Greystone Grill in Rockville
My wife, son and I went to the Greystone Grill in Rockville (33 Maryland Ave, in the new Rockville downtown) last night after the movies. Admittedly it was late, about 9:30, but our experience was not one to make me want to return.
Things started well, the place has the right look for a modern steakhouse/grill, stone hearths, a good mix of banquettes and tables and lots of glass and steel. The server, an nice young man who was just trying too hard, offered to give us a tour of the menu (like I needed that) and there was a reasonable (for Montgomery County) wine list. I even noticed the wine lockers and asked about them. For $1500 (a year) you can have your own wine locker and they will store and serve your wine for you when you come in, but you have to fill it with wine that you can buy in Montgomery County, so that is a major waste of money. They offer a fairly nice selection of wines by the glass too and you can order a trio of three ounce pours of any of the by the glass wines for $13.
The bread was piping hot and very good, and came out quickly. But things went down hill from there.
I ordered the trio of wines, a Pinot Grigio to go with my appetizer, and Pinot Noir and a Cabernet Sauvignon to go with the steak I ordered. Unfortunately, it didn't show up until after the appetizers were done and gone, and I even tried to eat them slowly to give them time to get the wine to me.
For appetizers I ordered the Crispy Cheese and Smoked Salmon, described on the menu as Haloumie cheese layered with smoked salmon and pesto. Served with horseradish scented creme fraiche. Actually it was some salmon between two layers of cheese, lightly breaded and deep fried. While it wasn't awful, it was pretty weak and much less interesting than it sounded. My son had the Greystone Skewers, strips of beef, marinated, grilled and drizzled with peanut sauce. It was actually quite good. My wife ordered the Calamari Rockefeller, which turned out to be fairly good, but not exciting fried calamari.
For entrees, my wife ordered the Mango and Mandarin Salad. It came with blackend shrimp, fresh blueberrys and raspberrys, Mandarin oranges, on top of greens tossed with a Champagne vinaigrette, finished with sliced Brie cheese, sliced red onions and toasted almonds. She specifically asked for the vinaigrette to be served on the side. When the salad came, it was dressed (overdressed in fact, a constant problem with the salads here) and had to be sent back to be done correctly. However, when the properly served salad came out, she pronounced it to be very good.
I ordered the Flatiron Steak. I ordered it medium rare, and it came Rare, but I didn't complain since I really prefer it to the rare side anyway. It was quite good. The entrees come with a side and a salad. I got the Greystone salad, greens, candied cashews and crumbled Maytag bleu cheese tossed with raspberry viniagrette. It was tasty, very fresh, and very overdressed with the viniagrette. (Word of warning, ask for the dressing on the side and send it back if it doesn't come that way unless you like your salads soaked in dressing.) I ordered the sauteéed mushrooms as my side, but when the steak came, it was with the Yukon Gold mashed potatoes. I pointed out I had ordered a different side and my server brought me a bowl of the mushrooms. He shouldn't have bothered, the potatoes were better, as the mushrooms were simply white button mushrooms that had been quartered and sauteed in some herbs and were very ordinary and unexciting.
My son ordered the 12 ounce Fillet. It came cooked rare as he asked but he thought it was ordinary and lacked any ommpf; but that the steamed broccoli was quite good, served with a roasted red pepper butter sauce. He also ordered the wedge salad, but thought the Maytag blue cheese dressing didn't taste any better than what he got out of a bottle from Kraft.
So bottom line, the steaks are pretty good, but not great, and pricy. Sides are hit and miss, salads are not bad, but overdressed, and the service was poor. Entire dinner before any tip, $125 for the three of us, and that was without dessert. If I was one of the young professionals who are buying all those condos around there, I might be willing to eat here, because it is a nice space, and seems to have a very nice bar. But there are plenty of places where I can get better service, good steaks, and good wine for less. I think they are trying too hard and just don't get it yet. If they straighten out the service problems, and quit trying to be as pretentious as they are, they might be worth going to on a semi regular basis, but I don't know if I'm going to give them the chance to change my mind. I certainly wouldn't make a trip to go there.
One thing I do have to give them complements for, the wine glasses are real, decent sized, more than acceptable to a wine geek like me, wine glasses. (They looked like Spiegelaus, but I can't say for sure.) At least they take wine service seriously. And the "Innkeepers private cellar selections" were better than found in many places in Montgomery County.
Absolutely the worst restaurant I've ever visited- worldwide. The experience begins with the confused decor (sports bar? new age place? toney steakhouse? Denny's-style grill?) Unblinded windows let passers by stare in as you dine. The chairs are right out of a hotel banquet surplus store. The service missed on all marks including basics like getting orders correct, changing silverware (ok, we all were willing to share 1 knife), and glasses (wine glass or water glass? couldn't tell the difference.... and, one can suffice for the other in a pinch). Good food can surmount all, but this is bad cafeteria food. Meals arrived undercooked, steaks cold, mushy side veggies "slopped" onto platters. Yuck...Stay home and go hungry.
As a point of reference, this place is a local chain - can be found also in Timonium, and Ellicott City. I've had hit or miss experiences at both locations... I suppose I keep hoping it will live up to what it could be! I've never enjoyed the wedge salad - it's too much to handle for me. I like a delicate salad, not a quarter of a head of lettuce covered in bleu cheese and bacon. I do like the Greystone salad... and the last time I ate there I enjoyed the flatiron steak. They also used to have a nice fried green tomato/crab appetizer.
This place is frustrating to me. It's just not consistant. I've not been back for about a year now, and I have no plans to head back any time soon.
Thanks for the long, thoughtful, review dinwiddie. Sadly, all the comments I've heard from folks who've eaten there were very similar to this. I hope they shape up, but I don't have high hopes for this place. At a lower price point (and somewhat different menu), I thought Gordon Biersch was much better. No, it's not chowish food, per se, but if you're looking for a place to eat in Rockville Town Center, I would return there far faster then I would try Greystone Grille.