I had posted some years ago that Mrs. Rowe's had fallen -- fallen far, and fallen hard. Chicken came out fast
-- obviously pre-cooked and microwaved. Sides had lost their savor. And much of our food was either tepid or even cold
My wife and I spent this last lovely weekend in Staunton and Roanoke, antique shopping and visiting Black Dog Salvage (of DIY "Salvage Dawgs" fame) and enjoying three fine productions at the Blackfriar's Playhouse of the American Shakespeare Center. After some discussion, we stopped in at Mrs. Rowe's just to see if it had returned to its former glory.
It has not. But it is much, much better than it was our last visit.
The sides are quite good, particularly the baked tomatoes and collard greens; the mac-&-cheese is a bit grainy and curdled-looking, although it's not the obvious industrial mix of our previous visit. The chicken is nice, although not as good as it was in Mildred Rowe's heyday. It still arrives a little too quickly for it to have been done the way it used to be: Breaded and fried to order. But it's obviously not precooked and nuked either. It's crisp and hot and nicely juicy. I suspect some "precooking" of some sort may be happening, and then the bird is finished to order.
And I don't know why this bothered me on our last visit, but I'm quite pleased to note that "Chai Tea" has been removed
from the menu. That struck me as being akin to a biker bar serving drinks with little umbrellas. I took that as a symbol of what was going wrong there.
So if it was a Ten in its heyday, it was a low Three when we last visited. This weekend it was at least a high, high Six-approaching-Seven. Which means it's head and shoulders above other options in this world.