Review of my new restaurant

Joined Mar 18, 2011
So we finally relocated for my new job, and I was given one unique opportunity to visit without anyone knowing who I am. I haven't met anyone lower on the work food chain then myself, and wanted to go in like any average customer. I didn't want any kind of 'special treatment'. And it worked. (Just a side note about the kitchen - its open and right in the middle of the dining room, which is why we could "see" them). 

This is the review I wrote of my first meal there:

I had my first visit to Montana Grille on Friday evening (5.27.11).

We arrived a few minutes after 5pm. Montana Grill is quite the beautiful restaurant. When you walk in, it’s like you have suddenly been transported to a lodge in Wyoming… Or maybe even Montana itself! The hostess was quite pleasant, held the door open for us, and sat us right away.

The ambiance of the restaurant is exceptional. It was comfortable enough that there was a ‘familiar’ feeling, yet upscale enough that you could take your family here for a nice night out. . The restaurant itself was very clean, and the silverware was spotless.

We sat down (us being myself, my husband, and my 2.5 yr old daughter) and were given our drinks and fire bread right away. The sweet tea was on the button (as one would expect here in the ‘South’) and the corn bread had enough heat to notice, yet was mild enough that everyone at the table enjoyed it.

Then, we waited. And waited. And waited. There was certainly enough wait staff there as one would hope for on a Friday night. They all looked professional but not stuffy in their uniforms, and everyone seemed to be working and keeping busy.

Kitchen staff looked professional as well, though I did see one member eating (and chewing with his mouth open also), which is against health code.  Also, there was some sort of god awful banging coming from the kitchen, which we could only assume was someone pounding chicken. It went on for most of our dinner, and was certainly off-putting.

20 minutes have now gone by. While we waited, another table has sat down close by us, had gotten bread, and then a salad, and their appetizer was arriving.  A member of wait staff finally came up to us to ask if we had been helped. He was very pleasant and polite and apologized several times for the long wait.  My only qualm (aside from the long wait) was that he got a little too flustered and failed to mention his name.

The menu has a good range of selections, but it is very starch and protein heavy. The sides seemed a bit lacking, and we didn’t want to order the one vegetable listed (broccoli and cauliflower) because none of us like cauliflower.  Our waiter did inform us that there were additional sides available, which included sautéed mushrooms or an order of roasted vegetables, including squash, zucchini, and red bell peppers.

We ordered nachos for an appetizer, and my husband ordered Prime Rib with cole slaw and an additional side of sweet mashed potatoes.  I ordered the Rotisserie Chicken (which I hear is somewhat of a signature dish here at Montana Grille) with a side of garlic mashed potatoes, and my daughter, in true 2.5 yr old form, ordered the Mac and Cheese.

Our nachos came quickly, and looked great. They had a good amount of toppings and cheese, and it seemed to be distributed evenly. The only thing we did not care for was the fact that by the time we got to the middle of the nachos we had already eaten all of the toppings and were simply left with a large pile of plain chips. This could be fixed by layering toppings, and cutting out on food waste.  We were glad we only ordered the small portion as it was just enough for the three of us.

Wait staff continued to be attentive and even staff that was not ours got refills for us without us asking. We didn’t quite understand why the lemon wasn’t on the side of the glass but in it, forcing you to put your fingers IN your tea. That was just a minor issue.

Our food arrived, and we were quite shocked at the size of the sides particularly. They were huge! Considering this, I think smaller sides with the choice of 2 would be a better option, for more variety. The prime rib was temped perfectly. The rub on the rib was way too salty, and in fact, all you could taste was salt. The steak itself had a good flavor and was tender. The coleslaw needed salt and sugar, and while my husband enjoyed it, I thought it looked like it could use some sort of color.  The mashed sweet potatoes, I think, were the best part of the whole meal.

The biggest disappointment of the evening was my chicken. The herbs were overpowering, and it was DRY. I felt the rub from the prime rib and the herbs from the chicken could have learned something from each other. My garlic mashed potatoes had been over whipped, and were glutinous and the potatoes had a glossy look to them. The flavor was okay.

All in all, it was a pleasant yet average experience. We CAN do better. 
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