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