You don’t visit a restaurant like The Big Biscuit because you are a healthy, reasonable human being. You go because you crave only the most traditional, American, brown-colored foods in existence. You go because familiarity assuages the feelings of encroaching culinary strangeness that increasingly ebb out of the television and radio without warning. You go because you want to know what you are talking about when you open the menu, or because your mom wants a “regular” breakfast, or because you are very, very old.
Yes they have a regular breakfast all day here at the Big Biscuit. However, this is a lunch blog, and while people will tell you that it’s OK to eat pancakes and eggs for any meal of the day, I simply don’t agree. If I go out for lunch, I want lunch — sandwiches, soups, entree salads, burgers, sausages, pizza slices, tacos — all the delicious foods that hold a unique and important position in the lunch pantheon and really nowhere else. You go ahead and order breakfast at the Big Biscuit if you want, just don’t expect me to talk about it here.
How about chicken fried steak? That’s a lunch dish. As is a pork tenderloin sandwich. They prepare both of these items with a fair amount of skill and very little inspiration at the Big Biscuit. The meat is tender, the breading is salty and the accoutrements come from a Sysco truck. And really that’s fine.
I suspect that the bacon-laden green beans come from a can but I can’t really tell. They are cooked so thoroughly into submission as to bear almost no resemblance to the storied legume in its natural state. The mashed potatoes taste faintly of margarine which severely tempered my enthusiasm for them.
One afternoon I ordered an open-face hot beef sandwich and was somewhat alarmed by the color and consistency of the gravy. I think it’s fair to say that they aren’t roasting bones for a dark and hearty veal stock back in the kitchen of this strip-mall joint, which leads me to believe this gravy is concocted using less than traditional methods.
However I ate it, and I ate it all. It was alright. The beef was sliced deli meat and the bread was spongy, enriched Texas-toast style white bread. Someone without teeth could have handled it pretty well.
Here’s the thing: don’t go to the Big Biscuit if you are a gastronomic enthusiast. Go because you are stuck in Shawnee, Kansas and feel like eating patty melt. It’s fine to stop by a place like this once in a while to get a fix, and you will probably enjoy it somewhat.
The decor matches the food perfectly. It’s boring, clean, uninteresting and somewhat comfortable.
The staff is exceedingly well-trained and the service is quite swift and efficient for the lunch hour. I’ve heard that this place gets busy during prime weekend brunching hours and that service can suffer as a result. Here’s an idea: don’t go out to eat when the free world of eating amateurs is also going out to eat. Brunch is a silly meal. If you would like to start “Kansas City Brunch Spots” feel free, I don’t have any plans.
Anyhow, the biscuits are actually pretty good here, which is to say, they chose their name wisely. If only other restaurants similarly advertised what they do best.