Hey, look! I’m actually publishing new reviews in two consecutive weeks! Aren’t you proud?
This week’s review is kind of a tough one because there’s not a lot to say (Ed. I guess I actually had a lot to say). You know last week when I suggested that a lot of restaurants in Ellensburg seem content to serve “pretty good” or “fine, I guess” food? Well, this is exactly what I was talking about.
The Porch is pretty. So, so, pretty. In fact, if some of the money and thought that obviously went into designing the building was put towards making the food and service anything special, I would be writing a totally different review right now. But that’s not the case. The menu looks impressive, and the tasty cocktails could mislead one to think that the food could be really good, but, besides said alcoholic beverages, The Porch flounders.
Since moving to Ellensburg a year ago I have eaten at the Porch about five times, and each time leaves me wondering why I came back. It’s because I want it to be good, and yet, they just can’t seem to deliver. The breakfasts I’ve eaten there– including the eggs Benedict– have all been reminiscent of cafeteria food, not unlike that of a hospital or perhaps a college cafeteria, albeit a much fancier and more expensive college than I attended. The Bloody Mary was good though, so maybe the next time I accidentally go to The Porch I’ll stick to a liquid breakfast. I’m mostly kidding, I think.
Lunch and dinner at The Porch are a little better but still disappoint. You can get a decent, and maybe even interesting burger. The salads are flavorful enough. The steaks seem over-complicated by rubs and butters but are pretty good as long as the cook is on their game that night. The service is scattered but friendly, possibly too friendly. The truth is that The Porch isn’t bad, it just isn’t very good and most definitely falls short of their intended quality. Nothing seems to be seasoned exactly right, or quite fresh enough, or interesting enough. We can hope that the restaurant is going through an awkward adolescent phase, stumbling on gangly limbs and appearing more mature than it is, and will grow into itself. However, I haven’t seen signs of growth or change, so I’m thinking The Porch will stay in arrested development until something really shakes things up around there. I would love to be proven wrong.
Speaking of shaking things up, the drinks really are pretty good (aren’t I just so clever?). The Smoked Manhattan stands out and and I’ll try to ignore the fact that they have eight different martinis on their menu (for the record, there should only ever be two– vodka and gin) because I know lots of people like their drinks to taste like dessert. Ok, I’m getting bitchy again so I’ll wrap this up.
I’m rooting for The Porch to do better because it is a nice place to go and I think they have a great idea. It’s not a bad choice to take a group because their large menu will accommodate different tastes and the spacious dining room never seems too full. It’s certainly not a bad place to stop for a drink so I imagine the happy hour feels more worthwhile than sitting through a bumbling meal service. As I said, it’s not bad at all but The Porch’s most impressive feat is its astoundingly consistent level of mediocrity.
So, my take on The Porch:
you hate yourself and your dining companions just a little (mostly kidding).
The Porch. 608 N Main St, Ellensburg, WA 98926. (509) 925-4488
Dinner prices range from $12 to $29.