Ray’s Dining Car & Bar
8072 SE Railroad Ave, Snoqualmie, WA 98065
Adults: 2/5 Kids: 1/5 $$$/$$$$$
We have found quite a few wonderful little off-the-beaten-path dining places over the years. We love to visit the places that might not look like they are fabulous restaurants from the outside, because, all too frequently, they turn out to be total gems in the rough.
Ray’s Dining Car & Bar was NOT ONE OF THESE! Oh my gosh! We should have turned around and taken the first train out of town–as the place is kitty-corner across from the Snoqualmie Train Museum this would have been easy to do.
To be fair, we must mention that the waitress that greeted us as we arrived was very friendly and pleasant. She directed us to a both quickly and arrived shortly with our menus (menus that sported way too large of a selection for an establishment as small as Ray’s). She remained the nicest part of our entire dining experience at this establishment.
The place had a previous life, obviously, as a Mexican restaurant that they have attempted to turn into a train-themed dining establishment. Unfortunately, some hand-crafted, train-print covers placed over the old carved Mexican headers on the banquets and some strange train decorations a theme restaurant does not make. The place is still very Mexican looking and not even the admittedly cute train the runs along the ceiling can change that.
One of us ordered the Medianoche with the horseradish coleslaw.
The other wanted to split a Croque-Monsieur with sweet potato fries with one of the kids, but was told that there was a $2.00 ‘Split Plate Fee’. So on top of the $11.00+ that the sandwich cost originally we would also be charged $2.00 for the use of an additional plate? WHAT!?!?!? We could see this being the policy if two full grown adults walk in and wanted to take up a four-top table and buy one meal, but there was four of us, and it was an adult meal being split with a child. $2.00? FOR REAL?
We ended up giving in to the split fee (not intentionally, but through a misunderstanding by our waitress…well it was a mess and way too long to go into here).
So, as you may know, a Medianoche is a Cuban sandwich that is really all about the mustard and the pickles. This one barely qualified. Yes, it had mustard, and yes, it had pickles, but other than that it was bland and boring. Not to mention the presentation and ‘plate-appeal’ was severely lacking. Even the horseradish coleslaw—which from the name alone would imply lots of flavor—had none!
A traditional Croque-Monsieur is a French pub-food grilled cheese sandwich, which may or may not contain ham and be topped with a béchamel sauce. This was NOT that. This was a grilled ham and cheese sandwich made from Texas toast, dipped in an egg wash and pan fried. This was far closer to a Monte Cristo Sandwich—and not a very good one of those either. Again, it had absolutely no presentation and was very home-cooked looking. The sweet potato fries were obviously from the bottom of the bag as the longest one was maybe an inch long and they, too, were as lunch-room as you get.
The chef clearly has no real idea what they are doing.
There was one item on the menu we really wanted to try though. That was the Pittsburg Pirogues. They were described as a ‘ravioli’ stuffed with potato, onion and cheddar cheese. Sounded pretty great! Unfortunately, when these greasy little pockets of flavorless, ‘potato glue’-filled wanton wrappers arrived, they fell far short of the mark. There really is nothing more to say about them. They were gross!
The one other thing we noticed is that the spirits list conspicuously was missing anything from the town’s hometown pride—The Snoqualmie Falls Brewery, one of the best beers around. The brewery and tasting room is just a street over from the restaurant, but their huge list of beers, wines, etc. had no mention of it at all. Now, to be fair, that might be the fault of the brewery itself. Maybe they don’t allow restaurants so close to them to serve their product, but, if that is the case, then they are missing out on amazing exposure. If it is the restaurant that does not want to serve their beer (why they wouldn’t we have no idea) then they are really, really, really missing out on an opportunity.
The one child that ordered the half of the Croque-Monsieur and sweet potato fries declared the sandwich was ‘disgusting’! She told us she was happy she had only ordered half of it as she would never have wanted to eat any more than that.
The other one ordered from the very limited kids menu. She ordered the Angus Slider burgers and fries. The burger patties were overcooked and very dry. She was highly disappointed and said that under no circumstances did she “EVER want to come back.”
The girls too decided that the pirogues were bland and gummy and that they did not care for them at all.
Overall, this is an establishment to skip while you are in Snoqualmie, Washington. Go anywhere else! This is not your train stop and defiantly not your ‘dining car’.
May you family always eat well!