J.L. R.

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Recent reviews by J.L. R. - Page 1 of 3
Restaurant Name City
Rating
Murrell's Shreveport, LA
You have never had Southern Food until you've eaten at Murrell's. This unpretentious diner features the best breakfast in the most comfortable, down-home atmosphere; you'll believe you stepped back in time 30 years when you walk in the door. The food is top-notch (especially breakfast) featuring traditional Southern fare, home-made pies, and delicious coffee; all served on traditional, sturdy country china. When my Dad visited me, this was the first restaurant I took him to.
Shoneys Bossier City, LA
Shoney's is, in essence, Denny's in the South. You never escape the fact that you're eating in a plastic restaurant food that is designed to be inexpensive, quickly-prepared, and appealing to the masses. For the price, the food is passable if unremarkable. Kids like to eat at Shoney's, so this is a place to bring the family on a budget. If you're looking for real Southern food, go to Murrell's; the food is far better and the price is about the same.
Waffle House Bossier City, LA
Waffle House is cheap, and that's about all there is going for it. You can get breakfast here for under $5, but you get what you pay for. The waffles are very small (as are the portions of all the food) and completely tasteless. Grits -- the quintessential southern side dish -- are watery and overcooked. The sausage patties are the size of a 50-cent piece, and the ham is thin, rubbery, and so small it's insulting. Decor is about the same as MacDonald's: hard plastic chairs affixed to a small uncomfortable table.
Cask 'n Cleaver Victorville, CA
Cask 'n Cleaver used to be one of the top restaurants in Victorville. The unique menus were painted on used wine bottles, and the atmosphere was upscale but cozy. When we were young, my new wife and I would go to Cask 'n Cleaver for special occasions. We returned to Cask 'n Cleaver years later and were disappointed beyond belief. Perhaps nostalgia had elevated the quality in our memories, but it seemed that the food was not as good, the atmosphere was completely gone, and the service had suffered. It's still a decent place to go, but Cask 'n Cleaver has definitely moved past its heyday.
Don's Family Restaurant Victorville, CA
Don's has been around in Victorville for quite awhile, and it shows. It's no longer in the nicer part of town, since the town has built up so much on the southern end, and the building is older and can't escape looking somewhat tired. But the food is decent and consistent. If you want a taste of Victorville in the '60's, go to Don's.
El Tio Pepe Mexican Restaurant Victorville, CA
I only ate at El Tio Pepe's once, several years ago. The food was good, but the service was sub-standard. There was a dispute over my order and the manager got involved and was so arrogant and abrasive that I never went back. People still love the restaurant and nobody else that I have talked to had a similar experience, so perhaps I hit them on a bad night.
Green Tree Inn Victorville, CA
The Green Tree Inn is typical of restaurants connected to hotels: the decor is overstated and the food is overpriced. Not that the food is bad -- it isn't -- but if you're willing to leave the hotel, you can find food of similar quality (or better) anywhere else in town. The Green Tree Inn does have banquet and meeting facilities and is still a popular spot amongst the white loafer and polyster pants crowd.
John's Pizza Pasta Prlr Victorville, CA
John's is a unique restaurant, perfect for family outings or informal lunches. They have the widest variety of pizza around -- even a peanut butter variety. They serve delicious bread sticks with a variety of dipping sauces; you can make a meal on these and a salad. The lunch buffet is pretty good and they keep the pizza well-stocked. If you have room for dessert, John's has a good assortment of ice creams. A video game room will keep the kids occupied while you wait for your order.
El Charro Avitia Ridgecrest, CA
I have to agree with the previous reviewer that El Charro Avitia is just about the worst Mexican restaurant I have ever visited (curiously enough, the very worst Mexican restaurant is also in Ridgecrest, but it's not listed here; just as well, there isn't a low enough rating available). The food is over-priced, the menu is limited, and the decor is an abomination. It has the worst reputation of any restaurant in town, and I don't know how it manages to stay open.
Nickoletti's Ridgecrest, CA
Nickoletti's appears to be cut from the same mold as the Graziano's in Mojave and Lancaster. Decor is identical, and the menu is pretty much the same. The food at Nickoletti's is pretty good for the price, though the service can get a little slow during peak dining hours. Nickoletti's has opened a sandwich/salad shop on China Lake Blvd., the food there is quite good, if a little pricey, and the decor is pleasant. I'd recommend expanding the menu a little beyond the trendy salads and sandwiches offered.
Santa Fe Grill Ridgecrest, CA
Santa Fe Grill is just about the last good restaurant still open in Ridgecrest. The menu is surprisingly creative, and all the food is very good. Prices are a little higher than average, but the quality of the fare comparable to the price. Guests especially enjoy the fresh, hot tortillas made right in the restaurant. The restaurant could benefit by adding a larger repertoire of drinks, taking advantage of the premium margarita craze, and a broader selection of beer. Since this is such a nice restaurant it tends to be crowded during peak hours, which slows down the service.
