Friday, January 8, 2010

Grill Works - Suck My Balls

Grill Works Restaurant & Bar
350 McHenry Rd
Buffalo Grove, IL 60089
(847) 821-9000

Dear Reader have you ever been to a restaurant where the food is so bad, you just want to call the Health Department to close it down? If you have never done so, but you really want to take it out on some restaurant, do me a favor and call (847) 377-8000 and complain about Grill Works.

Grill Works is a restaurant that shares a complex with a bowling center, “lazer” tag arena, and a batting cage (coming in Spring 2010 exclamation point); hence, I was not expecting Tru. I was not expecting fries cooked in duck fat. I was not expecting scallops cooked in truffle oil. But really, a competent vegetarian sandwich … is that too hard to ask?

As we walked in, I did my trademark gay gasp. The restaurant was fucking huge. I counted 26 tables, each of which sat at a minimum six people. Adjacent to the dining room was a bar which sat at least 30 more people. Now we did come in early, it was only 5:00, but the place was completely empty. As we stood around to be seated, it actually took 5 mins for a waiter to seat us.

I was already developing pangs of trepidation because the waiter/greeter was also the bartender. I have often experienced that when a single individual is the jack-of-all-trades in off hours it often results in a terrible restaurant experience for one or more reasons: 1. The quality of the restaurant is such that it does not necessitate a visit on off hours to avoid a wait, 2. Being so hassled with taking orders, phone calls, and making drinks, the ombudsman will be unable to adequately refill my water and provide me with extra napkins, 3. The waiter is actually a retard; hence, he works such a shift, 4. It will actually take the kitchen an hour to give me an order of french fries because nobody, but a single line cook is working in the kitchen; 5. The waiter will provide minimal service because he will not get a cut in the tips when there is a transition between shifts. Dear Reader, in this case, facts 1-5 actually applied.

As we meandered to a booth, I ejaculated “What in gay hell.” Instead of a rose, or candle, or menu with bar drinks, there sat a bowling pin with crayons. I felt like I was going to dine with Pinhead of the Hellraiser series. As I scanned the empty restaurant I was beginning to develop epilepsy. What third-world community college graduate designed this god-forsaken place? Each table was covered in red linen, that was in turn covered with butcher paper; hence, making each table resemble a Knight Templar.

But the schizophrenia did not end with the tables. The menu was equally inexplicable. The first two leafs were standard fare: pizza, sandwiches, and burgers. Pages three and four was a cross between a barbeque pit, Chinese buffet, and a steakhouse. To wit, I quote: “GRILLWORKS SIGNATURE RIBS. House Specialty – Mouth Water Baby Back Ribs that melt in your mouth. Slow roasted and grilled to perfection.” As I type this description, I develop minor strokes. One – what signature? Who the Hell knows about Grillworks, let alone connects the place with ribs? When I hear of Grillworks I personally think of batting cages coming in Spring 2010. Moreover, I took a peek into the kitchen – they don’t have a fucking GRILL. So don’t call the restaurant GRILLworks, and don’t say the ribs have been grilled to perfection! They may have been parcooked off premises, but be honest and say slathered in tangy sauce or something.

Jennifer and Clinton both ordered hamburgers, I ordered a vegetarian Panini, and Candice ordered a chicken sandwich with spinach artichoke spread (she asked to substitute fries for chips). Fearing that we would not hit a $40 minimum (I bought a coupon) we also ordered an appetizer sampler. Well it took 30 mins for the appetizer sampler to come out. Now I was mildly vexed about this because the plate was a menagerie of fried foods: cheese sticks, onion rings, buffalo wings, (2) chicken strips, and potato skins. We were the only table, and there was more than one fryer in the kitchen, so how it could take half-an-hour for the trans-fat goodness was mind boggling.

But I am not adverse in waiting for good food. Dear Reader, this was not worth the temporal investment. The appetizer sampler was various hues of yellow on a plate. An aside, I was also really pissed off that I had to ask the waiter/bartender/host/bond-trader for plates when he carried the appetizer sampler in one hand! The chicken strips were emblematic of the lack of thought behind everything. The sampler was meant to be shared between four individuals: 4 skins, 4 cheese-sticks etc. I don’t understand why there were two chicken fingers. Sure the marginal cost for fingers is higher than wings, but the appetizer sampler was $13.99. In fact, I would imagine the main variable cost for the entire plate was yellow food coloring.

Five napkins after, our entrees came out. The first thing that really made me gag was the smell of the hamburgers. It was this weird beefy smell. Now Jennifer and Candice later commented that they thought it smelled good, and that a hamburger should smell that way. I respectfully dissent, while I tend to trend towards vegetarian options (unless it is for purposes of this blog), I know my hamburgers, and I thought they smelled like the violation of various Biblical laws. But the most offensive thing was Candice’s chicken sandwich with artichoke and parmesan spread. Now I am partial to white sauce, but this was pale on top of pale. I was so appalled that I actually inquired to what she ordered (I thought it was tuna-salad). Well we ate and Clinton and Jennifer actually stated that their hamburgers were “good”. I think they were trying to make me feel better. My sandwich was alright, quite salty, but it was a mess. In between the baguette were fresh mozzarella, “grilled” peppers, onions, and eggplant. One problem with my entrĂ©e was that the cook did not properly extract the water from the eggplant (which needs to be salted for 30 mins before cooking), but that was minor compared to the overcooked peppers. I am not sure how, but the peppers were cooked in such a manner where they lost all texture and color; thus, resembling the fingers of a decaying corpse. To top things off, Candice had to flag the waiter down and tell him that she ordered fries in substitute of the chips. Now to his credit, he got them out rather quickly (I presume the fryer works quicker for fries then cheese sticks), but how the hell can you mess up the only order in the restaurant?

The cherry, the capstone, the pinnacle of this gourmet extravaganza was the check. I was charged $7.99 for each burger, but as we walked out we noticed a window that held burger and fries $1.99. Clinton was the victim of such pernicious arbitrage as well. His 12 oz Sam Adams cost him $5.99 (!). The bowling alley was charging $3.50 for a domestic pitcher. Noting that Sam Adams is not really a “domestic,” Clinton noted he would have bought one! Oh, how hindsight brings so many possibilities.

In a scale of 1-4 with 4 being the best.
Quality: 0. I used a coupon, and I still had to get cash-back at Target.
Service: 1. One table, one fucking table and I have to flag you down as if I was in a
Chinese restaurant!
Atmosphere: 2. Chuck E. Cheese for adults.
Hotness of Clientale: 0. One guy came in, Candice thought he was a thug. Another guy came in, I initially thought he was the source of the hamburger stench.

1 comment:

  1. Ha. I surely wasn't expecting for the drinks and food on the bowling side to be so much cheaper than the restaurant. I am interested to go bowling there one of these days though.