Wednesday, June 16, 2010

Tuesday, 6/1/10 - Gruene River Grill

Date: 6/1/10
Restaurant: Gruene River Grill
Location: 1259 Gruene Road in Gruene (aka New Braunfels) along the river
Executive Chef: Unknown

Yes, I've been shamefully absent from the interwebs. Two out of the past four Tuesdays we chose to skip, but I do have good eats and great photos on the other two culinary adventures. So let's jump right in!

Summer in Texas has exactly one redeeming quality: going down to the river. In this case, the river is the Guadalupe, the place is the historic town of Gruene, and the restaurant is the Gruene River Grill. If you can maintain any appetite after driving past one awful-pun-themed location after another, INCLUDING but not limited to The Village Gruene, Gruene With Envy, Tavern in the Gruene, and the Gruene Apple B&'ll arrive at our restaurant for the evening.

Everything about Gruene is, well, green and lush.

Why thank you, random welcoming man!

Views from outside and inside, respectively. What a neat building. We chose to sit outside and enjoy the view of the river.

There's quite a bit to enjoy. Hello, summer!

Service was prompt and the menu intriguing and fairly-priced. Our dishes arrived with a haste that contrasted the lazy river ambiance. No complaints here, we were hungry!

Taking a cue from the online research I'd compiled on this restaurant, I ordered us a round of Bellinis. A little heavy on the raspberry, but cold, refreshing and perfectly blended. The best part...during happy hour, these puppies (and by puppies I mean Great Danes, not Chihuahuas) were only $3! Unbelievable bargain to someone accustomed to being robbed for $12+ on the Riverwalk.

Our first round, shrimp wontons. Inside is a gooey explosion of cheese, bacon and serrano peppers. We liked the concept better than the execution, unfortunately. They were tasty but not something we'd want again.

I don't know that I've ever met a chowder I didn't like. This was no exception, creamy and thick with giant chunks of crawfish. Terrific stuff, even if on Top Chef they'd turn their noses up at serving chowder in the heat of a Texas summer afternoon. (Not pictured: Tavis's quite good Caesar salad, because even though it was quite good, it's, well, a Caesar salad. Not the most exciting photo. Moving on.)

My entree, Chicken Guadalupe. Chicken topped with avocado, salsa, bacon, and cheese. The chicken was just a bit dry, but pretty much anything smothered with all those toppings is going to be tasty. Still, I wouldn't order it again.

Tavis's absolutely amazing, literally-falling-off-the-bone tender Hawaiian ribs. Huge flavor, incredibly tender and juicy. The sides did not do it justice, both the new potatoes and the coleslaw were boring and forgettable. However, these ribs were massive win.

Speaking of forgettable, don't bother with the cheesecake. Not made in house, nothing special, darn my insatiable sweet tooth for requiring tribute when I KNOW it isn't going to live up to my expectations!

Returnability: to the river, absolutely. For the happy hour Bellinis, you better believe it. But I think there are other restaurants in Gruene we'll try for comparison before we come back to this particular one. While we had a wonderful time with zero wait, good service and an unbeatable view, the food was hit-or-miss enough that I won't feel guilty reviewing my options. Still, a perfect entrance into summer.


Kristin said...

We love this place! My favorite is the gorgonzola burger :) mmmm