This night I went with the recommendation of the Courtyard front desk clerk - "you want close and delicious? Try the Greystone Grill." The Greystone Grill, where they "char-grill their meats at 1800 degrees to seal in juices and flavor." Yes, it's a chain, but it was the best I could do, last minute and on my own.
I had been driving for hours across the Pennsylvania turnpike, before arriving in Maryland for an appointment with one of my top customers. Lots of driving, nerves over meeting the big whigs. The only sustenance I had had all day was a fried potato flap and a cup o'joe from McD's - and that was 11 hours earlier.... I was ready for a good meal.
The restaurant was less than five minutes from my hotel and situated at the edge of an upscale mall. I arrived right around 6 p.m., which appeared to be early for their dinner crowd.
Started with a glass of 14 Hands Merlot, dinner rolls and a Wedge Salad. This classic, simple salad included bleu cheese dressing, pieces of bacon and diced tomatoes dripping down an icy, crunchy wedge of iceberg lettuce. Perfect fare after a long day on the road.
At this point the kitchen and wait-staff are a little too noisy for my taste. One waitress's voice in particular zoomed across the dining room in a high-pitched buzz - annoying as a mosquito when you're trying to sleep on a warm summer night. Especially annoying since the restaurant is relatively empty this time of day, and there's really no need for loud voices. Perhaps all that's really needed is another glass of wine and my entree.
The bread, wine and salad start to work their magic and the kinks slowly fade out of my neck and shoulders. Looking around, I determine the Greystone Grill hasn't quite decided what they want to be yet. the ambience lacks a cohesive style. Stone-covered walls evoke a lodge-type feel, but the modern lighting and sharply angled soffits and centrally located chandelier and indistinct "modern" art tells me they want to be more than Coldwater Creek with food.
My entree arrives. Pan-seared chicken with crab and sherry cream and the "chef's veggie", asparagus. The crab-filled sherry sauce is salty but the chicken is cooked perfectly. The two breasts, apparently seared and char-grilled at 1800 degrees, were slightly crunchy on the outside, moist and hot on the inside. Chunks of garlic and pepper spiced up the crab sauce. It all smelled and looked delicious, and there was no disappointment in the eating.
Until the "chef's vegetable", asparagus....He might not want to tell a lot of people it's his veggie. I haven't seen asparagus so overcooked since my mom opened a can of asparagus soup and proceeded to "warm it up" for the next half hour.
The plates are fun and modern (again where am I?), but design flaw alert: when I put my knife down, I was horrified to watch it slide quickly into the salty sherry stew, the handle completely lost to sauce.
Entire bill for tonight's dinner, with tip, came to just under $50.00. It was a pretty good dinner, but I wouldn't say it's $50.00 good. That's a lot of money for one dinner, one person. I would definitely recommend the Greystone Grill, but the next time I'm there, I'm asking about their specials!