Am new to Wichita, so I'm trying to scope out the food "scene" here...not sure there is one, but still searching for good chow.
After reading rave reviews of Stroud's in KC and here in Wichita, we decided to take my visiting brother to a "landmark" restaurant. My wife told me (I've just move here myself) that Stroud's used to be good, but was no longer, but I insisted...how could the Jane and Michael Stern be wrong??!! Well, maybe the original KC Stroud's is great, but the Wichita location (different owners now as I understand it) should be avoided at all costs. The dining room was hot and muggy. I asked the waitress to try fixing that and a manager went to the thermostat which I could see was registering 79---and at that point the temp went up to 80, then 81...so, did the guy turn on the heat or what?
Then the food came out, in a most confusing fashion, fine, we sorted things out. But the main thing is, the chicken was terrible. Reviews said it would be juicy and delicious, but it was dry and insipid. I remarked that Popeye's would be better any day of the week. The cottage fries were limp and oily, the mashed potatoes were heavy and flavorless (Sterns say fluffy and great...not so, folks), the green beans were nasty, and also devoid of flavor after hours of cooking...canned? Who could tell? The gravy was not great either. My beer was good, but it was bottled and sealed in China, so this place could not mess that up too much, though I guess it could have matched the room temp. And the price for all this mediocrity seemed a bit high. All in all, a bad experience. We were all glad to get outside to cool off (at least the breeze helped...it was probably 85 outside). And all swore never to return. And I promise I never will. Avoid this over-hyped place like the plague! Need fried chicken? Go to Popeye's...the spuds are better too, and the price is much lower.
Here's what my brother reported to the rest of our family in an email:
"The second night we went to a place that used to be owned by the company in Kansas City with the best fried chicken in America. Well neither was true anymore. Chicken was cooked in old or burnt oil and not very good."
Maybe it was an off night, but I don't think so. Sarge says it has not been decent the last few times she's been and did her best to discourage the visit, but she wanted me to see for myself. Now I know I should listen to her more carefully!