Okay, I made a return visit to Stroud’s in Wichita last night as an anniversary dinner. My regretful impressions:
Arrived around 6:30, but not so crowded that immediate seating was a problem. Was seated in a room with about 8 tables, although we were the only people in the room to begin with. Ordered the 1/2 chicken dinner with the salad – blue cheese creamy dressing with the additional blue cheese crumbles. The wife had gizzards — don’t know why, but she seems to like gnawing on those things. The salad had a nice selection of mixed greens, but the iceburg lettuce that made up about 50% of the mix was yellow or browning on the edges. Mostly I picked out the baby spinach leaves, that funny purple lettuce, and ate the purple onions and croutons.
When the meal arrived, the chicken was disappointing. The crust on the chicken was thin, unseasoned, and well…tired. It was lacking in the robust character that I remembered. Fortunately, there was a bottle of red pepper sauce on the table, which made it more interesting. The green beens were well-cooked, but were bland. The mashed potatoes and pan gravy were superb, however, and I’m always willing to cut a break to the main course if the potatoes are good. The cinnamon rolls that were brought at the conclusion of the meal were hot, crunchy with sugar and cinnamon, and slightly undercooked, but in a good way.
What was disturbing was the supporting cast from "Deliverance" that were seating at the next table about the time our meal was served – 3 men and a woman who was quite friendly with all of them. They demanded a wine list, ordered white wine because it goes good with…chicken fried steak. Then when the wine arrived, they ordered another bottle to make sure they would be good and drunk before the food arrived. Then we were treated to loud and sloppy kissing, cussing, discussions of a frank and adult nature, and various body noises. Because the waitress saw a monster tip in her future, she played along with them. Not being the sort to create a situation, we finished our meal, packed up the significant amount of leftovers, and made a hasty departure. I don’t know, maybe it was just a bad night for an anniversary dinner, maybe there was a biker convention in the area, maybe society has coarsened. It wasn’t a bad dining experience, the food wasn’t unappetizing overall, it just wasn’t as good as it was when we ate there 3-4 years ago.