Friday, July 10, 2009

The Flintstones Would Fit Right In

After having the Granite Grille recommended to me a number of times by colleagues where I currently am working, I decided to give them a try for lunch today. The Granite Grille is part of the The Quarry Golf Course and is located about 10 minutes east from the intersection of Routes 77 and 30. The first time I tried to find this place, I missed my turn and ended up needing to use the GPS on my phone to get me back to the highway.

It's actually pretty simple to get there. Take US 30 east until you come to the Trump Road exit. Go south on Trump Road to the very next intersection (Orchard View) and make a left onto Orchard View. The Quarry is another few minutes and will be on the righthand side of the road. Parking is available in front of the main building (which is also where the restaurant is located).

Here is a shot of the main building:

And a shot of the front of the menu the hostess handed me after seating me at a nice outdoor table right by the golf course:

If you enter the restaurant through the inside of the main building, you will need to continue to the hostess station on the outdoor patio. Once there, you can let the hostess know your seating preference. While today wasn't exactly bright and sunny, the temperature was in the upper sixties and the view was quite nice.

Here are a couple of shots I took of the vistas available from my table:

My server took my drink order and she arrived shortly afterward with my iced tea:

Unfortunately, the moment I tasted it, I knew it wasn't fresh-brewed. Granted, I didn't verify it was before ordering it, but at $2.00 for this beverage, I expected something better than Nestea. Toward the end of the meal when I directly asked her about the origin of the tea, she admitted that it was indeed Nestea.

There were two homemade soup specials for the day: chicken noodle and mushroom and meatball. While both sounded nice, my craving was for the mushroom and meatball. A few minutes later, a generous portion of soup arrived at my table:

This soup was excellent. The rich earthy flavor from the mushrooms matched the well-seasoned meatballs. Honestly, this soup gave me kind of a beef stroganoff kind of flavor, sans noodles. It was rich without dulling the taste buds. A cup of this was $2.99 and I thought it was definitely worth it.

For my sandwich, I decided to elicit some suggestions from the trio of waitstaff that surrounded me. Apparently two new servers were being trained by a veteran and they all suggested that I give one of Granite Grille's signature items, the Pretzel Steak Sandwich, a try. Served with homemade potato chips, the sandwich consists of bourbon marinated steak on a toasted pretzel bun and finally finished with a slice of Pepper Jack cheese.

Here is what came out after about ten minutes or so:

And a shot of just the sandwich:

And a shot of the potato chips:

And finally a shot of the cross section of my sandwich:

Let's start with the good. The potato chips were, in a word, delicious. They were still warm when the plate was first brought to me. Slightly thicker than a commercial potato chip, they had a wonderful crisp crunch while maintaining true to their potato flavor. Clearly the chef/cook in the kitchen knew to season the chips as soon as they were finished frying because they had a very nice level of saltiness to them.

The sandwich on the other hand was both hit and miss. The pretzel roll was tasty and a nice vehicle for a hearty sandwich like this. While I couldn't really taste any of the bourbon flavor to the meat, it did have a nice peppery bite. Sadly though, the cut of steak used in this sandwich was quite tough, even though it did come out close to the medium rare that I had ordered. To say that this meat was tough and stringy would be an understatement. Every time I would try and take a bite, invariably an entire strip of meat would come out of the sandwich and only by doing some pretty forceful pulling was I able to finally pull the remainder of the steak slice from what I had already bitten down on. At first I thought I might have gotten just one bad strip of meat, but the meat was consistently tough throughout the sandwich.

In addition, the Pepper Jack cheese flavor really got lost when eaten as part of a full bite of the sandwich. There were several bites where I just got pretzel bun and cheese and there I could taste the capricious heat of the cheese. I think perhaps a better choice for this sandwich would've been something a little sharper, like perhaps a horseradish mayonnaise. Even if it was just served as a side condiment so that the diner could apply an appropriate amount given his or her predilection for spicy food.

Service overall was fair. Up until the point at which my sandwich was brought to me, I had regular visits from my server(s). After a check to refill my iced tea, everyone seemed to disappear for about fifteen minutes. But, then again, I had the wonderful outdoor views to keep me company.

I'm torn about the Granite Grille. Clearly they are doing some marvelous from-scratch cooking that is really tasty. On the other hand, to let steak that was so uniformly tough and stringy get through quality control and actually be served to a customer is a bit of a worry for me, more so than the issue I had with the Pepper Jack cheese. It is even more worrisome given the fact that the sandwich is listed as a "signature item."

If you live in Canton or happen to be driving through Canton, I'd suggest looking them up for a meal. However, given some of the shortcuts I encountered and the less than stellar "signature item" sandwich, I wouldn't consider this as a destination dining location.

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