Friday, November 13, 2015

Tasting at Walnut Grill in Robinson

Near the end of October, Walnut Grill opened a new location in Robinson. It's at Settler's Ridge in the space where Stonepepper's Grill was. I was invited to attend a tasting prepared by Corporate Chef Randy. In the past year or so, I've heard a lot about Walnut Grill because our friend PM works there as does her son. Before transferring to the new Robinson location, they worked at both the Mt. Lebanon and Bridgeville locations. I didn't tell PM we were going to this tasting but last night when we walked in, she was there to greet us, and it was as usual lovely to see her.

SP & I ordered fresh brewed iced tea (good iced tea) and checked out the chalkboard of beer:
I don't like beer, I know nothing about beer, but SP & a couple others commented on the beer selection which is, apparently, quite nice. Soon enough the first appetizer arrived:
Ahi Tuna (sesame crusted, Asian slaw, pickled ginger, wasabi drizzle, ponzu). Here's a closer look at the tuna:
Longtime blog readers know I do not much like fish so SP got to eat a lot of ahi tuna! He said it was very good. I did try the Asian slaw and liked it quite a bit.
The second appetizer was Lobster Mac and Cheese (alfredo, lobster, baked parmesan bread crumb crust) with a garlic crostini. Of course I didn't eat the crostini but the mac and cheese was delicious. I loved the crunch from the parmesan bread crust and there were several nicely sized chunks of lobster. Most impressive to us was that the lobster was not over cooked and tough as often seems to be the case with lobster mac and cheese. This is one of two lobster mac and cheese dishes I've tried that I would order again, and I've tried a lot of them!
Then the entree samples started to arrive. First, Walnut Grill's Crab Cakes (Walnut Grill signature jumbo lump crab cake, dijonnaise, Old Bay seasoning). This is a really good crab cake. Really good. probably my favorite dish of everything I tried. Chunks of jumbo lump crab, little/no filler, very light, not dense like some crab cakes, so light and loose that both SP & I were amazed that they were able to brown the crab cake and not have it fall apart (which happens to us when we make crab cakes).
Next was House Cut Filet Mignon (gorgonzola-bacon butter, red wine demi glaze). Oh my gosh. OK, this might have been better than the crab cake. It really did cut like butter. That demi glaze? Amazing. The filet was nice and pink inside. This is one of those dishes that makes us want to eat more beef.
Lightly Crusted Atlantic Cod (crispy shredded potato, horseradish-herb crust, Old Bay remoulade, lump crab relish). In spite of not much liking fish, I enjoyed this cod quite a bit. To me, this is a much more mild fish than tilapia (everyone who tries to get me to eat more fish suggests tilapia but I've never much liked it). The shredded potato atop the cod added a nice crunchy crispness alongside the smooth cod and the crab relish was vinegary and really good. This is a fish dish I'd order.
The next dish to arrive: Parmesan Crusted Chicken & Gnocchi (potato gnocchi, tomato basil cream sauce, basil tomatoes). A version of chicken parmesan. The chicken was nicely browned and the tomato cream sauce was delicious but the gnocchi stole the show in this dish. They were so light and fluffy, melting in my mouth. I think they were potato and ricotta gnocchi. I was secretly happy about SP's misfortune (not being able to eat a lot of carbs) because I got to eat his gnocchi, too.
A pasta dish: Pumpkin Ravioli & Chicken (grilled chicken, sauteed spinach, asparagus tips, lemon-garlic butter sauce, cranberry-gorgonzola relish). I asked for mine without garlic and was really glad because while my stomach can tolerate very small, long simmered amounts of garlic, this dish had a noticeable amount of garlic according to those seated near me. The ravioli were small so you pop an entire one in your mouth. The pasta was really good and the filling was different from anything I've ever tried. Inside was crushed amaretti cookie! It made for a sweet ravioli and while I really enjoyed the dish, I'm not sure I could eat a large plate of it.
The final entree: Rack of Lamb (Cajun spiced, blue cheese cream sauce). Mmm lamb. I was surprised that they were not as pink in the middle as I'd expected but it turned out these were cooked perfectly, juicy, flavorful, Cajun spice cooled by the blue cheese.
Dessert: Winter Berry Cobbler (baked raspberry, blackberry, strawberry, cinnamon streusel crust, brown sugar & cinnamon ice cream). Yum! I enjoyed the ice cream a lot not just because it was really good ice cream but because it was a different flavor combination plus it wasn't vanilla on top of the berry cobbler. It melted into the berries and the streusel and was a terrific ending.

In spite of PM working at Walnut Grill, and in spite of us having a gift card for Walnut Grill, we had not yet tried Walnut Grill. We were excited for another restaurant to come to Settlers Ridge since we live so close and hope it does well. Based on the food we tried, we're anxious to go back and we would suggest it to others. Everything was quite good.

Many thanks to Walnut Grill, Chef Randy, and Kristen for inviting us.

*Disclosure: I was invited to Walnut Grill for a chef's tasting event. I was not compensated for or even asked to provide any form of social media or positive blog review regarding the tasting event/Walnut Grill. All opinions in this post are mine.

  Walnut Grill Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

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