Gourmet Diner, which debuted its chrome, '40s-style diner car in 1983, flaunts an extensive diner-like menu of burgers, salads, and dozens of main-course choices along with 40 or so daily specials. There are American and Italian selections aplenty, supplemented by barely enough French items to validate the diner's tag line "just bon cuisine." And it is definitely cool sitting in this classic diner environment – both in a James Dean way and in a you'll-need-a-sweater-because-the-AC-is-turned-up way. You can't beat diner prices. Daily specials feature choice of soup or salad; entrée; side dish; and soda, coffee, or tea. A big difference between Gourmet and other diners is that here you can start your meal with an appetizer of escargots prepared in textbook fashion -- tender nubs soaked in butter, garlic, and parsley. And you can crunch on a traditional French celery root slaw and then segue to a main course of sole meunière with light and creamy mashed potatoes. Also scoring approval is liver and onions -- two meaty planks crowned with caramelized onions. It's accompanied by Gourmet's signature vegetable soufflé -- a moist dollop of herby omelet. Surprisingly, the only desserts on this mammoth menu are ice cream and an ice-cream sundae.
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