Liberty Station, 2750 Dewey Road,
San Diego, 92106
I have to admit that while I was recuperating from “trigger finger” surgery the past few weeks, my life was relatively smooth with few, if any, angry people telling me that now that I have reached the 70+ mark my taste buds are numb; that I was really wrong about my review of their favorite restaurant; that maybe I should be doing something else than writing/reviewing/existing. The truth is that something was missing in my life; nothing to get overly excited about and I am thrilled to note here that within a few minutes after this article is published it will be like I was never away.
Ever since this restaurant opened I have wanted to try it out. Today was a perfect day, because on Wednesday my “widow support group” meets, either at someone’s home or at a diner. We have been together almost 3 years now, and definite likes and dislikes have manifested in our relationship to the point that we know each other well enough to know what they are thinking before it is ever voiced.
The first thing I heard about SLATER’S was that their beef is infused with bacon. In fact, they have a beef patty called “50/50” that is just that; half beef and half bacon. It is interesting to note that none of us ordered that, primarily because the special burger seemed to be too filling for us. (The burger is topped with a sunny-side up egg; avocado mash, pepper jack cheese and chipotle mayo, served on white brioche. I do not think that any of us realized – or maybe they did because I was a little late arriving – that they could have had a “design your own” burger using that patty. Instead, we had something else on the menu.
After looking at the “design your own” menu, I had a question. The “choose it” section was rather standard except that you were given a printed paper; stubby golf-club pencils; and items to check off, ala sushi restaurants.
For example, the selections were: Choose it – the kind of patty you wanted, from a 50/50 patty, to beef, chicken, turkey, etc. Size it – from 1/3 lbs @$8.95 to a full pound at $13.95; Cook it – with 5 selections from rare to well done; Bread it – with 5 choices of bread from White Brioche Bun to Lettuce wrapped; Sauce it – with 21 different sauces available; Cheese it – with 12 varieties of cheese. (On both the “sauce it” and the “Cheese it” one sauce comes with the meal; if you want more than one there was an additional 50 cents charge.) Top it – gave the choice of 22 toppings of which you could choose 4 and 50 cents for each one you wanted after that.
It was an eclectic menu, ranging from the mundane – Green leaf lettuce, tomato, etc. to the exotic – asparagus spears, grilled pineapple, sauerkraut, etc. The final selection is entitled “Over the Top it” and if you wanted one of these selections it would be $1.00 more per topping. There were 15 selections, that included pastrami, peanut butter and jelly, sweet potato fries, etc.
Each of us ordered the beef patty, but that is where the similarity ended. One ordered asparagus spears that were cooked to perfection; one had grilled pineapple which was tasty; one had sauerkraut, and I think we all had tomato on the bun. None of us ordered the same kind of bread. In addition to the burger, we ordered a side of sweet potato fries and onion rings.
Since we all wanted to try the sweet potato fries, and it was offered as a “Top it” on the burger for $1.00, I wanted to know if we should order the side $4.45 – or the topper. The waiter, Larry, did not wait for me to ask my question and instead answered something I did not ask. Giving him the old “school teacher” look, I said to him that what he answered was not my question. He looked sheepish when he told me to ask again. His suggestion was to get the side order. We did.
When he asked us what we wanted to drink I asked if he had Raspberry iced tea. He said “no” they had strawberry ice tea and then quickly changed it to say that there was strawberry lemonade. I, along with one widow, ordered an Arnold Palmer, which, by the way, needed sugar, but we had to ask for it because there was none on the table. When we were brought the sweetener, we were surprised to see that what was brought to us was all diet – and a separate trip had to be made to bring us real sugar. (For her – not for me!)
While waiting for our meal to be delivered, we looked around the very noisy place and counted at least 15 televisions on; none seemed to be showing the same thing; and there were some more televisions that we could not see because they were in another part of the restaurant. There were several people eating outside – something we wished that we had done too.
Our huge burgers were served to us by a “server”. When we filled out what we wanted on our burgers we put our name on the paper and so when the delivery came the server just said, “this is for Judi; this one is for Irene,”. A nice touch.
The onion rings were served with the meal, and, without belaboring the point, they were so bad – greasy, old tasting, – that we sent them back and they were taken off our check. The sweet potato fries were very good; hot; and the pumpkin/cinnamon sauce with them was delicious. Needless to say we did not send them back!
The two ladies that arrived before the rest of us had their drinks refilled almost right away; one of us had a long wait – guess who? – and one of the widow’s asked me if I had wanted a refill because it wasn’t until the end of the meal that the waiter asked the same thing. I told her I wasn’t asking for one because I wanted to see if he would bring it on his own. (The difference between a good tip and none at all!)
While we were eating, the manager came up to us and asked us how everything was. He seemed genuinely interested and said there would be no problem in not charging for the onion rings. I asked him for a copy of the “Choose it” menu and he said he’d bring it right away. He didn’t bring it “right away” but he did bring it.
Our meal, with tax and tip was approximately $14. Each of us paid $1.25 for the sweet potato fries in addition to the $14.
I was concerned when I first heard about the bacon/beef patty. There are so many people that can’t – won’t eat bacon that I was afraid that this might be a “racial profiling” situation. But I am glad to say that there were enough things on the menu to not even worry about that possibility. In addition to the patties, there were specialties such as Pastrami, Chicken, Spicy Buffalo Chicken, Irish Quesadilla, Fried Chicken and Pancakes (?) and Turkey and Bacon Chili. There is also a salad list.
So…would I go back? In all honesty I would say probably not. The patty, although large, was dry, even though it looked greasy. I think that the burgers at “Ragland” in Ocean Beach are far superior to the one I had today, and “Hodad’s” and “In and Out” are also juicier than what we were served. Plus the noise was deafening and neither “Hodad’s” or “Ragland” are quiet.. The sweet potato fries are comparable with “Ragland”, but the French Fried Onion Rings left a great deal to be desired.
I know that there will be “my” critics out there. Let me hear from you. But be nice. I’m still recovering from surgery.