Kimball Inn was much smaller than I expected, considering the breadth of their menu. The entire interior is finished in wood paneling with low ceilings and fairly low light in the dining room. The good sized bar area is more lit and also had a few tables where additional diners could eat. In the dining room there were 2 booths with low, straight back benches, a small window to the street and a few photographs of animals on the walls. On the way into the dining room was a large chalkboard with the nightly specials. It cannot be seen from the seating area, so study it on your way in. The options sounded interesting but somehow they didn’t come off as well as they sounded. Portions are large. They offered a number of wines by the bottle but it was not an overwhelming selection. The server was inefficient and not particularly helpful, sometimes disappearing for long spells and never coming to check if you needed anything.
Tables were set with a basket of packaged crackers and a sliced chunk of really soft, cottony bread. There was a small tub of some kind of seasoned spread but also some packets of whipped butter. We started with martinis which were huge but fairly dilute. They were cold and served in a proper glass, though.
A special that evening was a coconut boom boom shrimp, which seemed to be on many of the past special lists I saw on line. They were heavily coated large shrimp drenched in a creamy chili sauce, sprinkled with scallions and a wedge of lime. They were actually pretty tasty and the shrimp stayed moist. There were about 10 on the plate, so the server was spot on to advise us not to order 2 appetizers.
Dinners came with a salad or soup, choice of potato, polenta, rice, pasta or fresh vegetable. We chose the salad with blue cheese dressing which came in a covered plastic cup on the side. Salads contained lettuce, red onions, tomatoes, carrots, radish, cucumber and a pickled pepper. They were not mixed and the plate was really too small to toss with the dressing without making a mess. The dressing was creamy and coated the ingredients but the blue cheese was way too mild.
For a main course we had the Char-Grilled Angus Ribeye which was a 16-18 ounce piece of beef that had been seasoned and garnished with a beer battered onion ring. The menu had a steak temperature chart which corresponded to actual designations however their cooking did not. Medium rare should have been a warm red center but it was more toward pink. The meat came with nice grill marks and 2 small onion rings, a tomato slice, pickled pepper and parsley. The onion rings were okay but the meat was like cardboard when you chewed it. The fatty cut of a ribeye was not present on my plate and I found myself trying to spread some of that whipped butter on it to give it a little richness and juice.
The pleasant surprise was in the starch sides. The spaetzle and cheese was a baked dish and wonderful. The tender pasta bits were surrounded by a creamy cheese sauce that made for a lovely dish. It was really good.
The Yukon Gold mash with garlic butter was nicely done with a strongly flavored garlic butter on dense creamy potatoes. In fact the steak was best eaten by dipping it in the pools of garlic butter on the potatoes. We passed on dessert.