Guess where I ate today! The Grapevine

So, I can honestly say I was not overly enthusiastic about trying this place. I don’t know, it reminded me as kind of a bland, “eh” restaurant, but for some reason my parents were very excited to try it, I guess based on commercials (that I’ve never seen) and a personal recommendation. I understand they recently renovated a dining room and added an enclosed, heated patio. Nonetheless, still wasn’t too anxious to try it. (I wrote this opening before eating, and after reading the rest of my review you will see how appropriate my use of “bland, eh restaurant” really was)

They were pretty busy on a Saturday night around 6pm, we only waited maybe 15 minutes for a table. The hostess directed us to wait in the lounge which consisted of a short bar that was packed, and a bench in front of one of the several salt water aquariums. I mention the lounge situation for the fact that it turned out to be a little awkward. We were sitting on the bench, which is fine, but since my back is to the fish tank, I had several other patrons staring past me, in order to see the fish. I know it’s a petty thing and maybe its just my slightly anti-social tendencies, I just thought it was weird.

We were seated on the new patio, which I was happy about. It was very comfortable temperature wise, even the floors were heated. I suppose the decor would feel more appropriate in the summer, but sitting in patio chairs felt a little odd in early February.

The menu is huge, several pages of pasta, chicken, beef, and seafood entrees. And in case you don’t find anything you like, there’s also a list of small plates, some of which sounded pretty good. I started with a bowl of Red Pepper Bisque, which was very tasty, not too spicy, and ended up being the best part of my meal. My parents split an order of Potato Skins, which appeared to be homemade but a little over cooked.

I had been craving Italian, and even though this is not an Italian restaurant, I decided to order the Manicotti. I have to say, pretty disappointed with the sauce, I’m even reluctant to call it sauce as it was very bland and reminded me of pure tomato paste. The pasta itself was a little overcooked but that didn’t bother me too much and is something I could have overlooked…if it weren’t for the bland sauce. My mom ordered the Chicken Parmigiana with angel hair pasta, I tried a piece of the chicken, I enjoyed it, good breading, and well cooked. Dad ordered Chicken Fingers, with a side of BBQ sauce. I’m not quite sure if there was a miscommunication regarding the sauce, but our waitress said that couldn’t happen, so she simply brought a bottle of Franks, with the fingers plain. He said the fingers were a little undercooked, not to the point they were raw, but the breading wasn’t crispy.

Overall, I was not impressed. Although the soup was great and left me wanting more, my entree was lacking significant flavor. Other than the longer-than-usual time it took for our waitress to originally get to us, service was good, and the timing of courses was exceptional, which really impressed me. Prices were decent, our bill came to around $65 for all the food pictured here, including a glass of Sangria. I suppose if you find yourself in the area (which I’m not quite sure why you would, unless you live around here) give it a shot, just don’t go in with high expectations, except about the aquariums, but we all know the old saying, cool aquariums do not a decent restaurant make.

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