March 2, 2005
Country Inn serves old-fashioned favorites like chicken-fried steak and liver and onions. Even the descriptions are old-fashioned. For example, dinner entrées are served with soup or salad, vegetables, and an "appropriate starch," or what we nowadays call carbs. But never mind that, as carbs meaning nothing in a world where pancakes, including their famous Swedish pancakes, are served all day.
For lunch you will find good-sized salads, sandwiches, and burgers. Try the hot pastrami ($8). Country Inn’s version serves it on a soft sourdough roll, the kind that collapses to a tenth of its original size under the pressure of your hungry man grip. Fillers like Swiss cheese, tomatoes, lettuce, pickles, peppers, and raw onions give this sandwich personality.
With all sandwiches come fries, soup, or salad. The homemade beef and macaroni soup gets its flavor from bacon. There’s plenty of macaroni here elbowing around with tender cubes of beef.
While most of Country Inn’s fare satisfies, if it’s Chinese chicken salad you want, don’t go looking for it in a country diner. Anemic lettuce wilts under the strain of too much dressing like a thatched roof piled up with snow, and stale fried rice noodles are about as easy to eat as pine needles ($9). At least the chicken was plentiful. A better choice is the Country Inn burger with its three-quarter pound of ground sirloin, but those wanting a salad rarely can be convinced to have a burger, although it might be healthier in the long run to give into temptation now and then.
Home cooking ain’t nothing if it don’t include dessert, and at Country Inn, there is bread pudding, plenty of homemade pies, and an enormous chocolate cake to finish you off. Peach pie has peaches with substance, none of that gooey canned stuff better for filling dry wall than pies ($4).
The Country Inn Café is one of five family-run businesses in the South Bay, starting in 1957 with Uncle John’s Pancake House.
From journal Restaurants in Silicon Valley