Where I currently work, there really aren't any interesting places to eat in the immediate vicinity. If you drive about 10 minutes in any given direction, however, you'll find some decent places to catch a meal. Today I decided to drive south on I-77 and that led me to the locally owned restaurant Georgio's, located off the Rt. 212 exit at Bolivar/Zoar. It is nestled in behind the Wilkshire Golf Course and during the summer many of the golfers can be seen at lunchtime having a drink and a sandwich.
While there is a main dining room when you first walk in, Georgio's is also set up for a crowd. There is a separate large room off the back of the restaurant that can be used for large gatherings. I've eaten at Georgio's before, but it's probably been quite some time, so I decided to give them another try today. Once inside, there is a daily specials board right next the to hostess stand. Now truth be told, only once have I been satisfied with something I ordered off the daily specials board. My advice would be to stick to the regular menu; you'll be much safer.
Over the 20 months that I've visited the restaurant, I've seen the menu change and the restaurant adapt. Which is normally a good thing because it shows that management is paying attention to what sells and what doesn't. The latest changes have really tightened up the menu and focused the kitchen on what they are good at: soups, salads, wraps, sandwiches, and well, not so much their pizzas. I've had the pizzas in the past and not been a fan, but I'll talk about them in another blog entry, after I've given them another try (just to be fair since I didn't have a pizza today).
Here is half of the printed menu. Unfortunately, I neglected to get a shot of the other half:
I decided to start my meal with a cup of the chorizo and potato soup with kale. Here is what I received from the kitchen:
Even though the menu didn't specifically say it, I was actually expecting a creamy potato soup, not a broth-based one. That being said, I decided to keep it anyway, partly because I was hungry and partly because it was my fault for not asking up front. It was a nicely balanced soup and the seasoning was very good. Looking through the cup, I could see that in addition to ground meat, potatoes, and kale, there were also tomatoes, garlic, and onions. While the soup was good, I seriously question the use of the word "chorizo" as a description for the meat. Most chorizo that I've eaten have had two major flavor elements: lots of garlic and lots of spice. This soup had neither. And the texture of the meat in the soup led me to speculate that they were using a mild sausage instead of actual chorizo. Initially I thought it migt be a mild Italian sausage, but there was absolutely no hint of an anise flavor (usually provided by fennel seeds). I did ask the server about it, but she insisted that as far as she knew, it was chorizo.
I've gotten a variety of sandwiches during previous visits and for the most part they've been pretty good. A new addition to the menu since my last visit is the Monte Christo sandwich. Now, I remember this sandwich from the cafeteria in my college days, and honestly, the only thing I really remember about it was that it was essentially a grilled cheese with ham and turkey. I have since learned that there is an egg batter involved in a proper Monte Christo. Since the description on the menu indicated that we were dealing with the real thing, I made the decision to go with a Monte Christo and French Fries.
As I was finishing up my soup, my server brought out my sandwich:
And another shot from the opposite side:
What's in the little plastic cup, you ask? Ketchup? No, my server brought me a separate bottle of ketchup for my fries. It turns out it was maple syrup (well, more than likely the high-fructose corn syrup kind, not the real deal). Thinking it would be weird to pair the two together, I actually ate the first half of my sandwich without the use of this condiment.
How did it taste? It was quite good. I could definitely taste the egg batter on the bread, the ham and turkey were nice: hot and tender. When I got to the second half of my sandwich, I realized two things. First, the Grilled Bread Conundrum had struck again. I tell you right now with certainty that if I ever manage to invent a device that can hold a grilled (or griddled) sandwich above the plate so it doesn't sit there and steam against the plate and get soggy, I will be a gazillionaire. Perhaps some type of anti-gravity device where the sandwich can somehow float above the plate and avoid contact, thus avoiding the sogginess issue. My second realization was that the maple syrup was there for a reason and I might as well try it with the rest of my sandwich. At least one bite's worth.
So, with trepidation, I dipped and bit.
The heavens opened. Trumpets sounded. Suddenly I had all this sensory information hurdling towards my brain saying, "Yes! Yes!" Somewhat similar to, but not quite the same, as the Sally character from Katz's Deli. Sweet, salty, and fatty all came together in my mouth and made me realize that this is another example of two foods that when eaten together, are definitely more than the sum of their parts. I took a second dipped bite just to confirm what I had tasted in the first bite and sure enough, more food nirvana.
I would be remiss if I didn't mention the French Fries, since they were also on the plate (although next time I think I'm going to get a second Monte Christo and a side of maple syrup as my side instead of the fries). They were nice and crispy and golden and just a tad greasy, but not too bad. Georgio's on the whole does pretty decent fries and they didn't disappoint this time either.
I know Georgio's is a little out of the way for a lot of the people who read this blog, but if you ever happen to be heading down I-77 and find yourself in this neck of the woods, this would make an excellent place to stop for lunch.