Thursday, June 30, 2011

Hope’s Silver Spoon Café – Richfield, MN

It had been a while since M.Giant and I had a quality lunch date. We set one up and decided to go back and give Hope’s Silver Spoon one more try. It wasn’t because we loved it, it was because we were broke and this place is dirt cheap. The first time we went here, we were amazed at the menu, the food, and the people. This time, really wasn’t that much different in our amazement, frankly.

As I mentioned in the previous review – old guys and old ladies come here to drink coffee and read the newspaper. It doesn’t appear anyone actually eats here. In fact, here’s a typical customer at Hope’s. You’ll notice a severe lack of food in his vicinity, despite physically being parked in a food-producing venue.

As I said in the previous post, the menu is weird. Lots of weird listings for American food items and Chinese food items mixed in. It’s not that the food items are weird it’s just a weird vibe seeing them all intermingled like that on a menu. I’m anti-segregation, except when it comes to my menus and some of my music. That’s why we came for the buffet. We got the first plate of our culinary tour and were surprised to see onion rings on the buffet. There were a handful of unmarked items on the small buffet, so I scooped some things I recognized onto my plate.

I got a good wonton, and a greasy, yet somehow dry-on-the- inside egg roll. I skipped the egg drop soup, based on the previous experience and the unbreakable skin on the top of the soup. I did, however, get a stringy fried chicken leg. I got some cabbage and noodle thing that, once I tasted it, I decided it was clearly Cigarette Stir Fry – it was absolutely inedible based on the flavor of cigarette smoke in it. The General Tso’s Chicken was ok, but also smelled of cigarettes. The meatballs, which I remembered as being good, were not and were a little fatty.

Randomly, while we were eating our lunch, the owner lady came over to our table and leaned in VERY close to M.Giant’s face and asked “How is your food”. SUPER intense and M.Giant physically burrowed into the booth to escape her soul-piercing gaze. He said it was good and she moved on. I’m not sure why she needed to speak directly into his mouth to ask this question, but M.Giant provided an acceptable answer and lived to see another day (and another plate). The food may not have been the tastiest thing we ever had, but it was filling.

On the second pass through the buffet, M.Giant dropped his onion ring into the sweet and sour sauce on the buffet, but I’m not sure it helped it. I got some more of the same, minus the cigarette-y bits, but it was a much smaller plate. At least I wasn’t tempted to eat until I was stuffed today.

Lunch ended with one last trip to the buffet to get a sugar-coated donut. It ended up being the best part of the meal for me, but then again, I’m a serious fan of donuts. It was the perfect thing to leave the restaurant with – that donut flavor in my mouth coating my teeth with sugar.
The last time we came here, there was a really odd group of people here. This trip was no different. As we were paying, a group of people were coming out of the back room, which was closed off with a screen while we were eating. All of them were serious smokers (you could smell it and they all hurried outside to smoke). One of them had on a house arrest anklet thing (or maybe a drug rehab anklet thing – they look the same to me), which we didn’t understand, unless she lives with like 50 feet of this restaurant – in which case I feel bad for her for many reasons. They all seemed to know this random old guy and gave him hell for not being at their meeting. I’m wondering if it was an AA meeting or some sort of court-appointed counseling session. But was the judge really that angry with the people that he’d sentence them to gather here at this place?

I’m sure I’m going to offend some people, but this trip was much worse than last time. The kitsch/oddity factor has worn off. Even the cheap factor has worn off. I’m guessing I’m not going to be headed back here with M.Giant anytime soon.

Top 5 things about Hope’s Silver Spoon Restaurant
1. Donut
2. It’s really cheap
3. Eating lunch with M.Giant makes any day exponentially better
4. Cream cheese wontons are good
5. The American food on the menu seems so much more appealing now

Bottom 5 things
1. Cigarette Stir Fry
2. Depressing old people waiting to die
3. Greasy egg rolls
4. General Tso’s Chicken
5. Meatballs

Hope’s Silver Spoon Restaurant
6700 Penn Avenue S.
Minneapolis, MN 55423


A-Wow said...

Wow... Hope's used to be in a strip mall at 76th and lyndale (before they tore it down and put in a retirement home). I lived 4 blocks away and got takeout from them on a regular basis. It wasn't amazing, but it was good hole-in-the-wall Chinese take out. But that was 10 years ago. It makes me a little sad to hear they've devolved this much...

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