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Restaurant Critic Time

December 20, 2006

I went away for less than a week and came back to 1634 messages in my work e-mail inbox (no joke), so I did not have time to write up a full trip report today. I will, however, make time to write a review of our dinner at the mentioned-yesterday Star Noodle Parlor, because I feel very strongly about it. The restaurant drew me to it from the first time I saw the sign from our hotel room. I’d neither seen nor heard of a noodle parlor before and something about that combination of words just delighted me, so we headed over for dinner our first full day in Ogden. Having now been to there, I cannot recommend it.

The sign outside is the best part of this restaurant: a neon dragon with flashing eyes. (I wish I’d taken a picture, but this being the age of Flickr, there are plenty of other people’s photos of it I can look at.) The atmosphere inside is awful, featuring smoked, gold-veined mirrored tiles falling off the walls, dusty plastic flowers, a grimy formerly white ceiling, and badly worn and stained carpet. Fortunately, it’s dimly lit so it’s hard to see this in any detail. I thought perhaps this was one of those hole-in-the-wall places where the decor is crap but the food is good. Not so. The hot dishes were served lukewarm and the only parts of the meal that didn’t make me wonder if I’d get sick later (I didn’t) were the not-quite-coleslaw mayo-covered salad and the saltines in the bread basket. The service was fast and friendly but that sure wasn’t enough to make me ever want to return.

I would go back to the places we ate at two other nights. The food at La Ferrovia Ristorante was good, particularly the seafood calzone, and entertainment was provided by the fish in the big tank we were seated next to (fish not destined for a seafood calzone). Bangkok Garden for Thai food was also excellent, and I enjoyed the way some of the tables were trapezoid-shaped and how the ones that weren’t were set at non-right angles to the walls (there were trapezoidal panels on the ceiling, too). We had a bit of a hard time finding a place to eat Sunday night; Star Noodle appeared to be open, but no way was I giving that a second chance, so we ended up at a Chinese buffet staffed by people who evidently don’t believe in resting.

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