I began my working life at Galaxy Diner. It was not a great experience. People would wait for up to an hour to eat unexciting, overpriced food and see us--the employees--do silly dances to songs from our parents' generation. It all gave me a deep suspicion of restaurants that purport to offer both food and entertainment.
Thus, I had no intention of going to Boogie Woogies. Since its opening last fall, I haven't heard anything about the food, but have heard plenty about the dueling pianos. Yet this newspaper wanted a restaurant review, so I set out to evaluate Boogie Woogies for its food, not its entertainment. Thus, I went at lunch. I know, I know. Going to Boogie Woogies and not seeing the much-touted dueling pianos is like going to Disney World and not seeing Mickey.
Scoff at me if you wish, but I'm actually glad I went at lunch. My mother joined me there on a Monday afternoon. Unbeknownst to us, Mondays are two-for-one lunch day. Awesome. I love deals, especially in downtown Boise, which, with the recent departure of Chapala, has too few cheap lunch places. As expected, Boogie Woogies was fairly quiet (as compared to the crowds it gets at night), and the staff was so relaxed that everyone was super friendly. Our server was one of the friendlier servers I've had recently, and reason enough to come back.
We sat along the large windows looking out on Eighth Street, a great perch for watching the yuppie action down below. Opposite the windows was a dark wooden wall plastered with photos of musicians, perhaps to inspire requests for the evening's piano playing. The menu was all favorite American foods like burgers, steak, pasta and turkey sandwiches. Nothing sounded extraordinarily exciting, but then again, nothing sounded bad either. What stood out was the reasonable prices. I think everything was under $12, and many choices were $7.
My mom had a smoked turkey wrap with pasta salad (fries being the other option). The wrap was your basic turkey, lettuce and cheese, and had a nice mild dipping sauce. We both liked the wrap's whole-wheat tortilla (a nod to low-carb devotees) and its manageable size. The pasta salad was, compared to the wrap, surprisingly spicy. In addition to the customary spiral pasta and vinaigrette, it had a variety of diced veggies and a strong peppery flavor. I like spice, but it was almost too peppery for me.
Feeling not very hungry, I decided to have an appetizer and side salad. The salad had a nice amount of cucumbers, grape tomatoes, and croutons, with the dressing on the side. I chose the artichoke dip, which probably wasn't a good idea. Don't get me wrong--it was tasty with lots of cheese and large pieces of artichoke heart. However, like all good artichoke dips, it was greasy; I wouldn't recommend trying to eat it all yourself. Luckily for me, like the wrap, it wasn't a super-sized portion. I much prefer to pay less and eat less, particularly at lunchtime.
I know that most people will still go to Boogie Woogies at night. They'll go for fun, for drinks, and for the pianos. Boiseans love to be entertained. As for me, I love to eat, and eat cheaply, so I'll stick to Boogie Woogies for lunch. And if you see the dueling pianos, let me know how they are.
--Jenny Hurst is thinking of starting a coupon club.