A couple updates on two of our favorite restaurants in the Quad Cities - Bud's Skyline Inn in Moline, and Front Street Brewery in downtown Davenport. One update isn't so favorable, the other is not quite as bad, but still a major shake up in their menu.
We'll do the bad news first - Bud's Skyline Inn is one of those wonderful 50's/60's style supper club that has continued to flourish for years and years. (Click here to see my entry on Bud's Skyline Inn.) Located just past the entrance of the Quad City International Airport (see map), Bud's has good steaks, chops, seafood and a wonderful salad bar that we've enjoyed for years and years. While it may not be the fanciest place in the Quad City region, it's certainly one of the most cozy and comfortable restaurants that serves good food at a reasonable price.
However, on our last couple of visits to Bud's, we've noticed a change to the food. First of all, both my wife and I love good pickled beets. I never really liked them until Cindy brought home a jar of them from her grandmother a number of years ago. Finding pickled beets like her grandmother's were tough to find. But Bud's had the closest in taste to Cindy's grandmother's. They were sweet and flavorful, and we always cheated at Bud's when we'd go to the salad bar by getting a plate just for our salads, then an extra plate between the two of us for the beets. They were that good.
When we went to Bud's just before the New Year, we noticed the beets weren't as sweet and had a very earthy taste to them. We went back a couple months later and they were the same beets - they had very much of a dirt taste to them. Cindy said, "These aren't the same beets."
We'd noticed that the steaks weren't quite as flavorful and tender as we've come to have them in the past. The Beef Tournedoes - a couple of tender beef filets with a hollandaise sauce on top - weren't quite as tender as we remembered. And I got a twice-baked potato on my last visit earlier this year and it was a processed, pre-made and then frozen twice baked potato that just wasn't very good.
Things have changed at Bud's. I don't know if they've changed food suppliers (I'm guessing they have), or what the story is. But on our last couple of visits, we've felt the food just isn't as good as it used to be. We'll probably go back one more time as the weather gets nicer, but it could be their last chance with us.
Front Street Brewery has been one of our favorites for not only the beer, but also for the above average food they serve. (Click here to see my entry on Front Street Brewery.) Located on River Drive in downtown Davenport, (see map) it's definitely one of the better brew pub menus that we've encountered over time. However, they just went to a new menu that has some pros and cons.
The owners of Front Street Brewery, Steve Zuidema and Jennie Ash, recently changed their menu to more of a natural and fresh food friendly fare. In doing so, they cut out anything on the menu that was previously frozen and added a few things. They effectively pared down the total offerings by over a third from the original menu. A number of our favorite items are now missing from the menu including a wonderful seared tuna filet that I used to have them use in place of their battered tilapia in fish tacos. Cindy liked their teriyaki grilled chicken sandwich and that's not on the menu any longer.
We went there recently with our friends, Scott and Marcia Schroeder, and we were surprised to see that it was a new menu with a lot of things missing that we'd all enjoyed before. We quickly entertained the thought of going somewhere else close-by, but decided to stay and have dinner to give the new menu a try. Cindy had the grilled salmon caesar salad that she said wasn't all that great. Scott got the prime roast beef sandwich that he said was very good. I can't remember what Marcia got, but I seem to remember she wasn't overly happy with it. I got the special that evening - blue New England mussels steamed and served in a wonderful spicy butter broth. They were actually outstanding for $11.95. And there was more than an adequate amount of mussels that were served in a large bowl (the only problem is that they didn't have a second bowl to throw the shells into after the mussels were picked from the shell). They were some of the best mussels I've had. And it was hard to believe that they'd never been frozen coming from New England to Iowa. Thankfully, I didn't have any problems as I did with the mussels at The Publican in Chicago.
So, the new menu at Front Street Brewery is a double-edged sword. They've cut down on a number of items that we liked, but what they do have now is still good to above average compared to many other brew pubs. At least they haven't changed their beer and now that the Flood of 2011 is over, it's still one of the most popular places to eat and drink in the downtown area of Davenport.