Monday, February 9, 2009

Review: Miss Syracuse Diner

Name: Miss Syracuse Diner
Address: 258 E Water St, Syracuse, NY
Neighborhood: Downtown
Cuisine: Diner, Traditional American
Restaurant Hours: Monday-Thursday 6:30 AM to 2:30 PM, Friday 6 AM to 7 PM, Saturday-Sunday 6:30 AM to 2:30 PM
Parking: On-Street and Private Lot
Accepts Credit Cards: Yes

I headed over to the Miss Syracuse Diner on a chilly and snowy winter morning, not too long after hearing about its re-opening on the corner of Water and Montgomery Streets. The diner itself is a converted trolley car - once located on Erie Boulevard and moved to its current location in 1946 (more information on the unique design can be found here). Inside you'll find your typical diner-counter area up front, a few tables towards the back, and booth-style seating along the side. I managed to grab a seat at one of the empty booths near the window. From the window you could see the steady, quiet snowfall hitting the rooftops of city buildings, a great view of western side of City Hall, and the local passers by on their way down Montgomery Street.

It should be noted that on this specific visit, while looking over the menu, I found eavesdropping on some of the local diner talk enjoyable. A few people talking about sports. A few others talking about previous restaurants in the nearby neighborhoods. These are the types of things that you can't really put a rating on. Yet something as simple as conversation can give a place like this such a comfortable, hometown, and down-to-earth feel.

The food is standard diner fare with things like frettas, omelets, soups, salads, sandwiches, grilled food and homemade pies. The Miss Syracuse Diner also has monthly specials during the weekdays including meat loaf, chicken n' biscuits and country fried steak among other options.

The order...

Coffee: $1.25
Miss Syracuse's Breakfast Sandwich: $3.95
Home Fries: $1.50
Total Money Spent with Tax & Tip: $8.70

I am not a coffee drinker. I drink it at most maybe once a year, if that. But I felt that the coffee here was decent and I actually had a few top-offs during my meal. Again, I am a rookie as far as what constitutes good coffee and bad, but at any rate, it was a definite body-warmer on such a frigid morning.

Pictured above is the breakfast sandwich with egg, ham, and cheese on a lightly grilled hard roll. It was alright. Nothing spectacular. The egg was fried perfectly and the hot ham and melted cheese were delicious, but I couldn't get past the roll. I loved the texture for the fact that it was grilled but something about it had a funny after-taste that I couldn't put my finger on. Whatever it was it presented an almost overwhelmingly sweet flavor that didn't seem to match up with the egg, ham, and cheese or the fact that I was merely looking for a simple and uncomplicated breakfast sandwich. I suppose I would try it again with an English Muffin instead of the roll, but this gets two thumbs down from this guy.

I wasn't crazy about the home fries either - cubed potatoes fried with onions. They looked really good on the plate (see picture) but tasted fairly dry and lacked flavor. A small additional ingredient like parsley, scallions, or even cayenne pepper would have gone a long way to at least provide a little kick or give it some sustenance. Not only that, but when I think "home fries" I do not think of large, square cubes of potatoes that have been fried on all 6 sides. It's probably just a personal preference, but I much prefer the flatter-cut style that have been boiled before being fried.

Overall, a relatively blase' meal of food. But I personally think that the aesthetics, environment, and vibe are all welcoming enough to warrant a revisit. The location is a perfect place to enjoy a cozy meal and enjoy the sights and sounds of downtown. I would head over there again for lunch (I overheard one of the diner patrons claim that his soup was some of the best that he's ever had). If you're in a pinch for a diner style breakfast downtown, this place will most likely suffice, but I can vouch that there are much better places for breakfast in other parts of the city.

My rating of Miss Syracuse Diner:

Your rating of Miss Syracuse Diner:


Bob and Tia said...

Man you're tough! I really enjoyed the Fries (good crispiness owing to some additional batter) and the Hot Turkey open face sandwich.

JoeBass123 said...

i'll have to head over there for lunch (and fries!) sometime soon. i went there again for breakfast recently and wasn't impressed by the breakfast. perhaps lunch is a better option.