On a wet Wednesday night, the light from the recently re-opened Delsa's Ice Cream Parlour blazed across Ustick like a flashlight used for reading under the covers after bedtime. The IT Guy and I sloshed into the blinding brightness of the place known for its ice cream and were greeted by the kind of kid who gives teenagers a good name. He wasn't annoyed that we'd come in and seemed genuinely happy to wait on us. Even as we waffled on what to order, he stood patiently, smiling.
I considered ordering a salad. But the giant outside reader board's claim that Delsa's is "home of the best cheeseburger" was a challenge I was up to. Plus, the salads don't come in a combo that offers a milkshake for $1 more. I planned for an extra hour at the gym and picked tots and a chocolate shake to go with my bacon cheeseburger ($6.79).
We squeaked into a sparkly red and white vinyl booth, the kind that skin sticks to in the summer when arms and legs are bare. The light above our table was so bright, we both did that weird stare-into-it thing. After blinking away the spots in our eyes, we decided it's pretty brave to have 1,000 watts of light blaring across a restaurant. Any little speck of dust or grease is going to show, and on closer inspection, the bravery was warranted: Our table, seats and even the wall we were sitting next to were shiny clean.
As another friendly teen dropped off our chocolate and raspberry shakes, our server brought us plastic baskets filled with food--which included chicken strips and bike-tire sized onion rings for the IT Guy ($7.50, with a shake)--and even retrieved extra napkins when he overheard me ask the IT Guy to go get some.
The food was plentiful, cheap and hot. But if the same attention to detail was given to the food as was given to the service, it would have taken our meal from OK to great.
While the cornmeal-dusted bun and the black pepper-flecked breading on the chicken lent our food an air of homemade-ness, the lack of seasoning in the onion ring coating, the thin, perfect circle of the burger and the uniform flatness of the strips suggested food-service products. The tots could have done with a shot of salt before they left the kitchen, and the plastic cup of barbecue sauce that accompanied the chicken was jarringly ice cold. And though the cheeseburger didn't live up to the reader-board hype, fortunately the thick, creamy, homemade milkshakes did and scored points for erasing any doubts of our return.
As holiday shopping starts to eat up my spare time, I suspect I may be in that area of town hungry and with only a few bucks in my pocket long after the sun has gone down. With its pleasant counter-kids, Delsa's may serve as a beacon of light. And thankfully, the gym isn't too far away.
--Amy Atkins wears her sunglasses at night. Just in case.
Boise Weekly sends two reviewers to every restaurant we review. Read what our other reviewer had to say about Delsa's Ice Cream Parlour.