Wednesday, September 15, 2010

Restaurant Review: Lone Star Steakhouse and Saloon

Lone Star Steakhouse and Saloon
Lone Star Steakhouse and Saloon
123 Whitetail Dr
Dundee, MI 48131-8607
(734) 529-8270

On our way back from the Detroit Metropolitan Airport (DTW)  (which is now called Detroit-Metro by the local government - a sort of pseudo trendy 'Detroit isn't really sinking' name inspired by desperation and laziness) we stopped at the Lone Star Steakhouse and Saloon for dinner. We were all very hungry, so this review is colored by two conditions: One, everything tastes better when you're hungry; Two, the service will always be slow and vaguely irritating while you're waiting for your food to arrive.

The Lone Star Steakhouse is a chain. Everything is owned by Lone Star, which means that a local manager has very little flexibility on the things that might be improved. Things like service, ambiance and food quality, for instance.

Lone Star is decorated to strongly resemble some Eastern college graduate son of a Texas shitkicker's idea of what a gun fearing anti-freedom weenie from New York city would like to see in a Texas saloon just as soon as he rallies enough bravery to walk through the Hollywood bat wing doors. If you find that last sentence to be lacking in clarity, you now have some insight into the decor of any Lone Star Steakhouse in the United States. I'm given to understand that there may be Lone Star Steakhouses open in Australia, which means that the average Aussie now thinks we are all limpwristed Brokeback Mountain variants, partly due to the efforts of Lone Star Steakhouse and partly in retaliation for Crocodile Dundee. Don't let any of this deter you. If you like county western music and fake Texas decor, you'll love it here. To give the place credit, it's clean and well-lit.

The service at the Lone Star Steakhouse is slow and irritating. There were four of us and we ordered two steak dinners, a French dip sandwich and a bowl of soup for Mom, who wasn't hungry. It took over 30 minutes to get our food. The server stopped by three times during our thirty minute wait to reassure us that the kitchen was working on our order and it would be right up - okay? How do you explain to a mentally deficient twenty-something that no, it is a long way from okay. In fact, it is now a solid thirty minutes away from okay. I remained silent, as the poor girl was only the messenger and shooting her would do no good. When our food finally arrived, one steak was grossly undercooked and was returned to the kitchen. My steak was slightly over-cooked but I refused to send it back. The French dip sandwich was excellent.

Trouble with the service started as soon as our orders arrived. The waitress's standard greeting was some variant on, "Is everything outstanding?" delivered with a brainless, perky inflection. When I refused to respond with the equally brainless, enthusiastic "Yes!" that she's been trained to expect, the poor creature to became confused. After we were served, the manager appeared to make sure that we were completely satisfied. When the manager failed to get the brainless enthusiastic agreement to his own version of "Is everything outstanding?" he repeated himself several times, clearly expecting a different response. Failing to get "Everything's excellent!" the man discovered he'd turned into a mental dead end, and he was clearly at a loss for words. The training manual didn't cover this situation. I explained that the food took too long to arrive and that my steak was good, but not excellent. The manager reassures me that he'll look into that and get it fixed, although just how this will help us now escapes me. Our waitress continued to show up every few minutes with her question of the evening, but as soon as we finished our meal she vanished. No surprise there, right?

The waitress is slow with the check and is so slow in bringing my change that I finally shine it on and let her keep the balance as her gratuity. In hindsight, I shouldn't have done this but I was tired from the trip. No longer hungry, what I really wanted to do was go home and surround a double shot of Jack Daniel's, watch a little TV and go to bed. The price of my immediate gratification is a couple dollars, which I can afford.

In summary:
  • Ambiance: 6
  • Service: 5
  • Food: 7
Overall rating: 6.

I'd eat at the at the Lone Star Steakhouse and Saloon again despite my low evaluation, but I'd do so knowing what to expect.


Beat And Release said...

Despite growing up in S. Florida I don't do seafood. The wife and son do, though. I broke down and took them to what is supposed to be one of the better seafood places in town so they could get some crab legs. I was delighted when I saw steak on the menu and ordered it. As soon as it was delivered I knew I was in trouble. I took a couple of bites then gave up on it.

When the waitress came back she asked about the steak. "That cow died in vain," I replied. She looked puzzled. I explained I could have gone to a Quincy's, Ryan's or Black Angus and paid eight bucks for the same quality of steak they charged me seventeen for.

Fortunately, the manager came over and comped the steak. I haven't been back to that joint.

Mad Jack said...

I know what you mean. I got a prime rib once and could not identify just what it was. I sent it back, welts and all, with the explanation that while I couldn't identify it, I could tell that it was not a prime rib.