I took the family to Grandpa Fred's on Sunday after reading a recent post on the board. It was an odd experience unlike what others have mentioned.
We got the kids situated in the dining room while we reviewed the menu. It was very hard to concentrate because someone built a home theatre in the dining room and a very bad sci-fi/horror movie was playing at an ear-splitting level. I couldn't believe the other patrons were able to tolerate it and weren't complaining. My first order of business was to have the server turn the volume down.
We made our dining decision and the wife placed our order at the counter. I ordered the beef ribs with corn bread and chili beans. My wife ordered the sliced ribeye with cornbread and macaroni & cheese.
We both had for water for our libation because they were completely out of all drinks except for Diet Coke, Strawberry Fanta, Cherry Fanta and water. The owner said that his delivery has been screwed up every time for the last 3 weeks.
The server brought out the meat portion of our meal: the beef ribs and sliced ribeye. We started eating and several minutes and two ribs later, we finally asked our server about our sides. She looked perplexed and asked, "Did you order sides?" We assured her we did. She finally returned after 5 minutes with the remainder of our meal.
My ribs were a bit cool, between luke warm and room temperature and heavily coated with a think, sugary BBQ sauce. They had a burnt sugar crust in places which tasted akin to a flame-engulfed campfire marshmellow, a tasted that remained embedded in my mouth for the rest of the night. But the ribs had lots of meat plus they gave me an extra rib beyond the normal allotment of four.
The wife's sliced ribeye was overcooked and dry but tasted pretty good. The ribeye wasn't exactly piping hot either.
As for the sides, the cornbread was truly awesome. I ate my portion plus half my wife's. The chili beans were disappointing and reminded me of pepper-flavored dishwater. The macaroni and cheese was of the large pasta shell variety and the cheese was coagulated as if it was cooked several days ago.
But we didn't let the meal's disappointments keep us from ordering dessert. They had some individual pineapple upside down cakes sitting on the counter that looked like they just came out of the oven. They proved to be nothing special and a little dry.
To my wife's joy, they had Dewar's ice cream from Bakersfield. The owner grew up in Arvin, 20 minutes from Bakersfield so he brings it down after visits to his family. The ice cream was delicious and I had to fight my three year old to get a share.
I'm hoping that they were just having an off night as some restaurants do. Plus we did arrive late on a Sunday night shortly before closing. Next time I'm going to try the ribs again, collards, cornbread (stick with a winner), and the peach cobbler or sweet potato pie.