Diner: Middle of the Road

Feldy's offers comfort food on Beechmont Avenue

Diners at Feldy's Fine Food & Spirits get a feedback form to rate the food, the service, the setting — basically what I'm supposed to evaluate here. The range goes from 1 to 5, 1 being "Poor" and 5 being (and I quote) "Customer Delight." I found that proud detail to be tellingly charming. You eat here and you feel you want to like the place — it's too bad it's pretty mediocre. Not "Poor," but not exactly "Customer Delight" either.

The Scene
Feldy's opened in April, in what used to be (and still looks a hell of a lot like) an old Ground Round building. They might have even kept the furnishings and carpet, but they made an effort to upscale the look a bit by dotting the space with fake ferns, painting the plaster walls a dark wine color, and hanging some big prints of outdoor scenes on the walls. In the next room is a bright, jolly sports bar. The dining-room music was way too loud, and the selection was unnervingly all-'70s, all the time.

The Scoop
Feldy's specializes in home-cooking, perhaps better known as comfort food. We ordered the Coconut Shrimp ($6.25) and the Giant Soft Pretzel with Beer Cheese ($3.25) as appetizers.

The shrimp were the kind of thing you order when your boyfriend just dumped you and you want to signal that you don't give a damn: coated in a sweetish coconut mixture and deep-fat fried (probably somewhere off-site, was our guess) and served with the familiar gingery translucent sweet-and-sour sauce, they tasted all right. But they didn't really make you happy. The pretzel was enormous and fresh; but the cheese tasted ballpark-nacho-esque — not the real-deal beer cheese.

I ordered the daily special: Chicken Piccata, "Feldy's rice blend," and Southern-style green beans ($11.95). My friend got the Blackened Lobster Pasta ($16.95). The chicken's caper sauce tasted fine, and the bird itself was pretty tender. The rice blend seemed a bit like packet rice, in much the same way as the beans probably sat in a can at some point in the not-too-distant past. The pasta was rich and slightly hot, with peppery linguine and big chunks of lobster in cream sauce. Yummy but kinda heavy.

The less said about the salad the better, except that it featured (in addition to the usual iceberg lettuce, orange cheese and mini-croutons) cherry tomatoes — nice touch! We tried their pumpkin pie ($2.95), which was fine, and Apple Crunch Pie ($3.95), which was better. The latter consisted of pastry crust, custard layer, apples and pastry squares over the top, served with strawberry and caramel sauces.

The Sizzle
OK, there really isn't any sizzle to speak of. However, Feldy's makes a sincere effort on many fronts. They have a big selection of food, and the kids' menu is gargantuan compared to some places. The bar serves a full menu and stays open late. There are several wine choices, and the service — the waiters and the people on the phone — is warm and genuine. It's hard to judge the competence of the wait staff, since we were the only diners there, but I'd give them the benefit of the doubt.

"Middle-of-the-road" sounds like a slam, but I don't mean it that way. If you find yourself in the middle of Beechmont Avenue — especially if your boyfriend just dumped you — go to Feldy's. They'll do their darnedest to fill you up with perfectly adequate, if not actually delightful, comfort food. ©

Feldy's Fine Food & Spirits
Go: 8060 Beechmont Ave., Anderson Township

Call: 513-474-2212

Hours: Monday-Saturday 11 a.m.-10 p.m.; 11 a.m.-9 p.m. Sunday

Prices: Low to moderate

Payment: Major credit cards

Red Meat Alternatives: Plenty of sides and pastas

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