The Grill on the Alley (BH) Review - 9/11/06
I took my Mom to the Grill for her B-Day yesterday. It sucks to have your birthday on 9/11.
Service (Good): They were able to take last minute reservations and our table was available when we were ready. The host was friendly and helpful, if not even over-enthusiastic. I did ask the waiter whether the beef was dry-aged or wet-aged. He had a stunned look before answering dry-aged. I suspect it was actually wet aged and he just took a 50-50 guess. We ordered a dinner portion of steamed clams as an appetizer and they did not bring enough utensils to share. I also asked if any special steak sauces accompanied the steaks and the server (not the waiter) said, "No, you might be thinking of another steakhouse." I thought that was a little unnecessary, but these are all very minor gripes in my book and none of them took away from the enjoyment of the meal.
Bread and Appetizers: The sourdough bread was cold and dense. I prefer steaming, fresh bread. But it did come with some mixed vegetables as a spread that was a nice change of pace. We shared steamed littleneck clams and salmom gravalaax. The clams were disappointing. They were very small and more chewy than they ought to have been. Some were also not fully opened and the broth was okay, but not particularly flavorful. The gravalaax was better. It came with some soft toasted bread, strings of red onions, and a light, pesto-based green spread. The spread looked a little weird and like it might have too strong of a taste, but unless you put a lot on, it really had no discernable taste. The salmon itself was good.
Steaks: We both ordered the house special prime bone-in filet mignon cooked rare with sides of sauteed mushrooms and creamed spinach. Both the spinach and the mushrooms were excellent. The mushrooms were also served whole rather than sliced and were full of flavor--a perfect compliment! My steak was slightly over cooked and closer to medium rare, but my mom's was prepared fine. The next time I go to a good steak house I am going to order my steak black and blue. I like textures that are more slippery than fibrous. The meat was buttery and tender, but not particularly flavorful. It wasn't bad, mind you, but with a relatively lean cut like a filet, I thought it would have benefitted from more butter, garlic, and salt.
Had I eaten at the Grill and no other prime steakhouse, I would have loved it. I still very much enjoyed the meal overall and would recommend the place, but having tried Mastro's, the Arroyo Chop House, and Ruth's Cris, I think the Grill would slot in at 4th on my future coronary heirarchy.
It is my birthday next month and we are planning on trying Cut. Stay tuned for a report in early Oct.
The service is widely regarded as the best in town.
The steaks are good but I agree it would not be my first choice for steak -- for that I'd go to Ruth's Chris.
The "vegetable spread" they bring with the bread is actually peppers and onions and is not normally spread on the bread.
I agree about the creamed spinach -- the best in town.
Next time for your vegetable I'd try the zucchini and onions -- they're addictive.
I've always said if I could only eat at one restaurant for the rest of my life it would be the Grill.
Awesome dishes at the Grill include crab cocktail, cheese toast, Joe's special, corned beef hash, anything w/eggs, Cobb salad, gorgonzola/pear/walnut salad, caprese, crab or shrimp or combo Louis, hot poached salmon, all fish inc. John Dory, liver and onions, lamb chops, creamed spinach best in town, zucchini w/onions, chicken pot pie, stone crabs, strawberry shortcake, tapioca pudding, hot fudge sundae best in town
The last time I was there, they had a special that was a huge boneless fried chicken breast. It was excellent.
The service is excellent. The prices sometimes seem a bit high for what you get.