Usually when I write about a restaurant experience it’s more so about the food. This review, however, is going to focus on how customer service can impact one’s taste buds, in a negative way.
The Flaming Grill Facebook page says it's - "Hawaiian Asian, Fusion, Chinese, American (traditional) delicious food". The eatery is located at 22420 Cactus Ave #109, Moreno Valley, CA 92553.
I visited Flaming Grill October 28th at about 3:30 in the afternoon. I had been driving by and noticed the the signs on its storefront.
What had drawn my eyes to the signage was the interesting photos of the different bowls they offer.
From the signage and the name though, I couldn’t tell whether the food was Mexican, Asian, Chinese or what. I just knew the pics looked enticing enough to give it a try.
I entered the eatery, which is very small inside, with just a few tables and chairs to dine in. I walked up to the counter to place my order. I was second in line.
When my turn came, I said hello, and the woman said what do you want to order. Kind of flat affect and not even really making eye contact. I instantly felt some kind of way.
So, I said yes, I have never been here before, can you tell me about the chicken bowl, what’s in it? She replied, chicken.
I thought to myself, okay. I then asked what kind of sauce the chicken has on it, because in my mind I still don’t know if I’m in an Asian or Mexican food place or what.
I guess I was expecting a friendly overview of the types of flavors and perhaps what the specialty is and/or a recommendation. Didn't happen.
She said something but she was multitasking and not speaking to me directly and I didn’t hear her the first time. I didn’t make out what she said the second time either-so I just let it go and ordered the chicken bowl.
As she was ringing up my order, I let her know that I was a food blogger and showed her my Newsbreak feed. I could sense that I finally had her attention.
I asked her how long the restaurant had been there, and she said 5 years. I also asked if she was the owner or if the owner was present. No to both.
As we were chatting, she went to hand me my drink cup and reached into the stack of lids to give me one. Her hands, the same hands that she just handled my money and the gentlemen’s before me, those same fingers were all up in my lid.
She touched it all over picking it up the first time. Then she dropped it, and touched the lid inside even more picking it up.
I don’t know what all is on her hands or the countertop but in the era of Covid-19 and germs in general, I don’t want this woman who wasn’t wearing a mask, and, who is handling money, touching anything that is going into my mouth. PERIOD!
I was done before I even got my food.
The chicken bowl came out in under 5 minutes. It turns out it was Asian inspired. It did look like the pictures. The white rice was very sticky and I’m not sure that was the intent.
The rice was dry and no matter how much of the extra sauce that came with it, I put on it- the rice was still sticky/starchy and not very palatable.
Since there is only chicken and rice in this bowl it was important for the rice to be cooked properly, not overcooked, dry or too sticky.
Impression and EATER score
The chicken flavor was okay mainly because of the sauce. I didn’t find much to be excited about with this bowl and my first thought was it’s better than gas station food and quicker than a sit-down restaurant.
I could see it as a quick stop for a cheap, under $10.00 lunch, or a fast pickup to take back to work when time is of the essence and you just need something to eat.
The total EATER score is 6/10, with a recommendation of try it under the aforementioned circumstances. The bowls look really good but the experience wasn't up to par.
I wondered what other patrons may have experienced and looked at a few Yelp reviews. Ironically several mentioned a woman at the counter who didn't seem to care:
I order from this place on Door Dash, I ordered a salmon plate and ask them to make it plain no sauce or white rice just brown rice. They got it wrong and I contacted Door Dash customer service resent a redelivery and they mess up again! Went in person and they weren't even sorry about messing the order up except the cook. The front desk lady did not care neither at least give me something for their mess up. Good cook horrible customer service from the front lady - Timmy W. via Yelp. 9/24/2021
Horrible service the girl at the front is not politely she's so rude not coming back to spend my hard earned money with a person that doesn't appreciate it I don't know the name of the girl but she is here on Monday morning - Christian P. via Yelp 8/30/2021
Food is good but the lady in the register during the day is so rude and has bad customer service they need to work on that. -Janet C. Riverside, CA 5/20/2021
There were quite a few negative comments including mentions of a dirty environment. I did think the floors were nasty and in disrepair.
Part of the main dining space had scratched up linoleum and the other part was concrete. Not decorative type concrete but the kind that you see when the tiles have been removed and never replaced.
I won't be back.
The I.E Soul Food Tour with Lashaun Turner, spotlights Restaurants that specialize in Southern Soul Food. I also share local dining experiences encompassing all types of cuisine.
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