Our meal at the Spring House Restaurant in Myrtle Beach, South Carolina, was a dismal dining experience. Over the years we have eaten at Spring House several times. Some meals have been quite good, others so bad that we didn't go back for a few years. After this most recent meal, I doubt we'll ever go back.
You might ask why we have repeatedly gone to an unreliable restaurant. Well, as I said, occasionally the food and service have been most pleasing; and the Spring House Restaurant at which we normally have eaten (2600 North Kings Highway — see map) has a very pretty interior, with plants (real? artificial? hard to tell about all of them) and tropical birds (real). This time the plants and birds were still there, but the carpet was quite stained and worn.
We arrived shortly after 8 p.m. There was only one table of diners, but it was a Thursday night, off-season, so we thought maybe there just weren't many people in town.
The manager assured us that the kitchen was open 'til 9:00. After our beverages were brought we began to feel rushed because some in our party of four were taking a little time to decide what to order, and the waitress pointedly reminded us that the kitchen was only open until nine. (We weren't that slow at deciding!) … We should have just paid for the soft drinks and left at that point, since things seemed to be going downhill, but we foolishly hung in there.
I ordered the broiled flounder with a minimum of butter. Our waitress asked the manager about that and they told us that “Our cooks aren't very experienced,” but he would try to do it as I requested. I also ordered a baked potato. The waitress said they were out. I expressed disappointment. She went back to the kitchen and found that there were two potatoes left, so I (again, foolishly) said I'd take one. It turned out to have quite a bit of age on it.
Our daughter Sarah and I both ordered tossed salads. They, too, were prepared long ago and were very “tired.” They contained some slimy lettuce in the mixture of greens. However, the blue cheese dressing was tasty. We had to request crackers, as none were brought with the salads.
When my fish came, it was a very small portion cooked with some butter. (I soaked up the excess butter with napkins, so you don't see it in the photo.) The fish tasted kind of flat; my hubby Henry joked that that was because it was flounder. I had to request lemon slices for the fish. They were sliced in some earlier age and were dried out.
Besides the salad, Sarah got fried chicken, mashed potatoes with gravy, and macaroni and cheese (they had run out of what she had planned to order). The mac & cheese was pretty good, she said, and the mashed potatoes and gravy quite appetizing.
The fried chicken was too brown on the outside, but the two larger pieces were undercooked on the inside. She had to send them back and request replacements. Those two replacement pieces did eventually arrive at our table. When we went to pay the bill, the manager did, of his own volition, deduct $5.00 from the price of our meal because of the chicken problem.
Back to the meal review: Our son Jonathan ordered the Ham and Swiss on Rye and french fries. He thought the sandwich was okay, and the fries very good.
Henry chose the Greek Salad. He won the prize for ordering wisely — the Greek Salad was fresh, huge, and delicious.
Another negative thing or two about the meal: The waitress never asked if we wanted drink refills (we did, but went without), and she began clearing plates before we were actually finished, giving the impression that they just wanted us to get out of there … which I'm sure they did.
I suppose all I can say is, if you have a notion to eat at this restaurant, go early and order a Greek Salad. Hopefully it will be as enjoyable as Henry's was.
Fried chicken, mashed potatoes, macaroni and cheese.
Ham and Swiss on rye.
Copyright © 2006 Patricia B. Mitchell.