Was The Country Inn in Warren Always Just Okay, or Has It Gone Downhill?

Some solid entrees were offset by mediocre sides and service.

Years ago, I frequented The Country Inn on Market Street in Warren, RI. It was always a favorite spot for a Saturday night dinner for my parents. Even as I got older and stopped going with them, I always had fond memories. I would always get prime rib with sides of mashed potatoes, corn, and clam chowder.

I returned with my family last night, and some things have changed. The interior layout is a little different, with some rows of booths removed and replaced with tables. The restaurant definitely felt a little more open. They don’t take reservations, but you can call ahead, which I did, and it worked out well. We were seated within minutes of walking in.

Our server was devoid of personality. He was quiet and seemed almost disinterested, which was a little strange. It’s disappointing that we got him, because a waiter my parents recognized was in the same section. He was friendly and bubbly, but we unfortunately didn’t get him.

Regular Italian bread was served almost as soon as we were seated, which is always a nice touch. We placed our order and most of our food came out quickly. Unfortunately, it’s pretty pathetic when three of the four people in your party get their food, and it takes over five minutes for the last entree to arrive. Our server would later explain that the chicken parmesan was “burned,” the first time.

This would have been okay if said chicken was not tough, but alas, it was. The other entrees came out fine. My prime rib was juicy and probably warm when it was first served (before I waited for the missing entree). The fried scallops and fried fish were hot and delicious, as were the fries that they came with. However, the mashed potatoes and green beans we got were both mushy and cold. I can’t remember if they were consistent with how they used to be years ago and my standards have simply improved, or if they’ve gone downhill.

Also, while my prime rib was good, I got the smallest cut available and they still put it on a plate too small for it. Seriously, it was like a lunch entree plate. Whoever is in charge of picking out china there needs to wise up and size their plates appropriately. Every time I tried to cut it, juice spilled out, and a piece hung off the plate.

Perhaps I need to try a less fancy entree or different sides. The menu is huge, offering lots of sandwiches, pasta, chicken, veal, and steak/chop dishes, so there are lots of other opportunities for this restaurant to shine. It has some signature Italian dishes, though given the quality (or lack thereof) of the chicken parmesan, my expectations would be tempered.

I would be remiss if I didn’t acknowledge that, for the price, you get quite a lot of food. The entrees, for example, all come with pasta or a potato and vegetable; plus clam chowder, soup, or salad. Drinks are reasonably priced, too, so it’s hard to argue that you’re being brutally overcharged.

The Country Inn is fine for a casual family dinner, particularly if you like fried food and huge portions. But if you’re looking for lighter faire or quality Italian food, I strongly encourage you to look elsewhere.

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