Going out to eat on a Wednesday usually works out great for me. On Monday and Tuesday, I'm too busy trying to get the paper to bed to even consider lunch, and by Thursday and Friday, I'm up against deadlines for the next week's issue. So, on a sunny Wednesday afternoon, the Artist and I walked from my office to Shorty's Diner for lunch.
Shorty's, like other restaurants with the word "diner" in the name, has taken its decorating cue from the '50s, albeit not to an extreme. There are 45-rpm records on the walls, and the booths are all in the red and white Naugahyde, which was so popular back in the days when kids were rockin' 'round the clock.
Discovering that Shorty's serves breakfast all day, the Artist joyfully ordered chicken-fried steak, potatoes, eggs, an English muffin and a diet soda. I, being more of a lunch purist and still on my quest to consume a Reuben everywhere in town where one is served, ordered a Reuben with onion rings and an iced tea. Our server was an excited, friendly young man and our food came out almost immediately.
The Artist, a big fan of chicken-fried steak, was a big fan of her chicken-fried steak. The gravy was peppery and flavorful and the meat was tender and tasty. Her home fries and English muffin were both a little underdone, but the eggs were cooked to perfection.
I love a Reuben, and having had several in my lifetime, I know ordering one can be a gamble. Not all Reubens are alike, but as most of them have roughly the same ingredients, I'm usually safe. This Reuben was served on crispy, marbled rye and while it was a hefty sandwich, it wasn't over-full as sandwiches of this nature can ofttimes be. The onion rings were hot, not too greasy and quite delicious. My one complaint about lunch is a minor one, which I will preface by explaining that I don't like rye bread. I know, I know. Why do I eat Reubens if I don't like rye? Because I do love fried bread, sauerkraut, corned beef and Thousand Island dressing, and I love them even more all layered together. It was all I could taste. However, I brought half of my sandwich back to the office and gave it to someone I like to call Heck. Heck, a big, big fan of the caraway, remarked that he found the sandwich absolutely delicious.
I will definitely patronize Shorty's again (they have a breakfast special for $4.99 that I can't wait to try), I just won't order a Reuben. Simple enough. And, I'm now one Reuben closer to my goal.
Amy Atkins wonders why she has to buy pants several sizes larger lately.
500 S. Capitol Blvd., 424-3676, www.shortysdiner.com
M: 7 a.m.-3 p.m., Tu-Th: 7 a.m.-9 p.m., F: 7 a.m.-11 p.m., Sa: 8 a.m.-11 p.m., Su: 8 a.m.-3 p.m.