When: June 4, 2016, 7:10 PM
Verdict? Not recommended
Surfside Lounge is a table-service restaurant at the Paradise Pier Hotel. It’s casual dining, offering breakfast, lunch, and dinner service. If you’re staying at Paradise Pier, it’s your all-in-one coffee bar, lunch stop, and end-of-day nightcap provider.
Elaine and I thought it might be fun to try dinner at Surfside, and wandered over.
The first thing you notice about Surfside Lounge is … you don’t notice it. It feels like an extension of the Paradise Pier hotel lobby. There’s not a lot of signage; the tables and chairs are pretty nondescript; there was a TV showing Disney cartoons against one of the walls. We finally noticed some menus on tables, and I asked one of the Cast Members if we had reached the right place. He nodded, so we grabbed a seat.
The Surfside Lounge dinner menu is pretty simple – roughly a dozen items, and most of them the stuff you’d expect from a hotel kitchen – salads, sandwiches, a few entrees.
For fun, we started with the Surfside Nachos. (You get the choice of chicken or beef, and we picked chicken.)
The food arrived quickly. It was a good-sized plate, undergirded by yellow paper to catch all the loose bits of goodness. We each picked up a chip, and went to work.
This is not very good.
The thing we both noticed – immediately, then continuously – is how relentlessly, ruthlessly average these nachos are. There isn’t a single ingredient that feels like it’s doing more than the minimum.
The chips are out of a bag, and slightly stale. The chicken was grilled, but didn’t have much inherent flavor. The cheese was Cheez-Whiz (or, as Elaine calls it, “Stadium Cheese”). The tomatoes were just OK, and not terribly fresh. The guacamole was similarly meh. And the small lake of sour cream was just a mild white sauce.
In short: less like a dish, and more like slapped-together ingredients. It’s calories, sure, and if you’re on your third beer and need a little something in your stomach, you might go for this. But compared to our experience with the Chicken Nachos at White Water Snacks (or, for that matter, Smothered Potato Chips at the Lounge at Steakhouse 55) the Surfside Lounge offering just doesn’t measure up. There’s no joy in this.