Question about the Parkway Grill...
A very good friend is visiting for my birthday next month (she lives in DC now, but used to live here). We want to have a nice, long girlie dinner somewhere quiet, but yummy (desserts must be good). We especially like Pasadena & used to spend a lot of time there. Is Parkway Grill a good choice? I looked at their site & it looks like a grown-up place that is not too trendy or noisy. Can you stay put for a couple of hours there? Opinions, please.
Well, ipse, it seems we finally diagree. I included Derek's in my "least favorite that others seem to like" list:
DEREK’S BISTRO – bring me the head of the hound who recommended this Pasadena loser.
Admittedly, the Grubs ate there only once -- recently, but the experience was awful enough to put it place on our WNR (Will Not Return) list. Both of us ordered specials, & we hit the daily double. Mme's food was overcooked, yet served barely lukewarm & the Grubster's fish was so underdone that it had to be returned to the kitchen. By the time it returned, Mme had long since finished her dish (she prefers her food piping hot, so ate while it was somewhat warm rather than waiting).
A grown-up restaurant serving fine food at fine prices would have returned both dishes to the kitchen & started over rather than cooking the undercooked fish further, which they surely did, & leaving the other diner to dine solo. The Grubmeister would rather hear Gordon Ramsey screaming from the kitchen & wait for two newly prepared dishes.
Service was quite slow for an only moderately busy house. Wine list is decent, but like the menu, overpriced.
Ours was a very bad experience for which we will not spend another $150 -200 to try again.
Never been to Derek's Bistro but Parkway Grill is a good choice too. Last time I went, I was with my parents (I'm in my 20's) and I'd say it's a quiet, grown-up place with excellent service and very good food. I don't go there often on my own for budget reasons but I'd definitely be pleased to be taken there if I were visiting.
PG (and Derek's Bistro) are definitely "special occasion" places... for something a little more laid-back but cute in Pasadena I'd also suggest Marston's, which is situated in a beautiful old little house on Walnut, menu is "Californian."
My sister and I love Parkway for long, girly dinners. The service there is impeccable, and if you want to take your time, it's no problem. We often get a round of appetizers to split, enjoy some pre-dinner wine, then order dinner and take our time before dessert (if we even have room!). They really make a strong effort to accomodate you, and you can tell them in advance that you would like a well-placed table since it's a special occasion.
Had dinner there last Friday night - was easy to get a 8:15pm reservation when we called at 6:30pm.
We split two appetizers - a beef carpaccio that was a special for the day (and our waiter said they had one left) and a crabcake. The carpaccio was scraping-off-the-dish good, while the crabcake was OK. They served it on a bed of avocado puree which was lacking in flavor.
I had the wood grilled lamb chops - excellent. It was done to a pink in the middle, just the way I had wanted it. Fingerling potatoes came with it.
My wife had their special "sockeye salmon" - I had a bite - it was done quite perfectly - just moist inside with a nice crust.
My friend had the John Dory - he liked it.
We split two desserts (a mistake since my friend barely had a bite) - a creme brulee and a banana walnut cake with banana ice cream. The creme brulee is one of my favorite desserts, and this one is the most unusual creme brulee I have ever had - an ethereal custard sandwiched between multiple layers of philo dough, in a pool of caramel sauce. Deconstructed creme brulee - if you will. Superb!
We also had 2 glasses of red wine from their wine by the glass first page. They focus on California wines, so it was somewhat limited, but they have a pretty good selection. Somewhat pricey.
Overall a nice experience - meant for special occasions (my friend was a visiting guest from overseas, and PG was the perfect place to entertain him).
Parkway Grill is the perfect restaurant for what you are looking for. Good, solid cooking, set in a very open, comfortable setting, with a nice patio if interested. Great wines by the glass or bottle. Not a steal, yet definitely worthy of the prices charged in these times.
Been there over 20 years, and knows Pasadena customers extremely well, and takes care of them accordingly with some of the best service seen in restaurants these days.