Possibly the worst dinner ever! 94th Aero Squadron [Moved from L.A. board]
Forgive the length, but I'm processing my bad experience per my therapists instrcutions ;)
My bf and I went to his grandpa's 88th bday dinner Saturday night(Saturday was oppresively hot by the way.) So, we drive to the meeting place- the 94th Aero Squadron located stripside of the Van Nuys airport- and as I walk in, flashbacks of a similarly awful visit to The Proud Bird near LAX haunt my mind (just discovered these two spots are own by the same company.) We wind our way through to the back of the restaurant (the hostess gives us vague directions, she doesn't guide us back) and take a seat at a large table near the window with the rest of the familia. At this point, we've noticed that the temperature inside the retaurant is only about 5 degrees cooler than the sweltering heat outside and that the whole left side of the table is being subjected to piercing hot sun rays shining in their eyeballs because the blinds are inadequate to serve their purpose. BF's mom asks the waiter what the deal is and he swears the air is on- we hold on to hope and pray it will kick on soon because we're there with dear old grandpa who is in wheel-chair and hungry. I proceed to order a margarita which is so sweet and fake tasting that I leave it aside after one sip. Throughout our fine dining experience, we had to flag waiters down for ice-water - the only salvation to the stagnant heat. BF's mom is fanning herself with a paper plate (yes, she brought paper b-day plates and hats- but that's another blog) and everyone is pretty much cranky. I decide to order a side salad with blue cheese dressing and a baked potato; BF orders the house salad with bay shrimp. My salad comes and is your basic pathetic dinner salad (it had ONE kalamata olive, gee thanks!,) but at this point, I wasn't expecting much. Then the potato- it honestly looked like a blackened shoe on a plate! They set it down in front of me and I wanted to laugh- it was so horrible looking! But alas, my dinner was freaking Spago compared to poor BF's shrimp salad which looked like radioactivity had reared its ugly head upon his crustaceans (maybe it was from the heatlamps glowing in the front of the restaurant.) Seriously, the shrimp were neon pink and fragrant- I'm sorry, did I say fragrant? I meant RANK! What we were thinking when we took a few bites of his salad I don't know- but they were the most horrible, fishy, slimy shrimp I never want to encounter again! He tried to brush them off and just eat the salad beneath- but that was drenched in vinagrette, seriously there was a pool of dressing at the bottom of the bowl. BF's stepdad is sitting next to me eating his prime rib- which was so fatty and red it made me want to ralph and Grandpa's shrimp scampi looked equally vile. They got mom's order wrong, so she had to wait for a new one, but by the time it had come- she was so hot and over it, she had it boxed up for later.
Wow. I can honestly say that was the worst restaurant experience I've ever had. When BF and I got in the car, we could not stop laughing! Honestly, it was like, "could that have been any worse?" Well, enough said- that was my experience and I hope you got a chuckle out of this otherwise miserable dinner.
I have been there a few times, but mind you this was the early 80's and I don't remember it being awful. However, 20 years can change things and my palate has also evolved, so who knows, maybe it was bad and I just didn't realize it! LOL
Actually, I had no idea they were a chain. But it is fun to watch the planes take off and land.
Honestly, I think it's the novelty location at the airport as well as a very central spot smack in the middle of the valley that makes it easy for families to meet at. I remember that was the reason my family ONCE went there for Mother's day. Never again.
They do make a killing on their brunch buffets for the holidays....Mothers Day, Fathers Day, Easter et al that probably enables them to survive throughout the year.
I wonder if they're one of those "C" rated restaurants, but that's another thread going 'round these days.
Here is a link to all of the other restaurants owned by Specialty Restaurants, based in Anaheim, including the less than proud bird, among nearly 15 just here in California.
Good, consistent places to avoid at all costs, or if you go for the view, drink only, and eat elsewhere(Castaways and Odyssey come to mind).