WHAT KIND OF FOOD AM I?

I nearly laugh out loud when a basket of rolls is delivered. They look like those break-apart aluminum-tray rolls we were served in our high school cafeteria for the special Thanksgiving lunch. Please! More ludicrous yet, the butter balls are delicately scored. I just don't get it.

But the meal goes on. Shrimp scampi ($13.95) is woefully underdone. My dining accomplice wrestles with several ungarlicky shrimp before he can cut through them. Broiled trout has no eye appeal and tastes of celery salt. Fresh broccoli is overcooked and olive green in color but, oddly, a baked potato-- without foil--is perfectly done.

Though we are itching to leave, we stick it out for dessert. Why, oh why, did we bother? Rocky mountain pie, cut right out of the tin, is loaded with brown sugar and obviously nuked--the plate is incredibly hot. Beyond sugar, it has no distinguishable flavor. Ice cream-filled crepes the size of burritos ($3.50) are gummy and covered with aerosol whipped cream and a maraschino cherry. If I want this, I'll go to Dairy Queen, thanks.

Jennifer's is an easy target. The restaurant is well-meaning, but lacking in purpose and direction. I guess when I go to a place that calls itself "An American Eatery," I expect the best this country has to offer, not the worst.

Buster's, Mercado del Lago, 8320 North Hayden, Scottsdale, 951-5850. Hours: Lunch, 11:30 a.m. to 5 p.m., seven days a week; Dinner, 5 to 10 p.m., Sunday through Thursday, 5 to 11 p.m., Friday and Saturday.

Jennifer's, 7108 East Stetson, Scottsdale, 423-5350. Hours: 11:30 a.m. to 9 p.m., Tuesday through Thursday; 11:30 a.m. to 10 p.m., Friday and Saturday; closed Sunday and Monday.

I haven't ordered potato skins since Ronald Reagan's first term, but I'd elect to have these again.

The last thing I want to stare at is the uneaten half of that oyster Rockefeller in front of me.

When I go to a place that calls itself "An American Eatery," I expect the best this country has to offer, not the worst.

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