Three out of five stars now……but things are a-changin at Whitlock’s!!
Elma and I decided to eat at Whitlock’s Grill, (which was formally Chicago’s Steaks) on Whitlock Avenue about 2 miles west of the square in the Kroger shopping center. Those of you who expect Whitlock’s to be Chicago’s are in for a disappointment.
I would imagine it’s difficult to buy and established place, that everyone knows, and then make it your own, but that is exactly what this owner from Peru is doing….but he’s doing it gradually.
The menu now, is what I would call “familiar”. It has the basics that one would expect on a menu: burgers, salads, and sandwiches. But all that is expected to change in the upcoming months.
In speaking with the pleasant waitress (who is also the certified pastry chef) the owner, Fernando Vargas, wanted those who expected a Chicago’s menu to at least come in and get what they expected….for a while.
The word is, he is expected to slowly change the menu from “expected” to “pleasantly surprised”. He plans to showcase a more unique style in both the entrees and the desserts.
Thus this review is based on the food that is being served now, November 2009. Elma and I plan to go back in several months to sample the new, hip and happenin menu and report to you on it.
For a synopsis of how we rate things please see our rating system.
Food quality: Elma ordered the fish and chips.($9.99) The fish was fresh and soft, but the fries were previously frozen and gritty. The hush puppies were crispy and good. Says Elma: “this is OK, but it doesn’t make my taste buds say “POW”.”
I ordered the grilled salmon ($9.99) which was a bit overcooked and not very tender, but fresh and flavorful, which made it as good as any…better ‘n some. the only side was some steamed broccoli. All the pieces were flowerets and no stems (thank you!) I have to admit…the plate looked a bit lonely and could have used a roll or something, no?
If you don’t eat meat, there are 3 things on the menu for you…even the salads all have meat (I guess I could pick it out, but I didn’t want to pay for it)
Value: I don’t mind paying $9.99 for lunch but I expect to get a bit more than we got for it. There were items on the lunch menu for $6.99, but it was nothing that sounded good to us.
Elma’s plate had a lot more food than mine, and she went home with a doggie bag. My plate was completely clean (I was hungry). All is all, it was an average value.
A bright spot in the experience was the desserts. Three of their desserts are made on site: the creme brulee, the carrot cake, and the key lime pie. The owner and head chef likes chocolate, so there were a lot of chocolate choices :pecan pie with chocolate chips, chocolate cheesecake, double chocolate cake, and a chocolate bundt cake.
Elma loves creme brulee, so she tried that. It was very large, and the top sugar crust was thick (Elma picked up the pieces of sugar ice and ate them seperately..with a smile) The custard was very nice–soft and smooth…very good.
I had to try the chocolate bundt. Even thought this was not made on site, it was very good. Super moist little round cake with a chocolate explosion in the center covered with ice cream and whipped cream (canned I believe). Very nice and it hit my sweet spot.
Atmosphere: There has been no new changes in the set up from Chicago’s to Whitlock’s. It was clean and neat–nice all in all. “How would you rate the atmosphere?” I asked Elma. “The atmosphere has to do with who you are with–not what’s on the walls.” Smart lady.
Wait staff: This one may be unfair, because we were the only people in the place when we went at 3:00. The waitress that served us was very attentive (it would have been really bad if she wasn’t, right?) and very nice. She seemed very excited about the changes that were to come in the menu…..we’ll see.
Senior Friendly: There are 2 handicapped parking places in the front, so if it were a busy day, I don’t think we would have gotten one. There is a ramp and several stairs to the front door. There are also stairs in the main part of the eating area in some places.
Bathroom: The bathroom was very nice, fully stocked and smelling like a fresh flower.
All in all not a bad experience. I am very interested to see the changes that take place–it all sounds very exciting……there is talk of “de-constructed desserts”…..very “avante gard”!
Check back with the blog after the first of the year and we will review the “new” Whitlock’s Grill!
Whitlock’s Grill’s web site is under construction at the time this blog entry was written. (Nov 2009)