It was our third time at Lazy Dog in Fresno, and we were looking for a lazy evening of dining.
The lazy dining idea that I requested from our server Alek was set in. Motion with him understanding what we meant when I said lazy dining.
Our server Alek was excellent, let's get that out in the open, but the other servers jumped in to deliver food as soon as it was ready. This also means the order was all sent in simultaneously, and they just cooked and delivered at their pace, not ours. Churn and Burn, as I call it.
Let's be honest here, most restaurants follow the rule of churn and burn. They want turnover, which I understand. That's how they make their money, but what happened to letting a diner enjoy their meal?
I've seen this at places like Fridays, although if you have a good server and tell them you want to go slow, they will. If you don't tell them, it seems everything comes at once. Appetizers and main courses show up at the same time. The only thing missing is dessert.
Back to Lazy Dog
As this is our third time dining there, I've learned their serving protocol: get the food out fast no matter what you say. So I made it clear I wanted a lazy dining experience last night.
We didn't get what I expected, but we didn't get the great food we had twice before. Not even close. I thought having a lazy dining experience would make for even better food than we had the last two times.
We started with an appetizer of crispy chicken wings. The wings delivered were far from what I expected. They were semi-crispy at best, and Patti wondered if they were cooked long enough. I thought they were, but the outer skin wasn't what I would call crispy.
Some parts of the skin on the flats of the wing were still soft; you know that almost slimy skin feel on a wing if it is not cooked long enough.
We figured, okay, we'll go with the flow and eat what they considered crispy. They served the wings with the sauce on the side as requested, so at least that was right.
Before we finished the wings, our main dish was delivered by a different server. I was a little upset when it was delivered at that point. I wanted to enjoy our appetizers first. Remember I said lazy and thought I made it clear.
Patti and I order beer, battered fish, and chips. Patti didn't want the fries, so I asked to substitute that with a side salad. Our server said no worries but didn't tell me it would be an add-on, not a substitute.
So that side green salad which wasn't what we expected, was a $5.95 add-on which also wasn't expected.
I also asked for pickled cucumbers instead of cole slaw on Patti's order. She doesn't like coleslaw, but I like pickled cucumbers, so we asked to substitute the cucumbers for the coleslaw.
When they brought the plates of fish Patti's plate had coleslaw on it instead of the pickled cucumbers. I caught the server's eye and let him know, and he quickly brought over the pickled cucumbers. WE didn't get charged for that.
The one thing that bothered me was that the green salad was just that. It had green leaf lettuce that was almost bad, with no veggies. It was a plain green salad for $5.95 that we wanted as a substitute.
The Main Course
When it comes to fish, I'm fussy. I don't want to smell fish, especially when I cut into it. I like a mild fish like cod and haddock, but this fish had a strong odor. Even when I bit into it, there was that fishy taste and smell. That didn't go over well with me. Patti didn't seem to mind, but then again, she loves fish more than me.
You get four pieces of fish that look like they just came out of a fish stick box in the freezer.
When I mentioned it to her, she said she squeezed lemon over the fish, so she didn't notice the smell or taste.
As far as the beer battered fish, it looked like extra long fish sticks and tasted like them. I didn't even get the faint smell of beer. At other places we've dined, you can tell the fish has been dipped in a beer batter; here at Lazy Dog, you wouldn't know.
Even the frozen beer battered fish we buy at Costco has a strong smell of beer when you open the bag. You're happy when you open that bag and can't wait to eat the fish.
I will honestly say that Costco's beer battered frozen fish is better than the ones we had last night at Lazy Dog. But that's a chance you take when you order fish when you dine out.
I wasn't sure about ordering the fish since I had never tried it before, but you take a chance sometime when you've had good experiences in the past at a restaurant. I learned that isn't always true.
Granted, other diners may find the fish and chips fantastic, and my opinion won't matter, but for me, the fish and chips are something I won't order again when dining at Lazy Dog. I should have listened to my stomach and gone with a steak or burger.
Please don't let me stop you from ordering the fish and chips. I can say the apple cider cole slaw is excellent, as well as the fries. I can also say the pickled cucumber salad was fantastic and enjoyable.
We decided to try the huckleberry apple pie with vanilla bean ice cream and Carmel sauce.
I will say it wasn't bad, but there were some things I didn't care for. Mainly the dough seemed dry, which I didn't expect. It should have been a little moister for a pie/tart with apple and huckleberry inside. The ice cream helped.
So the saying that goes, "the third time's a charm," didn't ring through last night. In fact, it was so far off the path of that saying that I'm wondering if we need five or six tries to get charmed?
Again don't let this experience last night stop you from checking out Lazy Dog. The other times we went, it was good, and we didn't have the same issues as last night.
Enjoy it but don't expect a lazy experience.