Monday, May 3, 2010

Joe's, Tomatoes, or Saltgrass

For some reason Matt and Rita didn't want grilled brats Saturday night. So I began driving. "Where are you taking us?" Matt asks. Repeatedly. I respond: not Vietnamese (we'll drive by one Pho), not Chinese (we'll drive by four of them), not Japanese (past one), not Mexican (by one that used to be right there)...

When we get to another "there," you'll have a choice of one of three (not four). "Saltgrass," Rita guesses. Correct. Or Joe's Crab Shack. Or Sweet Tomatoes. (But not Pappadeaux -- costs more than I want to spend this time.) Rita is OK with any of the three. Matt claims to have never been to Saltgrass. SG it is.

Fortunately, there's a handicap space only a few steps from the door; placard is hung. Enter, party-of-three, booth. Terrific!

Beverage? Matt chooses Shiner Bock. Rita and I parley... Beringer White Zin. (I usually prefer Merlot, but Rita likes fruity.)

In retrospect, this is Matt's 23rd birthday dinner with M & D, as I'm out-of-town (actually out-of-country) on the 14th.

We pass on an appetizer - my experience is that I'm "full" before the entree if we get the stuffed mushrooms or fried onions or ....

The nice thing about Beringer's White Zin is that it is not too fruity.

Matt orders what I pondered... prime rib. But, I know it's too much for me to eat.

Rita and I each order the steak-and-shrimp special. She gets it with coconut shrimp, medium steak, sweet potato and salad. I go for grilled shrimp, medium rare steak, baked, loaded potato, and baked-potato soup. (That's a lot of potato; I would have liked the salad and veggies, but need to avoid vitamin K.)

The restaurant is full tonight, but there doesn't seem to be too long a wait for the folks coming in after us. Service is efficient (used dishes are removed promptly), but the arrival of drinks and each of the two courses is leisurely. The server who brings the main course forgets to provide requested steak sauces, but the assigned server brings the Heinz 57 (my preference) and A-1 (Rita's) as soon as we request them of her.

I've eaten at Saltgrass in Houston a few times, but none of those times was it as busy as this Westminster, CO, location this time and our previous visits. Why? We talk about it and realize that suburban Denver doesn't have that many medium-price steak places. There's Outback, with several locations, Lone Star, Texas Roadhouse, and the Keg (pricy Canadian) near Mills. Otherwise, there are the neighborhood chains with a only few steaks on the menu: Applebees, Mimi's, and the sports bars.

My grilled shrimp was served kabob style, without the skewer. I found myself attqcking the shrimp and veggies first. Rita enjoyed her coconut shrimp, too. Matt cleaned his plate (what's an ex-football player to do?) I could eat only half the six-ounce steak and didn't even touch the loaded potato. Rita, too, wanted a take-home box, too.

No room for dessert, either.

Visit Saltgrass again? Yes. I like the quality of the food and the service better than Outback or even the pricier Keg.

But, it would be nice if some local restauranteer started up a good northwest suburban place with Colorado beef, maybe supplemented by bison and elk -- sort of a Ted's without Ted or Ted's prices.

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