Made reservations for two (Anniversary Dinner) over the phone - was asked if I would like a table inside or outside on the patio. Since it was a beautiful evening in August, I chose the outside "Patio".
When we arrived, the restaurant was practically empty yet we waited ten minutes to be seated. After realizing their outside "patio" was the sidewalk along one of the dirtiest, and most busy streets in Eugene, we decided on a table inside. While the bar area seemed to have decent atmosphere,... The actual restaurant portion was like an old mortuary only less lively. No ambiance at all and reminded me of a bad buffet-chain restaurant from the late 90's.
The menu showed some promise but like with a lot of these Eugene restaurants that are well past their prime, they've taken the simple, traditional Thai recipes and tried to be over-creative and add some catchy veggie or whacky sauce. If there is one thing that Ring of Fire has a lot of, it's these whacky, over-thought sauces that dominate almost the whole menu.
We ordered the lettuce-wraps (chicken), and were severely disappointed. They were so over seasoned that you could not taste any flavor of the meat, just an overpowering citrus and "Meow Mix" aftertaste,....maybe it was Friskies. Even the lettuce was lacking as they gave us the center of the of lettuce, so there was no "wrapping" going on.
My meal was not bad once you scraped the frill off the beef medallions - the meat was cooked perfectly but the sauce was slopped over everything, even the mountain of decorated veggies piled high on the meal. Asparagus should have been tossed out before they cooked it as it was definitely borderline and no way "fresh".
My wife had the chicken Pad Thai which was the only thing that wasn't buried in seasoning. My wife had ordered the "hot" seasoning which was very mild - definitely no zing to it. Overall it was surprisingly bland for Pad Thai and was closure to a retirement center's version than an "authentic" restaurant.
The staff was very nice though - service was good (there were maybe three tables).
Place needs to redecorate and take a look at their menu - quit trying to glitz everything up and over season the hell out of simple meals. Simplify the menu, and quit using the term patio seating - if I had sat outside, I would have been three feet from West 11th and passing cars.
Nothing sets the anniversary mood like eating over seasoned Cat Chow over the roar of traffic and some teenagers blaring hip-hop music.
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