The Restaurant Next Door II


I should have known better.  I had been hit by the restaurant next door once before in Indianapolis. Unlike most cities, when you stay in a hotel in Indianapolis, it’s not a guarantee that the restaurant next to the hotel will be a Perkins of a Denny’s.  I had driven down about five hours over the weekend.  I didn’t sleep well (I never do in a hotel) and after working all day at the client, I didn’t feel like doing any more driving.  I walked across the parking lot to the restaurant.

It was one of those old school steakhouses done up in Early American Dungeon.  Everything was brick and wrought iron with thick wooden beams stained dark like walnut.  Each booth came equipped with a small lamp with a bulb about the size of the one in a refrigerator.  It didn’t help; the black Naugahyde seats seemed to suck the very light out of the air.

Despite this, the service was excellent and the food was terrific.  I like a good piece of fish and I like it “blackened”.  This is a gamble; most places used “blackened” as what your tongue will look like after you eat their spice combination.  Here it was just enough to enhance the flavor and give my mouth a little kick.  I upped the ante and ordered a slice of Key Lime Pie for dessert.  This is only guaranteed to be edible in climes where limes might actually grow.  It’s a crap shoot everywhere else.  Despite their geographical handicap, they performed admirably.  The pie was delicious.

I got the check and couldn’t read the entire amount by the light of the booth lamp.  While it could be covered by the client without too many raised eyebrows, I realized that I would have to walk across the parking lot in the opposite direction tomorrow night.  Rally’s has quite a selection of offerings on their sixty-nine cents menu.

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2 comments

  1. I suppose I could have gotten up, but walking back to my car and driving around somewhere else would have taken more time and more energy. And the Midwesterner in me says – by gum – you sat down here, you’re going to see it through! 🙂

  2. I don’t know what kind of work you do or what your clientele is like, but there are a lot worse sins than treating yourself to a nice meal on the road, especially if the client is paying! I notice you didn’t mention any alcohol in your narrative, which doubtlessly keeps the price down considerably. Don’t you look at the menu before you order? It shouldn’t come as THAT big of a surprise if you know what you’re ordering beforehand.

    Your earlier post about the $10 bottle of Pellegrino actually hit a lot closer to home. I can only think of one time when I’ve actually felt like I was in over my head at a restaurant where I just didn’t belong. I was with my ex-wife, we were sightseeing in New York, and had been walking all over the city all day — she was tired, and her shoes didn’t fit right which also put her in a cranky mood — we’d just come from the Empire State Building and I was trying to surprise her by getting her to the Algonquin Hotel (of Dorothy Parker fame), but about two blocks away she sat down like a mule in front of an expensive Italian restaurant and refused to move one more inch. This was one of those sophisticated one seating per evening linger all night $10 bottle of Pellegrino places, and we were hot, tired, sweaty and still in our sightseeing clothes tourists, BOTH of whom now were in pretty foul moods. We ordered appetizers, paid the check and left…and still the bill came to over $50. including a generous tip, of course…even though the waiters there probably make more money than I do….

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