So a couple of posts ago I mentioned that two Meridian restaurants made the Statesman's list of the best new restaurants of 2015. Last week, I visited the other one.
Grant's Neighborhood Grill has been open since June, but their website is still just a placeholder so I'll include a link to their Facebook page. They moved to the top of my to-do list when a friend who tried them out started sending me pictures of her dinner and raving about how amazing it was. Yes, I can be fickle sometimes.
Miss Golden Rule and I showed up on a Sunday evening when, despite their loyal fanbase, the restaurant was mostly deserted. They already earned points with me by being open on Sundays. The previous tenant of Grant's strip mall spot was a short-lived Vietnamese eatery that I visited once, felt a little out of sorts after, and never returned to. Not that I recognized anything once I stepped inside. The entire space has been gutted and redone. The first thing I noticed were the antlers.
I'm not sure exactly what the connection is, but Grant really seems to like his antlers.
Anyway, tiny little strip mall eatery though it may be (albeit with a damned impressive patio), it's not particularly cheap. We decided to forgo ordering an appetizer, even though every single thing on the starters menu sounds amazing, and go straight to the main course. My dining companion surprised me by ordering the Veggie sandwich, for some reason I couldn't comprehend. I flipped a mental coin at the last possible second and ordered the Shrimp Scampi. We both tacked on a salad for a few extra bucks, Caesar for her and House for me.
MGR wasn't particularly taken with the Caesar (romaine, creamy jalapeno Caesar dressing, Parmesan, and house croutons), which she described as having a very fishy flavor. Not the best thing for someone who doesn't really care for seafood.
My House salad (mixed greens, pickled red onions, smoked grape tomatoes, mixed cheeses, and Dijon vinaigrette) was much more to her tastes. It was very yummy, and since I felt kind of bad for her I offered to swap after I'd taken all the tomatoes (she doesn't like those either). Honestly, I was almost as happy with hers as I had been with mine. See, I DO like seafood, and I'm often unimpressed with Caesar salads because what the hell is the point of putting anchovies in something if you're not going to be able to taste them anyway? The only thing I didn't really care for was the croutons, which just didn't have enough crunch for my taste.
Since it just wasn't my friend's night, her Veggie sandwich (grilled zucchini, yellow squash, fried eggplant, greens, and roasted red pepper chèvre spread) also failed to impress. She didn't mention anything specifically bad about it, it just didn't really grab her. Me, I didn't try it because it hadn't sounded good to me in the first place. The fries were pretty decent, though...
It was my night, apparently. The Shrimp Scampi (shrimp...duh, green onion, more of those awesome smoked grape tomatoes, and fresh garlic, all sauteed in a light lemon butter sauce and tossed with linguine) was probably the best I've been served by any restaurant. I was a little worried about the portion size when it was put down in front of me, but the large and oddly shaped bowl was deceiving. No matter how much pasta I pulled out, there always seemed to be a lot left.
The cheese was freshly shredded and plentiful, the shrimp were huge, and that "light" sauce packed plenty of lemony punch which combined with the garlic to make for a very flavorful dish. I decided that a glass of wine would go very nicely with this, even though I'm not a big fan of white wines and they were the only ones that were really appropriate with this.
Even though I was given a recommendation by the bartender, I was powerfully interested in the very vague description given to the Zonin Prosecco from Italy on Grant's menu. Here's what it says: Very well-balanced and appealing, with the extremely delicate almond note that is typical of Prosecco. It stuck out like a sore thumb on a list where every other wine is described as having notes of orange marmalade, apricot, or even fresh grass. The description couldn't have been any more accurate, save for one thing, which is that it's a sparkling wine. It was the first white wine I've actually enjoyed. The young woman across the table liked it as well, but because her night was cursed it turns out I had gotten the last glass. Happy ending though, after dinner we went to Fred Meyer and bought a bottle of it (the last bottle in the store incidentally, which she found after about fifteen minutes of searching) to work on while we watched American Horror Story.
So, it always boils down to this. Would I return? Did I mention they have a charcuterie board that includes everything from house-cured jerky to duck prosciutto?
Food: Pretty freaking impressive for the most part.
Value: A little pricier than some of their competition, but I'd hazard a guess that the ingredients are better.
Service: Friendly and attentive.
Atmosphere; Cozy and antler-y.
Final Grade: A-