Texas Cattle Co Ridgecrest, CA
Texas Cattle Company is doubtless the most popular place in Ridgecrest at lunch. The menu is limited mostly to quasi-Tex/Mex foods: a variety of burgers, one or two salads, and a small assortment of other sandwiches. Although it tries to mimic the success of its sister Texas C.C. restaurant in Lancaster, the waitresses need to be a little happier and less harried. There is quite a bit of seating here, so even during the busiest time (lunch) there's not much waiting.
Chili's Grill and Bar Palmdale, CA
Chili's has pretty good food for the price, and has an excellent variety of unique mixed drinks. On the down side, the menu is actually rather limited, despite having some unique and tasty items. If you don't want a salad or a sandwich/burger, there's not much at Chili's for you. The low-hanging table lamps (some are at eye-level) often require that guests to stoop to talk to someone sitting across the table from them. A popular venue, Chili's is often very crowded and very noisy. Don't go on Fridays or weekends if you're in a hurry.
El Torito Mexican Restaurant & Cantina Palmdale, CA
One of the best place in town for appetizers and drinks, but other than that, El Torito is the most over-rated Mexican restaurant in the industry. The food is average at best, and the menu is the most limited I have ever seen in a Mexican restaurant aside from a taqueria. Despite the sub-mediocrity of the menu, this place is crowded (Americans are suckers for advertising hype and will go, like lemmings, wherever they are being led) during peak dining times, so plan accordingly.
International House of Pancakes Palmdale, CA
I usually avoid any franchise-type breakfast restaurants (viz., Denny's, Waffle House, IHOP) with the fervor that one avoids communicable diseases, but I decided to try IHOP on a whim the other day and was pleasantly surprised. They are one of the only restaurants of this type to offer pancakes as a side dish to their other breakfast items, which means that you don't have to choose between an omelette and pancakes. IHOP offers a large variety of three-egg omelettes, all sorts of pancakes and waffles, and a decent lunch and dinner menu. The prices are reasonable for the fare offered, and the service was above average. I like the fact that the waitress left a coffee carafe on the table so I didn't have to wait for refills.
Olive Garden Italian Restaurant Palmdale, CA
Sure, Olive Garden is mass-marketed, and sure, they're everywhere. But why not -- the food is quite good and you'll never leave there hungry. They have good drinks (the beer list could be better) and vary the menu seasonally. I don't care for their tomato-based sauces (usually too sweet) so I stick with the cream or garlic sauces, and I'm never disappointed. The soups are, on the whole, unremarkable, but the salad is so good that I usually fill up on it before the meal arrives. Olive Garden is crowded on weekends and after 6:30 p.m. on week nights, but the wait typically isn't too long. For the money, it's one of the best deals around.
Outback Steakhouse Palmdale, CA
I don't eat a lot of steak, but when I want one I go to Outback. Outback cooks the best steak _anywhere_ for the price. They're Aussie Blossom is better than the Chili's onion (which Outback knocked off) and they're cheese fries are so good that I often just order them and a salad, skipping dinner. They make some mean drinks and have a good variety of beers (bring a designated driver -- the beer comes in huge, icy mugs). The seafood is pretty good, but I can't speak for the chicken as I've never tried it. The shrimp are absolutely delicious; order them as a side or on the salad. Speaking of salad, I think Outback makes the best Caesar offered in any restaurant, period. Go hungry: you'll eat until your ribs squeak.
Red Robin Restaurant Palmdale, CA
Red Robin is a nice, fun family restaurant. The menu has a lot to choose from so parents will be able to please just about everyone in the family. One of the cute tricks they do is serve their onion rings stacked on a dowel. I recommend Red Robin to families that are tired of Denny's and are looking for an inexpensive meal.
Round Table Pizza Palmdale, CA
As far as pizza restaurants go, Round Table is decent. They have a selection of unique pizzas you're not likely to find at any other pizza restaurant of this type. Prices are a little higher than average, and the salad bar is kind of pathetic, but overall it's not a bad place to eat. Bottom line: Better than Shakey's or Pizza Hut, but not anywhere near California Pizza Kitchen.
Shakey's Pizza Palmdale, CA
Shakey's used to be one of the best places for pizza. They originated the lunchtime pizza buffet, and with the Mojo potatoes and fried chicken it was an unbeatable deal. My impression of Shakey's has changed dramatically over the years, though. If I were to guess, the management shifted hands and now the idea is to make as much money as possible; screw customer relations. The lunch buffet is a parody of its former self, and the pizza is only average at best. I'd give the restaurant only one star, but they DO still have the Mojo potatoes, which you can't get anywhere else.
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