Grille 29

18 Oct 2011
A Bit Costly ($15-$25)
West Huntsville
4 out of 5

Grille 29 MenuMelanie’s Take

Some of our best friends were super generous and took us to Grille 29 for dinner to give it a try. Most of us had never dined there before, but we had been hearing great things about this upscale dining spot since it opened in Providence. When we arrived, the vibe was modern and clean. Even though we didn’t have reservations, we were immediately seated outside on the patio, which although fenced in, is part of a shared courtyard with neighboring shops. If we were looking for a quiet spot to dine, this wouldn’t have fit the bill because there was a guitarist performing on the courtyard, but luckily we were in the mood to enjoy it.Gorgonzola Fondue

I perused the menu and decided to order the Gorgonzola cheese fondue ($9) for us while we narrowed down our entree choices. The fondue was served with breadsticks for dipping and was tangy and smooth. My only complaint was that we needed more breadsticks to finish off the luscious cheese (that’s just how much cheese there was). When we were out of breadsticks, we shamelessly dipped the complimentary bread that had been placed in a basket on our table instead.

Stuffed Scallops

For my entree, I settled on the stuffed scallops ($24), which were described as jumbo scallops stuffed with lump crab, topped with a light herb shallot cream sauce and stacked on lobster mashed potatoes. When the dish arrived, its presentation lived up to its lengthy menu description.  A mix of steamed seasonal veggies was served with the dish, providing a nice clean flavor in the middle of a plate of richness. Although I don’t care for lobster (I know; how can it be?), I loved the lobster mashed potatoes. They had the essence of lobster flavor mixed in with the buttery, decadent flavor that you would expect from mashed potatoes. The scallops were well cooked and tender, and their flavor, although stuffed with crab meat, was still allowed to shine. I was impressed by the balance of flavors on the plate instead of being overwhelmed by just one element. Although not the most impressive culinary spot in Huntsville, Grille 29 should definitely be on your list of spots to visit when you’re in the mood for something special.

Shane’s Take

Blackened Mahi Mahi with Mushroom Sauce

For my meal, I chose one of the specials of the night, the Blackened Mahi Mahi with Mushroom Sauce. Although I hesitated at the thought of fish covered with mushroom sauce, I thought it was worth a try, and it turned out to be a good choice. The fish was blackened as it should be, being covered in spices and char. With a flavor like Quincy’s gravy, the mushroom sauce was an interesting and tasty compliment. I also enjoyed the side of white corn cheese grits. A side note about the sides at Grille 29: How cool is it that they offer something more than asparagus, mashed potatoes, and french fries? “White Corn Cheese Grits”, “Sweet Potato Hash”, “Lobster Mashed Potatoes”—these are some quality side dishes.

For dessert, the four of us decided to split the Crème Brulée Trio, which included a sampling of creme brulées: one chocolate, one vanilla, and one caramel. As expected, the custards were silky smooth and the toppings of caramelized sugar thin and crispy. I enjoyed them, but they disappointingly lacked any sort of kick or punch that might set them apart from other brûlées. Still, I would recommend them, especially at the low $7 price.

Crème Brulée Trio

In our circle of food-loving friends, Grille 29 gets a lot of praise, and it’s for good reason: It’s an excellent place to enjoy a great meal. They offer food that anyone can enjoy, the environment is upscale without turning away bluejeans wearers, and the service is great. No, it can’t top Watercress or other truly fine dining restaurants, but it’s close. If you’re looking for a good place to take a date (or, in our case, to enjoy a meal on a superfriend’s tab!), give it a shot.

Other things to consider:

  • The guy entertaining in the courtyard had a great voice and excellent guitar skills, even if he was wearing one of those ubiquitous military-inspired hipster hats.
  • A trip to the lavatory gave me an excuse to check out the inside. A few thoughts:
    • The restroom was awfully relaxing. All it was missing was a leather recliner.
    •  Call me a sucker, but I really liked the aquarium and the blue glow it cast on the dining room.
    • The logo projection in the dining room was amusing but too novel for its own good. (This, by the way, is a good example of the difference between an almost top-tier restaurant and a top-tier restaurant: A top-tier restaurant says “We can do it, and it will be cool, but we’re not going to.”)
  • Work quickly if you’re wanting to experience Grille 29 as a non-chain. The company that owns it apparently is wanting to make a chain out of it.
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2 Responses

  1. Lara

    I am in love with the lobster mashed potatoes! Think it will be my “birthday wish” this year!

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