Monday, August 16, 2010

Granite City restaurant in St. Louis

Granite City Food and Brewery is a fairly new restaurant which I had attended this past weekend with my family.  No, its not from Granite City Illinois, but from St. Cloud Minnesota.  The restaurant has a feel of a dimly lit pub, with a large bar near the front, a large glass window in front of the kitchen and a square dining room with booths that are large enough to sit 6 people comfortably.  We stopped into the location on Olive on Saturday night.

We were greeted quickly and given a booth, which is the perfect option for kids and while we were still getting our things settled, a woman came by with a complimentary plate of carrot slices and ranch dressing.  Normally this is a strategy that is employed by restaurants who know that their kitchen is taking a while to get food out.  So, the pre-appetizer is given to help ease any starvation issues that customers may be feeling.

Even after this, we ordered an appetizer that was actually part of the special. There were three specials and it basically was that you could order one appetizer and two entree's for $34.99.  We ordered the Idaho nachos, the Ravioli and the meatloaf. We also ordered two kids meals, which were the chicken strips and the corn dogs.

The Idaho Nachos was a dish of large cut waffle fries with all the typical good nacho condiments on them.  As you can see from the picture above, lots of bacon, sour cream, at least two kinds of cheese and green onions were on top of these fries.  It was okay and I mean okay as it was a 3 out of 5 stars for me.  It was good, but the excessive amount of seasoned salt on the fries, made it possible to eat only a few and take a break. In most every case, bacon does make everything better.  However, when the bacon was merely added to get attention and really doesn't play well with the other ingredients, then I'd say that the bacon is needed.  In this dish, sure the bacon was very tasty, but there was likely half a pound of it for no reason. 

My wife ordered what was some ravioli and this huge plate came out.  Mind you that we ate a few handfuls of the appetizer and were starving for a change and something a lot less salty.  My wife liked the pasta and gave it a 3 out of 5 stars saying that it was a huge helping of food and was good but nothing that blew her out of the water.

Look at the picture here and what does that look like?  Does it look like a steak under some onion strings and on a piece of bread?  That's not what it is and it is what it is.  It clearly is a meatloaf, made from what tastes like steak.  So, they picked a great steak, like sirloin and then made a meatloaf out of it.  After they cooked the meatloaf, it looks like they seared both sides like you would a large steak, making for some crunchy outside and some soft inside.  Not too many vegetables were present in this version of the meatloaf but it was good still the same with the garlic mashed potatoes. I gave a 3.5 out of 5 stars considering that I have never seen anyone grill a meatloaf.

The kids didn't get away with anything light, even though they were kids. Here we see two buckets of food.  Each with 5-6 pieces of the protein and a large handful of shoe-string french fries.  Oddly enough, their french fries were not overly salted.  I did try their food, because they insisted and both tasted okay.  I mean, sure, they are kids meals and not expensive but they tasted like they were pulled out of the freezer and put into the fryer, with no change or imagination done by the restaurant. A 3 out of 5 stars is what I would give either one. 

Every thing was great in the restaurant. The service realized that we were hindered with two very touchy kids and made it a point to place food away from them so we could cool it off first or help divide things up for the kids.  I think a manager made his appearance once and asked us how we were doing and we were visited by our server at least once every 5 minutes. The only issue with the service we had was after we had received our dessert.  The server came right after we got our dessert and checked on us and then disappeared.  She was gone.  We waited for her to come back and no one spoke to us or checked on us for 10 minutes.  She probably wouldn't have come back to us if it wasn't for me asking another male server to page her for us.  Besides that last 15 minutes of us trying to pay and leave, that was the only unsettling thing about the whole meal.

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