The Golden Touch Restaurant has all of the trappings of being a Greek diner except- it’s not on the East coast but on the Edge.
I still try it but each time my hopes are dashed and I leave with a sad memory instead of warm fuzzies. Today I was delusional and fell into the trap. There were cars parked in the lot! For any kind of eating establishment that is a good sign! Food moving out not rotting in the walk-in but there was deception.
This wannabe diner was huge, built in the two sided style with “fine dining” across the back and counter/banquets across the front. The color scheme was in the ‘60’s style with yellow tinted glass “chandeliers”, brown Naugahyde seats held together with clear tape and an empty rotating pie stand.
A glaring “Wait to be seated” sign was the friendly greeting. There was no one around to guide me to a seat. I looked around and saw the parking lot had lied the place was empty other than a few solitary people. The counter, a hub in any successful diner stretched 40’ decorated with coffee cups, napkins, and silverware waiting for the non-existent rush. A waitress materialized and flung her hands toward the multitude of empty seats. Nodding I picked a banquet for 6 and slid in. The waitress trudged over and flipped a menu at me as she poured water.
“Anything else to drink?”
I pondered briefly and answered,” Yes, a large tomato juice with lemon.”
Looking up I was greeted by a gal- dressed in a black shirt, black pants, glittery reading glasses, a generous artistically drawn make-up job, and short white grey hair that had been tipped in black. I was sure she had stuck her French tipped nails in an electrical socket to create the effect. She whisked away the coffee mug.
I had made up my mind before I arrived: a Greek salad minus the black olives, substituting tuna for the sliced eggs. Comfort food comes in many guises.
Order pad in hand, the waitress walked over. “Are you ready to order?”
I closed the menu, smiled sweetly and recited my order.
Her pen hovered over the pad as she mentally processed my order. “If I take off the black olives there’s nothing left!”
This wasn’t going as planned. I wanted cheerful- sounds great! Would you like crackers as well? Instead I felt like I was in the movie 5 Easy Pieces with Jack Nicholson and his famous egg sandwich. I surveyed the tuna salad on a bed of greens and wondered if I could order that and add the other Greek garnishes.
“Is the lettuce the same with the tuna salad as with the Greek salad?"
She spun on her heels and walked up to the cook. “Do we have any Romaine?” she sneered just loud enough for me to hear her batting 100 for her customer.
“Nahh” was the also audible reply.
“I’ll give you more time.” She went off bussing tables.
I was abandoned with a huge menu, a gazillion offerings, and my hopes dashed for my Greek salad no black olives, no eggs, and tuna substitute. I was crushed. Looking at the table I saw my über tron had left the tomato juice now I really couldn't slip out. There was no escape I had to find something to eat. I mentally crossed off items all the while lingering on the Greek salad lettering, still trying to figure a way to phrase my request.
A comfort meal was quickly turning into a heartless fuel fest.
Decision #2 was made and eye contact sealed the deal. This time the gal tried to meet me half way. “I’ll have the feta tomato omelet with egg beaters, no toast, no potatoes and a small salad with Italian dressing.” This time there was nary a rebuke. Her pen flew over the pad and the order was complete. We both said thank you and she put the dupe in.
A final olive branch was offered in the guise of the newspaper. “Do you want something to read? No? Well o.k.” We had worked out our differences. I was left to my own thoughts.
The omelet arrived and my heart lurched in dismay. There was a cold nugget of feta on top and 2 chunks of pale hard tomato. The omelet was so thin I doubted there were any more tomatoes or feta within. No orange slice, no parsley just a flaccid omelet. There was no joy on the plate.
The salad, served in its separate bowl was iceberg with a couple of strands of red cabbage, croutons the size of children’s teeth, and frozen defrosted peas. A heavy pouring of Kraft’s Italian best soaked into the salad.The peas were the only cheerful bright green in the salad but flavor wise they didn’t make the profile. I wasn’t surprised by the salad, it delivered crunch.
I took the pepper shaker and decorated my omelet with black flecks. Tucking in I found that there were more tomatoes and feta chunklets inside the omelet.
I looked over at the kitchen and saw the problem. It was the cook. A tall, pasty, light brown haired man wearing a 10” paper chef’s toque (a chef's toque in a diner?). Instead of a long chef’s coat he had a short sleeved white shirt of a pantry guy. There were no piercings or tattoos, a sign of good food out here on the edge. I looked into his face and saw no food love I looked down at my plate and saw the results of a listless cook.
I choked down the food, gave my usual 20%, and high tailed it out. I will never seek comfort again from the Golden Touch…