Wednesday, September 11, 2013

Corner Bakery Cafe Breakfast Food Review

All American Scrambler

You have to wonder why customers continue to flock to Bethesda's Corner Bakery Cafe, just outside and behind Westfield Montgomery Mall. I've eaten here almost a dozen times, and have yet to have one solid meal. Sometimes it's the food, often subpar and overpriced. Almost always, it's the service, an odd combination of boredom and laziness that belies such a busy establishment. Yet, somehow a full house triggers confidence, as you stroll in thinking, "This place must be good, if all these people are here." Wrong.

Not all Corner Bakeries are bad: The one at the National Press Building is good, as was the since-departed Friendship Heights location in front of (now part of) Maggiano's. Unfortunately, this one at 10327 Westlake Drive proves incapable of providing a positive guest experience (over the course of several years.) Today's try was breakfast, specifically the All American Scrambler (with chicken sausage for an extra $.30... talk about greedy.) I walked in and stood at the counter, waiting for three employees to finish what appeared to be several different conversations. A full minute passed before a manager instructed one of them to help me. It's great to feel wanted.

My order went smoothly enough, $6.89 for the Scrambler and $1.99 for a fountain drink. The main dining area was full, so I moved to the front of the restaurant where several empty tables were covered by bags and bags of food deliveries. Problem #1: Catering is important, but it shouldn't distract you from the business at hand (your in-house customers.) Normally, I'd expect to settle in for a 20+ minute wait (food takes forever to arrive here) but imagine my surprise when my breakfast arrived a short seven minutes after I ordered it. Way to go Corner Bakery! Considering the quick turn-around, I expected piping hot food. Wrong again.

Everything on my plate was cold... ice cold, in fact. There's no way this food was prepared to order. My guess? They microwaved the potatoes and sausage patties at least 10-15 minutes prior, and just left them sitting in a tray somewhere. "Freshly scrambled eggs" could just have easily been nuked too: Cold eggs suck, don't they? It's a shame really, because the sausage was thick and had flavor (zesty) at some point. Toast (one slice) was good, and the only part of my breakfast I enjoyed. Even Corner Bakery would be hard pressed to foul up toast (although they have before.)

The runner who delivered my food was friendly, and the price fair enough (for a change.) Outside of that, yet another Corner Bakery disaster. Hopefully, I've finally learned my lesson. I highly recommend you learn from my many mistakes: Just because it's crowded, doesn't make it good.