Thursday, July 15, 2010
Tommy's Restaurant--Everything to Everyone.
Tommy's Restaurant is one of the few non-chain breakfast joints in Monterey Park. It's located right next to a shopping complex with both an IHOP and a Carrow's nearby. As a supporter of local restaurants, I was glad to see that on a Saturday morning, it was very crowded.
And as a supporter of local restaurants, I just wished Tommy's had proven to be better.
#1 Diner Companion Antoinette and I luckily caught the eye of a waitress when we first walked in, before we could check in with the host. The waitress grabbed us and sat us down at a table that could easily seat 4 or 5. She said if anyone asked to just say we were waiting for more people. She proved very friendly and attentive throughout our meal, but a little spazzy. I think she sat us down there to keep a larger, more difficult to deal with party from being seated in her section.
We both ordered coffee. I found it a bit weak, but Antoinette really liked it. They only had sugar and sweet n low, but they did have real milk available on the table. The servers were very quick and very frequent when it came to refills, which was nice. A few times, I hadn't even taken a sip of my fresh cup when someone came around and poured just an eensy-weensy bit more into the cup.
Looking at the menu, I started to get worried. There was a full "family restaurant" menu AND a full Mexican restaurant menu. There was just too much going on there. There had to be some dilution in the quality of the food. Shortcuts like microwaves, canned goods and decidedly un-fresh ingredients had to come into play.
I gambled that any place that had put that much energy into having a Mexican menu was probably better at that then at regular diner fare. There are a lot of diners that are secretly Mexican restaurants but haven't made the changeover yet. Was this the case at Tommy's?
Antoinette ordered the polish sausage and eggs with a side of home fries. She liked her eggs and the home fries, even though the latter were room temperature by the time she got them. I thought they were a little uneven and some were underdone. The sausage was very good--it had a really robust flavor with some real char on it. She did say that the toast had too much butter on it.
I ordered the Chilaquiles breakfast and it was kind of a mess. The rice was bland--really bland. The beans were okay; I'm just not a fan of refried beans in general. The eggs were oily. The chilaquiles were drenched in a rather boring--I suspect canned--enchilada sauce.
So clearly Mexican was not the way to go with ordering. This was not their secret strong suit. This was more of a case of a place expanding their menu to appeal to the larger neighborhood. I always think of Monterey Park as being predominantly Asian but down near the 60 freeway, it becomes just as much a Latino neighborhood.
Antoinette liked Tommy's Restaurant far more than I did, but she concedes that my breakfast was bad. I'd be willing to give it another shot, but I can't imagine when I would ever go back. If I was ever in the mood for "diner or Mexican" food, I'd go to Bun n' Burger (if they ever get consistent with their hours) which is right in our neighborhood and has much better food of both varieties.
Food: Poor to Okay.
Service: Very Good.
Price: $6-$9 most items.
1150 W Riggin Street
Monterey Park, CA 91754
I have never ordered Albondigas because it sounds slightly dirty.
"Check out the albondigas on that one!"