Where do I begin here?

Kaiser’s used to be a nice little diner / ice cream shop with all the ambiance and nostalgia for which you could ever hope. The counter top in this drug store food counter style eatery was riddled with photos of great times gone by at Kaiser’s; photos of first dates with bobbysocksers and happy, smiling faces.

The new Kaiser’s has done away with that great old counter top and, while the counter is still there, you now grab a paper menu on the way in and order at one spot at the counter a la McDonald’s. While you can still sit at the counter if you so choose, it’s a little discouraging to not get the kind of personal service one would expect at the counter and to have to sit next to the constant line of orderers.

Now, about the food… One of my biggest pet peeves is when restaurant owners think they can stick a trendy word in the name and it instantly makes their establishment better than everyone else’s and therefore able to charge three times as much. This, unfortunately has happened at Kaiser’s. The flash word they chose was Bistro.

My son and I dined at Kaiser’s a few days ago. We both ordered a buffalo burger (one of the items upon which Kaiser’s builds their identity) with fries and an ice cream soda. The cheese choices were bordering on the silly with their attempt to look sophisticated by offering the likes of jarlsberg but without a simple american cheese in sight. We both went with pepper jack.

The burger came on an overly bready, slightly doughy bun instead of a simple hamburger bun. The meat was a little on the dry side. Now I know that buffalo is a very lean meat and therefore hard to keep moist, but you would think that someone who’s built their business around it, would learn how to cook it.

The tiny little pile of bought-in, frozen fries was served in a coffee cup. I think that should pretty much get the portion size across to you.

The meal was served with a pickle spear, if you could call it that. It was more like they had taken a pickle spear, which is a quarter of a pickle to begin with, and cut it into quarters. The napkin was very nice and very thick, unnecessarily so. Perhaps if they used a regular napkin, they could afford to go ahead and cut loose with more than a sixteenth of a pickle.

The soda water used in the soda tasted a bit like it was a little underfiltered. I couldn’t quite put my finger on what it was, but there was a slight twinge of a taste to it.

Over all, the experience was mediocre at best.

Price for burgers, fries, and ice cream sodas for two… $30

Kaiser's American Bistro on Urbanspoon

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