Wooden Nickel, Sublimity, Oregon

My folks drove down from Washington to spend the day with us and to celebrate a milestone birthday with their youngest child. Dinner out is how our family celebrates, if you haven't noticed already.  My folks appreciate homestyle restaurants, and so the Wooden Nickel was voted a good one to try. It turned out to be a dinner of hits and misses. Which was good for 3 out of the 6 of us.

I like to try specials at new-to-me restaurants. It's often a good way to find out what the cooks do best. The Tri-tip special with green beans and baby red potatoes was a combination I couldn't resist, while barbecue loving N ordered half a rack of St. Louis ribs. Since Mother has been eating light lately, she ordered a bowl of chicken, mushroom and rice soup. My father, who loves a good piece of fish, ordered a halibut filet. Daughter Liseanne ordered the shrimp plate and her husband J ordered Top Sirloin.
Mother's soup was delicious (a little spicy for her, but it definitely tasted and looked homemade) and full of chunks of chicken and mushrooms. My father proclaimed his halibut to be the best he'd ever eaten in a restaurant, but said the side of broccoli was past it's prime with an off flavor (everyone with the broccoli agreed).
My Tri-tip was not melt in your mouth tender, but it wasn't tough either. It was full of flavor from being marinated and slow barbecued. My sauteed green beans, were cooked just right and seasoned perfectly - like my baby red potatoes. N enjoyed his ribs, but wished they didn't have so much sauce AND that the sauce hadn't been so sweet.
Lisa Anne's shrimp, she says, were a little too buttery and salty, though the garlic taste was just right. Her vegetables were very broccoli heavy and tasted bitter, but the cajun fries were good, although a little dry. Her favorite part was her lemonade. It wasn't too sweet, just the way she likes it. Lisa Anne mentioned the waitress was a little off, forgetting a salad and the bread for our table, as well as not being very attentive overall. Her husband mentioned his steak was alright. He could tell it was left on one side for too long and got crunchy. He also didn't care for the broccoli.
There's a good chance my folks will request this place next time they're in town. Even with the slight smell of cigarette smoke oozing in from the bar area, it's a restaurant worth revisiting. On our next visit I think I'll stick with the specials board.
(oops! Almost forgot to mention that there's a reason I included the photo of their beer list. The child in me couldn't resist sharing a blooper.)

108 N. Center Street


jeff said...

Might try the Macleay Country Inn next time - http://eatsalem.blogspot.com/2007/06/macleay-country-inn.html

They do seem rather similar in outlook, and I like them both, so I'd be interested in other opinions comparing them.

KandN said...

We ate at the Macleay Country Inn about 6 years ago after hearing the wife of one of the cooks rave about the place. I don't know if our expectations were built too high or not, but we weren't impressed. Maybe I can talk N into giving it another try.

Anonymous said...

Ewww. We are Sublimity natives and won't eat there. Our experience has been the food has been really greasy and usually cooked incorrectly w/o much flavor. Haven't been there for years.

Anonymous said...

Oh, I see it now! Black Butt Porter - only took 3 tries

Anonymous said...

We too are Sublimity-ites who have stopped eating there. One main reason is because of the service. Forgetting that you are even there is the norm. The food over the years has been so-so, with only one meal being memorable.

I guess the old adage "different strokes for different folks" applies here.

Anonymous said...

"I like to try specials at new-to-me restaurants. It's often a good way to find out what the cooks do best."

Just so you know, a good way to find out what the cooks do best is order something off the regular menu. Specials are made up of items they want to get out because they are about to expire. Its a way of getting rid of the junk and getting some money for it. Old kitchen trick.

Only The Best said...

My husband and I were driving back from Scio and decided to try the Wooden Nickel. We had heard, from different people, that it was a great place to eat...so, we thought we'd give it a try. I had a small ceaser salad and a side dish of macaroni and cheese. When my meal arrived the salad looked fine. It had a little too much dressing...but, that is nothing new for me. In that I do not care for a salad lathered in dressing!!! Now, the macaroni and cheese was a little "different"...they put crumbled up Cheese-Nips on top...not what I wanted!!! My husband and I couldn't quite get over crumbled up Cheese-Nips...it totally ruined it! They would have been better off to leave the crackers off. My husband had a small salad and a bowl of chili...the chili had come out of a can and was a little watery...I don't think we'll go back. Though, I would have to say it is better than the Macleay Inn...though, that's not saying much! Sorry.

Chuck Bradley said...

Our server, Sandra, was the only bright spot. SWMBO's $8.75 Hotdog with Fries and soft drink would have to reach way up to be half as good as Costco's (plus soft drink) for a buck and a half. And the bottom half of the bun was stale. My "Pulled" Pork Po' Boy had coarsely chopped Pork which I think was cut from and untrimmed Tenderloin which still had the stringy membrane on it. What they laughingly call BBQ Sauce was not unlike Tomato Juice in consistency and flavor. I understand their Burgers are outstanding. I'll be back to try them. But once burned on the BBQ and held-up on the Hotdog and Fry pricing was quite enough! Oh, the elapsed time between seating and presentation was close to 40 minutes.