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Cheap eats

I didn't have as good a dinner as I could have at Jade's Restaurant in Depew, and I have nobody to blame but myself.

Ruth, John and I decided on the spur of the moment to go there during the holiday rush, when you study your cheap-eating map to keep far away from the traffic jams.

Jade's dining room, which we reached by walking through the bar (we chose the wrong door) and past the pool table, was a comfortable enough place, extravagantly decked with tinsel and wreaths. But it was empty except for one other couple, and when they left after 10 minutes, the three of us were alone.

That means, of course, that we got lots of attention from our server, and somehow I failed to realize that the back page of the menu listed the dinners.

I was interested to see Polish Duck Soup on the menu ($1.99 cup, $2.99 bowl), but we went for other soup selections -- Split Pea for John and his sister and Cheeseburger Soup for me.

The split pea was redolent of either ham or smoke flavor or both, if a bit thin, but they enjoyed it. My Cheeseburger Soup was full of meat but strangely bland-tasting.

After we placed our order (I went for Chicken a la King for $7.99, one of the four dinner specials), I realized that I hadn't even seen the back page of the menu. And there it was, for only $11.99, the Polish Platter, featuring "golombek, fresh and smoked Polish sausage, potato pancake, cheese and sauerkraut pierogi, applesauce."

I should have had that, just to report on it. But alas. The Chicken a la King, on a bed of toast, was a nice creation, with a creamy white sauce and chunks of white-meat chicken. It could have used a few more peas and mushrooms, but it was good.

Ruth's Jade's Deluxe Shaved Steak on a hard roll with fried onions and melted mozzarella ($6.99) was tasty and satisfying. During the grilling, the meat, cheese and onions mixed and bonded nicely.

John's Chicken in the Basket ($7.99), another comfort food choice, was perfectly fried, with a crispy coating and moist meat underneath. It was a tiny bit greasy, but very satisfying.

Our server assured us that on Fridays the line of diners is out the door, and I believe it. I bet those Polish Platters fly out of the kitchen all night, too.

-- Anne Neville

***

Jade's Restaurant

4495 Broadway, Depew

683-5054

Review: 2 1/2 pennies (Out of 4)

"Comfort food."

Jade's Restaurant is open from 11:30 a.m. to 8 p.m. weekdays; from 11:30 a.m. to 10 p.m. Fridays; and from 3 to 8 p.m. Saturdays.

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