By Todd Barron @ FoodieCuisine.com
Growing up, I used to love going to IHOP for breakfast. I remember ordering pancakes just so I could use the variety of syrups they have on the table. When one opened in our neighborhood, the memories came pouring back and I couldn’t wait for it to arrive. I typically am not a fan of chain restaurants, but there are not many places around that serve breakfast quite like IHOP does.
My wife, son, and I went for breakfast on Sunday a couple of weeks ago and were seated right away. IHOP looks like most chain restaurants, with neutral walls, squeaky booth, and a certain lack of emotion. That’s alright though; I don’t go to IHOP for the décor.
When I was a kid I used to order pancakes, but soon switched to their cheese blintzes. Cheese blintzes consist of three crepes, filled with cottage cheese and cream cheese. They are topped with sour cream, whip cream, and usually have a fruit spread on the side. In no way should this dish be confused with something that is low in calories! Considering the massive number of calories in the dish, I only have them as an indulgence every few months (and only on weekends.) As you may have guessed by now, I ordered the Cheese Blintzes.
My wife really likes biscuits and gravy, but IHOP doesn’t sell JUST biscuits and gravy. You have to order it with eggs, hash browns, and bacon or sausage. She went ahead and ordered the Biscuits and Gravy with scrambled eggs and link sausage. My son had one of the kid’s menu items. Some type of combination breakfast that I didn’t pay much attention to.
Sing along now, “And the complaints come marching in!” First off, coffee must be a major commodity at IHOP, as the coffee dispenser they leave at your table, only holds enough coffee for 2.5 cups of coffee. I don’t know about you, but on a Sunday morning, I need more than one cup of coffee. They pour your coffee using the dispenser, and afterwards, leave it on the table. This gives you another 0.5 cups, total. I’m sorry, but if you are going to use deficient dispensers, then fill them up after you pour the initial two cups. Or, better yet, buy bigger coffee dispensers!
So, after chasing down someone to refill our coffee dispenser, we waited. And we waited. And we waited some more. Finally, my crepes showed up, but without the rest of our food. Then, my wife’s food showed up, and finally, my sons. For starters, it was all ice cold. I don’t mean lukewarm either. The food was ice cold. It was as if someone had put it in the walk-in cooler after cooking it. Either that or someone left it on the counter, after cooking it, for twenty minutes. Something tells me the later is what happened.
Also of note, my crepes were prepared incorrectly. I had asked for them to come with strawberry preserves. Instead of receiving strawberry preserves on the side, I received a bowl on the side, filled with strawberry pie filling and whipped cream on top. Well, at least they tried to give me something.
We tried to track down our waitress but she had disappeared after discarding the food. We ended up getting the attention of a busboy and let him know our food was inedible. The waitress showed up and we repeated the story. We explained how we almost never complain (to the staff,) and that our food was inedible. A manager shows up at this time and explains that she will take care of the problem.
I also point out that my blintzes were prepared incorrectly and the waitress tells me they no longer carry strawberry preserves. This annoys me a little as strawberry preserves are the same thing as strawberry jam, as far as IHOP is concerned. They are the exact same thing, except strawberry jam comes in little plastic containers you open at your table, and preserves used to come free-form in a little bowl. So, I ask her to bring me strawberry jam. Couldn’t they figure this out themselves? Why do I have to point out that what they used to serve can still be obtained by a different name?
The food comes back out, this time warm. My son enjoys his breakfast and my wife enjoys her biscuits and gravy (while discarding the eggs, hash browns, and sausage they require you to purchase.) My blintzes taste average, but the sour cream has a strange processed flavor to it. It’s almost as if they switched to a cheaper sour cream at the expense of flavor and texture.
It always happens, the day when I choose to review a restaurant, something bad takes place. IHOP normally delivers warm food, without waiting a long time, but this time it was a disaster. The one thing delivery will not fix though is quality. Their quality has dropped over the past year and I no longer look forward to going there. In fact, I may not go back.
N Little Rock
4225 Warden Rd
N Little Rock, AR72116