Friday, March 8, 2013

A Subliminal Shout-Out to Guy Fieri

Or maybe it’s not so subliminal. As I have often mentioned, one of my favorite TV programs is Guy Fieri’s Diners, Drive-ins and Dives (Triple D) on Food Network. So when I came upon a restaurant in downtown Roswell with the word “dive” in its name, I was immediately intrigued. And when I saw that it also contained a three word alliteration—another Triple D—I was hooked.

So here we are at Big D’s Downtown Dive.

With a population just under 49,000, Roswell, NM, claims to have nearly 500 restaurants or about one restaurant for every 1,000 residents. But most of these are national franchises. But of those 500 restaurants, Big D’s is ranked Number One on, receives 92% “likes” on, and 4.5 stars on

Casual is the order of the day at Big D’s. You order at the counter and then find a seat—no easy task if you arrive between noon and 1:00 p.m. as did we. The clientele was a real mix. Next to us were seated three professionally dressed women who may have worked in the Bank of America building across the street. But they easily shared space with men in hats and what looked to be a contingent of under-twenties.

The décor was an eclectic mix of what seemed to be found objects. A bank of lockers was sunk into one wall.

Auto salvage decorated another.

And who collected all of these license plates?

And I was reassured to know that I would live to eat another day.

Big D’s menu is short and contains five salads, five sandwiches, six varieties of hamburgers, and four appetizers. But the brevity is more than made up for with creativity. The Poached Pear Salad contains mixed greens, blue cheese, and spiced walnuts and is dressed with port wine vinaigrette. The chips in the Chips and Hummus appetizer include herb dusted pita chips and parmesan dusted flour tortilla chips. The Crispy Monte Cristo is pancake battered and dusted with powdered sugar. Everything is familiar but with a unique twist.

And Chuck stuck with the very familiar. Or, as it is named, “The Good Ol’ Reliable” when “you’re a good ol’ boy and you want a good ol’ fashion burger. I hear ya.” Yes, this was your basic cheeseburger with onion on a toasted roll. The meat was still a bit pink in the center and had a nice exterior char, but the texture of the beef led us to think that the patty had been mechanically formed in some form of press.

With his burger he had the choice of regular waffle fries, garlic waffle fries, or sweet potato fries for an additional $2.35. He chose the regular waffle, which I am sure were house cut across the entire diameter of a potato. They were good, but I do think that the mandolin should have been set thinner. These were thicker than I like. But then, they were Chuck’s waffle fries and not mine.

I was hooked the minute I saw the street advertisement for the Bangkok Wings out on the sidewalk. And that was before I knew that they were made with garlic lime, cilantro, soy, sesame oil, and sriracha. This was to be an order of six wings but my basket contained a bonus wing—perhaps to make up for the fact that they were quite small. The sauce was a combination of sweet, sour, salty, and spicy—although I could have used more spicy and a heavier hand with the sriracha. On the side was a cup of chipotle mayo, which made a better dipping sauce for Chuck’s fries than my wings.

I also ordered the Shrimp po boy to accompany the wings. A six-inch crusty roll contained a heaping serving of cole slaw which was topped with their house-made lemon and green onion tartar sauce which in turn was topped with a number of small fried shrimp. In fact, the shrimp could almost be considered as garnish for a cole slaw sandwich. The use of a cabbage product in a poor boy is not unusual and the famous (and we think overrated) Mother’s in New Orleans uses cabbage instead of lettuce to dress their poor boys.

With the exception of my wings, this was a decent but not amazing lunch. But it was good enough to earn 3.5 Addies.

To review the role of Adler, Kitty Humbug, and the Addie rating system, read the November 14, 2011 blog.

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