Friday, February 17, 2012

The Oink Cafe - Phoenix

What's in a name?

Well, when you call your new restaurant The Oink Cafe, all your interior art features pigs, and your slogan is "Breakfast. Lunch. Bacon.", I expect your bacon to be perfect. I don't care if your are open 3 days or 3 years. From day one, you need to do your bacon right.

Sadly, as with our visit to the now defunct Bacon restaurant in Old Town Scottsdale a few years ago, Oink dropped the ball with the bacon. That wasn't the first, or only, misstep on my visit today.

The Oink Cafe is on the outskirts of the Paradise Valley Mall, located just south of the Target store there on the west side. They have two entrances, but I parked on the south side and apparently entered the "back" entrance. After a bit of server confusion, I was seated and eventually handed a menu. Who sees seven people enter and grabs only two menus? Really?

I looked over the fairly typical breakfast/lunch joint menu. Since bacon seemed to be the specialty, I looked for a BACON section. Sadly, there isn't one. Just bacon listed in the sides, with the various styles (Applewood smoked, honey-cured, sugar-cured, jalapeno, and pepper). I looked and the French Toast combo (two slices of French toast, one egg, BACON (their typing), sausage patty or link). One thing I noticed that seemed odd was there were two different sections for "Sides". One was on the inside and the other was on the back of the menu. Using the one on the back, the price of all the items in the combo came to $7.30. The Combo itself was $7.99. I asked the waitress and she seemed confused as well. It was at that point I noticed the single slice of French toast on the back was $1.79. The inside Sides section had it listed for $2.99. Um, huh? The waitress said nobody had noticed that before. After three days of being open and I'd HOPE having someone proofread their menu before they placed the final order for them. I did order the French toast combo as that is what I was in the mood for. The waitress took my order and said she'd ring it up at the lower price and would let the manager know.

When my food arrived after a short wait, it was a bit underwhelming. The two slices of bacon were good-sized, but nowhere near crisp as good bacon should be. In fact, both slices were on the undercooked side of my preferences. The fatty portions weren't crisp but instead still soft and chewy. I don't expect cooked-to-charcoal bacon. Crisp bacon can still be chewy without being nastily so. Most of our usual breakfast places cook it perfectly (thus explaining why we frequent them). But for the love of god, if you call your place OINK and have BACON in your motto, this was unacceptable. I did eat it and found no "sugar-cured" flavor. I'd recommend they head down to The Pork Shop in Queen Creek and experience what really amazing bacon tastes like.

The French toast itself was very meh. The slices were very small and didn't have a particularly good flavor. Average at best and for $2.99 a slice, pathetic. Not a good deal at all.

I had the egg scrambled and it was pretty much overcooked. Fairly dense and needed more seasoning.

Service was good. My waitress bent over backwards to make sure I got the cheaper price. The manager didn't have the math skills to figure out a $.69 difference in price so he just told her to take $2 off. That brought my bill to $9.05. For her hassle, I gave her the $2 back in tip.

Overall, Oink just seems to be an average diner/cafe with delusions of being a bacon-haven. It's not. If they can't cook decent bacon when they are slow (I got there a little after 1:15pm), I'm not sure I'd bother going during prime hours.

As I've written in previous posts, Harlow's and Joe's Diner are much better options. For a really good breakfast at a slightly higher price point, go to The Breakfast Club in Old Town Scottsdale. Their fresh fruit is always amazing (some of the biggest raspberries and blackberries I've ever seen) and their sausage patties are my favorite in town, period.

Do not confuse them with The Breakfast Joynt. Joynt, while a favorite of some of our friends, has always been sub-par on our visits. Their bacon was truly limp and undercooked.

The Oink Cafe
4326 E Cactus Rd
Phoenix, AZ 85032

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Went to "The Oink" on Saturday 2/18/ 12. We met some friends there who told us they had been waiting for 40 minutes with still no food service. We arrived about 9:45 am and were not waited on for 20 minutes. Once we did order our food, it was another 50 minutes before our food arrived. My omelet was cold but my wife commented that her food was fine. We attempted to get a refill on our coffee during our wait but were unsuccessful.
With all the breakfast places in the area, they need to get their act together. My wife was hoping to meet some friends there 2 weeks from now but has since decided to find another place to eat with them.
Next time I want breakfast, I'll be looking elsewhere.