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Friday, November 22, 2013

Sunshine Saloon: "The Shine"…not to dine!

Lunch date #47: Friday November 15, 2013
After a long break in our lunch project, we thought we'd get back to it by hitting a real American sports bar for some good 'ol grub. Not sure what made me think of the Sunshine Saloon Grill and Sports Bar, aka "The Shine"…maybe with Thanksgiving around the corner, I was thinking about how the college kids would converge there for their traditional annual Wednesday-night-before-Thanksgiving reunion. Sometimes these bars actually have some pretty decent food by day, so we thought it worthy of a try.

Location 3 points: In the Mission Plaza shopping center: no frills here; but lots of parking. No great curb side appeal.
 Ambiance 1 point: At first glance a typical sports bar; however, this one needs an update. The carpet is dirty/worn and looks like it has gum-spots in it. The tables are peeling formica and the chairs rickety. The fans are caked with dust. Mom pointed out all of the flat-screens, and was wondering why I was being so critical. "What did you expect?" she wondered out loud.
Inside "The Shine"

Menu selection 3.5 points: I was quite surprised at the vast selection. I thought they'd have burgers and some fried food, but they also offer a long list of salads and sandwiches. At first I thought to play it safe with a burger, but I really wanted something a bit less fatty. The server was really pushing their "fresh" crab sandwich. Is it really fresh? I asked. He told us you really can't buy fresh crab here (?), but that it was fresh when canned. He even went so far as to bring us a sample! Hmmm I thought, knowing last Friday was the first day of crab season and knowing that there is such a thing as fresh crab, and went with a turkey/avocado grilled sandwich to play it safe. Once Mom spied the Philly Cheese Steak sandwich, she was sold. She was kind of disappointed though that they don't offer coffee.

Service 2.5 points: He definitely tried with the free crab sample, but that was about it as far as service goes. He was the only server/bar tender on site, and we were the only women in there. He was busy tending to the "guys" there for their Friday afternoon beers. Food was brought promptly, no drink refills. Had to flag him down to get to-go boxes, but he was very friendly.

Food 2 points: Here's where it fell apart for me. Remember my idea to play it safe? Wrong! This was the worse sandwich I've ever had. The sour-dough was over buttered and greasy, the dressing on the bread, I later found out, was a blend of mayonnaise and the deli-mustard they have on the tables that contains shredded horseradish. There was no mention of this unusual sandwich accompaniment on the menu, and I didn't think to ask in advance. I don't care for horseradish and it pretty much destroyed the sandwich for me. On the other hand, Mom really liked her cheese steak sandwich-packed high with tender beef, lots of cheese and very large portion. We both agreed the fries were dismal.
Mom liked her cheese steak sandwich

Value 2.5 points: This is tough one. The prices were great at about $8 each including the fries. Problem is that when the price is great, but the food is poor…the value score is low, in my opinion. Mom liked hers so we compromised.

Overall score for The Sunshine Saloon 2.4 points: I wasn't put off by the ambiance as I really didn't expect better, but I thought that sometimes these "dive" bars can have some pretty decent food. Perhaps I just ordered the wrong thing, or should have asked what they put on the sandwich, but I was disappointed. Since Mom was happy (which is all that really matters anyway), I'm trying to buffer my rebuke…but the more I think about it, I'm sure I'll never go back to the "Shine"…at least not for the food!