Day of the week: Saturday, 2/23
Total bill: $25.11 (before tip)
Breakdown: 2 cups of soup, 2 side salads, 1 soda, 1 iced tea
Pros: Good service, nice ambiance.
Cons: Nothing spotted.
Verdict: Fine, not memorable.
When Grillsmith first opened…I’d guess about six years ago…we were excited something had finally filled in the old Hops location. They did a lovely job renovating the space and we went a few times. But we found that the food never QUITE lived up to the hype of the concept and then we got tired of it because the menu never changed. Grillsmith was never bad. It just never had that oomph to make us go back. I think the last time I was there was in the summer or fall of 2009. I know we were married but just.
I scheduled lunch with a friend on Saturday to discuss her upcoming wedding (yay weddings!). I wanted to hear how things were going and see if I could offer any old-married-woman wisdom. We discussed a few options and agreed on Grillsmith since it’s very local for us.
We got there about 1:30 and were seated promptly. Our server (Justin) was really great. Attentive without being intrusive. I think he could tell we were ladies with a mission! We each had a Napa valley side salad ($4.99) with the raspberry balsamic vinaigrette (which they bring on the side, points for that). The salad was really fresh and crisp, and I liked the dressing a lot, too. We each also had a cup of their soup of the day, poblano black bean ($3.99). The soup was creamier than I expected and would’ve been really good except that it had been oversalted pretty badly.
I realize lunch isn’t a huge money-maker for restaurants. People don’t usually drink at lunch and they want smaller, lighter (and cheaper) items. I think a lot of restaurants are open for lunch because they’ve already got the space and the staff, so why not use them? But if lunch is really good, you might go back for a pricier dinner. Unfortunately, this lunch did not entice me and I probably won’t go back for a few more years. The issue, of course, is that Carrollwood/Northdale doesn’t have a lot of great lunch options (although we will once Flight opens for lunch!), so I’m not sure you could do a lot better anywhere else.