Its been some years that I visited The All American Diner (TAAD) at the India Habitat Center, and I had found that this was one of the very few places, be it any cuisine, who would serve you the food that looked exactly like the pictures they had on the menu. I had discovered the place when I was totally unknown to Delhi, through a long forgotten friend (because she got married and moved to the states!). Being in the Armed Forces, I got to go to a lot of places, but couldnt gather everything that the place has to offer, as the trips used to be either too short or too busy to find time to explore. The last time at TAAD was in 2004, I was more than satisfied with the ambience, food quality and the service. I remember having ordered Surf n Turf which consisted of a chicken steak in brown sauce, three tiger prawns, deep-fried, mashed potatoes and sautéed veggies.
This time, I found that the menu remained the same, except that they had a hot-dog fest going on. But I thought of trying the same dish that Id had in the past. I was in for a surprise. The last time, they served it on a big oval plate, on which the contents were placed beautifully, and it was a sight to behold. This time however, I was served on a normal sized plate, not unlike the ones we have at home. The food was almost ready to spill out of the plate, and the arrangement was not what I would call appealing. The brown sauce was somewhat bland, and half the mashed potatoes were drenched in it by the time it reached the table. The prawns, which had been beautifully placed separately earlier, were put on top of the potatoes. And they were not the tiger Prawns, as they had been, but were large shrimps, which didn't have the crispness of the past. Instead, they were slightly undercooked, and again, bland. The chicken was okay, but since the food was already lukewarm by the time it came to me, even well cooked chicken would not remain as soft once it turns cold. So it took me some effort to use my knife to cut it down.
My partner had pancakes with eggs, sunny side up; and some bacon. Now, I remember the eggs on someone elses plate the last time I went there, and they actually were picture-perfect. But this time, it was nothing more than the ones cooked on a normal tawa, with the sides burnt.
The crockery doesnt seem to have been changed in the past five years or so, and it shows, though it was clean. When I inquired about what happened to the taste, I was told that the chefs have changed. The guy however, could not give me an answer to the crockery issue.
Some positives about the place- its one of the few classy places where after youre done with your food,. The guy would clean up your table using a cleaning spray, and the table is spotless. You would get all the accompaniments you ask for- honey, fruit preserves, tabasco (I happen to love it), butter, et al. But then, what matters is the way you food looks like and how it tastes.
Recommendation- you might like to try out the place once, but I wont advice if youre serious about trying the American cuisine.