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Lunch at Chicken Scratch Flats (Steinbeck Center), Salinas

Melanie Wong | Apr 8, 200603:42 AM

On Wednesday my parents and I had a nice lunch at Chicken Scratch Flats, the cafe in the Steinbeck Center. The cooking here is the heavy, stick-to-your-ribs style and thick with flavor.

Mom and Dad shared a Goomba pizza, cooked in a brick oven. The "thin crust" was not that thin, but substantial enough to hold up under the heavy load of cheese, sliced meatballs, sausage, and whole cloves of sweet roasted garlic. The crust was charred nicely on the bottom, but a little doughy toward the center. The meatballs and sausage were really tasty, and the whole effect was very filling. They only ate half of it and finished the rest of it later. This was topped with some gorgeous whole baby romaine leaves tossed with ranch dressing. Top quality and exquisitely fresh greens and a heavy hand with the creamy dressing packed in the flavor.

I had the rotisserie prime rib. Ordered "medium rare", I was warned that the current cut would be more toward medium. Heated for service in the tasty jus, it was actually more like well-done. Still, it was a good cut of meat and stayed relatively tender. The coarsely mashed potatoes with some red skins were very good. Zucchini, carrots, and broccoli made up the medley of sauteed veggies on the side, all very fresh and just softened to sweetness.

With two fountain drinks, our total was less than $27 with enough to take home from both plates for lunch the next day. The food and value were good enough that I'd be willing to put up with the chicken-themed kitsch and cock-a-doodle-doo sound effects again.


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