Restaurant review: Rip's

31 July 2007

Rip's Casual Dining - 3809 North Crain Highway; Bowie, MD 20716; 301-805-5901

While in the field on assignment for work this week, I'm going to be stuck eating out a lot, so I may as well make the best of it, right?

Last night I went out to dinner with my cow-orkers and the other guys on my project team after the day's wrap-up meeting was over. We stopped back at our hotels to change and take showers after a long day of hiking around a huge business complex, wandering through server rooms the size of gymnasiums, and crawling around on all fours through ventilation ducts and beneath raised forced-air conditioning floors to figure out what's attached to what, where, and how. Seeing as how you can only eat so much commissary food without dying of a heart attack, we decided to broaden our horizons a bit for dinner and search out a neigh-mythical Italian grille "just down the beltway", or so the woman at the front desk told us.

Thanks to Mapquest, we failed miserably. We did, however, find Rip's Casual Dining, a homey looking family restaurant done up in weather-worn wood inside and out, with horseback riding tack on the walls and large family-sized dinner tables scattered amongst the tiny wooden dining booths that one would expect of a diner by the side of a rural road. The lot of us were showed to the back of the restaurant where the tables large enough for our party could be found.

For starters, it took our waitress fifteen minutes just to bring out water for us. It took another ten minutes (about what you'd expect for a reasonably busy restaurant) for her to get our orders. Now, here's where things really start to go south: While the tables around us were given their complimentary baskets of biscuits and muffins (which were excellent, by the way - corn muffins with what we think was almond extract or amaretto in them) we waited. And waited. And waited some more. In fact, in the forty-five minutes it took them to bring our entrees (about an hour in total), the tables around us were seated, served drinks, rolls, and muffins, served the appetizers they'd ordered, served dinner, ate everything, paid, and left while we sat there talking and wondering what in the hell was going on in the kitchen.

Such is most annoying when you feel like you've been re-enacting the search for the Xenomorph in Alien all day and you really want to have a decent meal.

At least the food was tasty.. I had the grilled chicken tortilla salad (with caesar dressing), which was very tasty. I don't recall what everyone else had, only that they were pleased with the fare, though annoyed with the horrid service.

Cost? About $12us per person for a full meal. Not bad at all.

My overall rating: 3.25 flareguns. I found myself wishing repeatedly that I'd had pyrotechnics of some sort to get the attention of the waitstaff. Maybe a cattle prod to drive the point home. Though I've only been here once, I cannot, in good conscience, recommend this restaurant unless you've got a lot of time to kill. Bring a book. Also, be sure to ask for the muffins and not the rolls.