The latest issue of River Cities Reader's Dining Guide recently hit the news stands, so we eagerly picked up a copy and made some notes of places we would like to visit. We were again reminded that we had yet to stop by the restaurant approximately . 3 miles from our front door, Grille 350 (350 E LeClaire Rd Eldridge). Earlier this year, Lancers Grille went through a renovation and morphed into Grille 350. The e on the end makes it fancy, k? Lancers was nothing to sing about, and I had heard mixed reviews of 350, but we decided to try it out anyway.
The menu is small, but intriguing. You can order from the adjacent Happy Joe's as well, which in hindsight, would have been a good idea. Nomelet pizza!
I am a sucker for mac n cheese, and the "Eldridge Mac N Cheese" had sweet corn, steak, bacon, and green beans?! I was hoping this could be a side dish because I really shouldn't eat macaroni, but no dice. I was also tempted by Smokehouse BBQ Candied Bacon options. Luckily Richie ordered it so I could steal a taste.
Entreese frome thee grille
Though our waitress was prompt and polite enough, the food was slow to come out. We waited 20-25 minutes but it felt like 60 because we had our toddler crawling on the dirty floor and trying to eat ice cubes. The bar was pretty packed with sad retired teachers and coaches, but only a few other booths were ordering food.
When our food arrived, I was disappointed by what I saw. It looked more like cheese soup than homemade macaroni. I had flashbacks of eating similar looking Hamburger Helper meals in the 90s. Like buried treasure, I had to search for the steak. I found about one big piece of what looked like a slice of Steakums guiltily hiding under the mess.
"Sorry, not sorry for pretending to be steak"
I have to admit, this photo was taken right before we left, after I had eaten about 3 bites of macaroni and picked out most of the green beans and bacon. I did not get a doggy bag.
Richie's burger came out branded like a cow.
The burger was tucked under aged cheddar, BBQ bacon jam, and candied bacon. His expert opinion on the burger? The jam was too sweet. It did not have the smoky or savory flavor that he expected. The candied bacon was caramelized and well prepared. The patty was mediocre and he felt that it was probably frozen and pre-made, as it did not have much flavor or juiciness. His onion rings were crisp and delicious but also probably frozen and dumped in a fryer. For the price tag, he felt the food should have been fresh and on par with Red Robin. And here is Red's burger and sweet potato fries. I eventually coerced her into eating most of the burger.
I ate most of the sweet potato fries. They were quite good, crispy on the outside and soft on the inside.
My overall impression of Grille 350 is that it is a bar that offers food to soak up the alcohol. I appreciate the thought put into the menu, but the food doesn't live up to its description. I mean, I'd eat it if someone else bought it, but I'm not opening my wallet to go there. The interior is nice and features one billion TVs all tuned to ESPN. Like Lancers, there just is no reason to make a return visit.