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Restaurants & Bars 18

Rico's Diner Report

susancinsf | Jun 21, 2007 09:25 PM

Bless you, rworange. Though my doc might curse you. Thanks to your report below:

http://www.chowhound.com/topics/41345...

I tried Rico's Diner today. Let's just say the place has real possibilities and serves the type of food that almost makes me wish it was just a wee bit further than five or so blocks from work: eating here regularly could become dangerous for my cholesterol level and pants size....

first of all, for dhoffman: yes, this could be your nirvana, because they do have milkshakes: made with real ice cream, and real fruit! They aren't cheap (between $2.50 and $3.50 each depending on the type of fruit and whatever, but come to think of it, for a real shake these days, that isn't bad)...I *had* to try the peach one, and the care that went into it was evident. Definitely bits of ripe, fresh peach, and though it was a little sweeter than I'd like (perhaps made with a sweet brand of ice cream, or even added sweetener of some type?) but it was quite good.

My plan was to try the burger, but I never got that far, because the Thursday lunch specials include fried chicken ($9.95 for a plate with four pieces of chicken, mashed potatoes, gravy, and grilled corn on the cob). Somehow, as soon as I saw that, I HAD to have fried chicken.

So, I placed my order from the friendly woman at the counter, and had a seat to wait. The dining area is very plain but pleasant: lots of windows, a bit of brick, industrial steel counter. Can't say whether any of it is 'authentic East Coast diner' (being a West Coast girl myself). Will have to bring hubby, the Diner King, to judge that one...

And wait I did: unfortunately, at almost twenty minutes the wait was a bit longer than I would like for lunch. Part of the problem was that the same cheerful woman was taking orders and payment and bringing out food and clearing tables, and it just seemed like a two person job given the lunch crowds. That said, I am sure that the wait reflected the fact that this was food made to order, lots of from scratch items, and that does take longer. So, I'd advise going with patience, or going at off hours.

Waiting also allowed me to scope out other folks' orders as they came out of the kitchen. I have to say, the burgers DID look ammaaazzing...huge, (the menu says it is a third of a pound,but it looks bigger even) and built like a piece of art, really. I will be back to have a burger and a (fresh) strawberry shake very, very soon.

I also noticed that many of the folks who came in seemed to know the counterperson and the menu from previous visits: this place may be new, but apparently word has already gotten around.

After a while, the counter person brought out my chicken, some water and utensils...

So, as for the fried chicken: the skin was covered in a coating that was more like a batter than I like (I prefer fried chicken with a lighter coating). It was crisp but just a bit greasy, and a bit mild for my taste. So, the coating wasn't a hit. The chicken itself was tender, juicy, not overcooked. Kudos for the mashed potatoes: a generous serving (like I really needed that), of real Yukon golds, complete with little lumps, covered with a rich, smoky brown gravy. Rounding out the plate was a piece of Acme bread and a quarter cob of corn. It obviously was grilled over charcoal, so kudos for that as well, though the corn itself wasn't the best (not that I have had any really good corn yet this year).

Total for my lunch, which was much more than I needed to eat, was just under $15 with tax but before tip. I did order two of the most expensive items on the menu.

So after I polished lunch off, I noticed that there is a fried chicken sandwhich served on an Acme Torpedo roll, available every day! Other "Torpedo" sandwhiches at 6.25 each include meatball, meatloaf, brisket, french dip and a tuna melt.

The other Thursday special is pot roast ($7.75). On Fridays there is spaguetti and meatballs ($7.75) and filet of fish (also $7.75; in fact only the fried chicken is more).

Other specials include chicken fried steak or lasagna on Tuesday, and either smothered pork chop or Mom's meat loaf on Wednesday. Oh yeah: on Monday there are pork wings.( Do I dare ask?) and a Thanksgiving lunch of turkey and cranberry sauce.

And yes, rw, they do serve breakfast. All day. pancakes, waffle, eggs, omelets, biscuits and gravy, corn beef hash, chicken fried steak, house potatoes, or hash browns. Breakfasts seem to run between $4.50 and $6.25.

I will definitely be back, and hope to hear other reports on breakfast if anyone beats me to it! This place is definitely a positive addition to a neighborhood that needs more chow-worthy spots...

Rico's Diner
400 15th St @ Franklin
Oakland CA 94612
510.444.8424

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