Oregon Coast Restaurant Reviews: The Shouldn't, the Bad and the Ugly
(Oregon Coast) - 90 percent of the time, BeachConnection.net's restaurant reviews are largely positive. There's plenty of so-so restaurants out there that sort of fall under the category of either just not interesting enough to review or write about, and with a touch of "if we can’t say anything nice we won't say anything at all." See more Oregon Coast Restaurant reviews....
Luckily, there aren't too many seriously awful ones we've come across either - not yet. But there are three that stand out: so vile and wrong in one way or another they definitely deserve a literary pounding.
Pacific Way Café in Gearhart, the Pizza Hut in Tillamook and one eatery so wrong it will actually remain unnamed come under these 15 minutes of culinary shame. These are places I’d actually beg readers to stay away from, based on my own experiences.
At Pacific Way Café, I had an exceptional duck – but the worst service I’ve ever encountered. So bad, I wondered if they were perhaps being bigoted to some degree, treating me like dirt in a surreal way because of my spiky hair and beachy flip flops. Yes, I was a bit underdressed than the majority of the clientele, but not by much. And for heaven’s sake – it’s the freaking beach!
I’d heard much about the place over the years, and the food lived up to the expectations, although I wondered if some parts of the simple salad were in perfect shape. The duck was absolutely sublime and worth every penny of the 20-something bucks I shelled out.
However, the service was a monstrosity.
It began with the seating “arrangement.” There were numerous tables throughout the entire establishment that were open, but they chose to put me at an old desk that served as a single seat or something. Now, this battered antique was a cute addition to the place, and under normal circumstances would be sort of humorous and enjoyable. The problem was I in a crowded room of other tables, with my back to everyone else. I felt like I’d done something bad at school and was being made to face the wall.
Luckily, there was at least a window to look out at, but nothing could make up for that uncomfortable feeling that you were the only person facing away from a room of about 20 people.
It was seriously uncomfortable, even disconcerting. Whatever you do, if you must dine here, don’t dine alone, for fear of being put in some awkward situation.
The staff was odd as well. Maybe it was my growing uneasy mood, but the young guy who periodically attended to me for silverware and such reminded me of the pock-marked teen caricature in “The Simpsons” cartoon, who is depicted with a cracking, mid-pubescent voice, annoying teen mannerisms and is often in some dead-end food service job.
There were two other female waitresses that occasionally attended me, one a little curt at times. This was confusing, as if they couldn’t figure out who the hell was my server. Bring me the nicer one, please.
I sat here and scribbled notes about my dining experience, and made snide remarks on paper about the service and the seating. When I got up to go to the bathroom, I left the notes sitting there, half-hoping they’d see them.
When I came back, that’s when the most memorable bad service occurred.
My pen, silverware, salad plate and napkin were gone. My piece of notepaper remained, but they clearly had started to clear me out. I hadn’t even had the duck yet.
I sat back down, in shock and utterly confused, and only later did it hit me they were cleaning my table off. I felt like they were trying to give me a hint the whole time.
After a few minutes, the “Simpsons” dude showed up again and began putting silverware back on the table. He sheepishly said: “Sorry, there was a misunderstanding. We thought you had left.”
Does no one else ever go to the bathroom here and leave their table? Can you not go to the can and have your stuff removed – including your very own pen?
What kind of joint is this? I was beyond appalled.
The “Simpsons” kid eventually brought the pen back, only after I asked with no small hint of disdain.
I wasn’t entirely convinced this was the situation he described – a misunderstanding. It was then it hit me perhaps these morons were trying to send me a message all along.
I ate my meal in a ticked off mood, but managed to savor the duck anyway.
I always leave at least a 20 percent tip when dining in – everywhere but fast food joints. This time, I left my business card and a measly buck for a tip for a $25 dinner. I was pissed.
Several years ago, I had the dishonor of dining at the Pizza Hut in Tillamook. It was the only thing open at this rather late hour, except Subway (which is where I wound up later anyway).
Now, granted, chains like this aren’t good fodder for food reviews. It’s pointless. But this one had service so moronic I was livid.
There was me, a table of three early twentysomethings, and one or two other tables. They were not busy by any stretch of the imagination.
I ordered some noodle dish, and asked – and then double-checked - if they could do it without cheese because I am horribly lactose intolerant. She assured me it that was fine.
Now, I’ve been to other Pizza Huts, and it doesn’t take a half hour to make one of those little noodle and spaghetti sauce dishes. They’re faster than pizzas (I worked at a Pizza Hut in high school).
Yet this took a good half hour. I never do this: I actually got up and asked about my food.
When it came, it arrived with – you guessed – the cheese that is deadly to my system. I scoffed “I can’t eat this,” and scurried out.
As I said, I wound up at Subway. I actually like them now.
The third and final installation of culinary horror tales is so bad that I’m not sure I can legally even say who it was.
One spring, about 2004, I’m along the Three Capes Loop and get a craving for chili dogs. I find a little roadside dive with some. Sure, it’s convenient store-like food. I’m not expecting any gastronomic fireworks by any means (well maybe from the chili, but that’s just a bad pun).
I grab two of these babies, and head for a favorite beach a few miles away. There, on a cliff over looking the sea, I start downing these junkfood, guilty pleasures. About halfway through the first one, I bite into something awful.
It’s vile and disgusting, and has a plastic texture. I can’t see it in the mass of stuff I’d spit out onto the ground, and I purposefully don’t look, because I just didn’t want to really know. It could’ve been a chunk of wrapper, or part of a plastic glove or something less disturbing. But honestly – and hold your mouth for this one – I’m pretty sure it was a bandaid.
If I had actually seen a bandaid in the food I’d spit out, I would’ve done a lot more with my throat and stomach than that. The truth, in this case, was just too hard to bear.
So, you see, since I don’t have proof of what it actually was, I can’t really tell you where I got this atrocity. Just beware of some of the roadside convenient store fare along deserted roads.
As to other culinary wrongs I’ve encountered in my many years of exploring the coast – there were surprisingly few. Honestly, all the others I’ve had have gone out of business.
The Muchas Gracias in Seaside, now defunct, got unbearably bad near its end. All the others I’ve eaten at – in Salem, Portland, Lincoln City and Newport – have been fab. In Wheeler, the last incarnation of Guido’s was bigtime bad, save for a couple dishes. I wasted my last meal of the year there one New Year’s Eve with a particularly horrible pasta dish. But it’s gone, so there’s no need to bash that dead horse.
I’ve had a lot of bad fish dishes, even in some nicer restaurants, but that’s largely because I don’t like seafood very much.
Still, I must give the Oregon coast some recognition for largely good service and a decent standard of food in most places. In actuality, I haven’t found any barbecue places in Portland I like much at all, while the coast has three fabulous barbecue spots I know of right off hand. They’re obscenely good.