This is a new thing for me, a restaurant review, but I like to eat out and I like good service, so I thought I would occasionally do a review here. I won’t be reviewing chain restaurants for the most part and none of the restaurants have compensated me in any way. I go to a restaurant, I eat there and I pay (or a friend does I suppose).
Fireside Bar & Grill, 19930 W Catawba Ave, Ste 130, Cornelius, NC, 28031
The restaurant was clean and inviting with a large patio area (we did not sit at the patio because it was raining). The interior was warm and inviting with a number of flat screen televisions scattered throughout. The bar is just inside the front door (and another one was located on the patio), so you know right away that the bar is a critical part of the establishment.
My wife and I each ordered a glass of wine ($7.50 and $9), the Baked Stuffed Artichoke for an appetizer and split the Large House Salad and the Gorgonzola Chicken. All items on the menu were ala carte and most entrees exceeded $15 per plate. Moments before the appetizer arrived we were given some bread. It was a couple of pieces of crusty bread that had been warmed with some minced garlic and spice on it. The bread was tasty, but I wish they had offered more than the two pieces. The Baked Stuffed Artichoke ($11) was very disappointing. It was effectively an artichoke, cut in half, with bread stuffing piled on top. The stuffing itself was unremarkable and undercooked, but so was the artichoke. The butter that was served with it had a sort of citrus taste to it, which was interesting, but it was not enough to make up for the undercooked food. The Large House Salad ($7)was good and was indeed large, but it was nothing special. There was a lot of iceberg lettuce and some of the usual accompaniments, but it was nothing I couldn’t get at any other restaurant. The Chicken Gorgonzola ($18) was actually pretty good. The chicken was well cooked, the sun dried tomatoes and artichoke hearts were tender a delectable. I would even go so far as to say that I would order it again. With all of that being said, I do wish that there had been more Gorgonzola in my Gorgonzola Chicken. The sauce was creamy and rich, but it tasted more like cream cheese than Gorgonzola. My wife made the comment that it tasted like something you could have gotten from one of the Kraft Philadelphia Cooking Creme packages. It is not that there is a problem with the Cooking Creme, but when I pay $18 for a plate I hope that it tastes like it was made from scratch.
The staff was clean and well kept. They were friendly and attentive to our needs. The one problem I had (which was a source of amusement to both my wife and I) was that the bus boys kept hovering around us, asking if we were through with our plates. I am all for getting empty plates out of the way, but our dinner came so quickly on the heels of our appetizer that we did not have a chance to finish it before our entree arrived (we never did finish it, but that was because it was not good). The slight irritation of being constantly asked if we were done would have been no big deal, but we started to watch and the busboys stalked through the restaurant looking down at diners’ tables like hungry scavengers hunting for choice carrion. We laughed and wondered if they were paying the busboys with table scraps.
I do not honestly know if there is regularly a live act at the restaurant, or if the live act is normally outside on the patio, but when we were there they had a duo performing live music in the restaurant opposite the bar. They played some seventies standards while we were there, and they were not bad, but the music was drowning out the singer at points. I’m assuming they normally played outdoors and failed to adjust the volume, so I can forgive that.
My wife and walked out at the end of our meal laughing, but that was because the experience was laughable, not because we had a great time. we felt like the biggest problem the restaurant had (outside of the poorly cooked food) was that they were trying to be too much for too many people. Their menu was full and all over the place. They would probably be better off focusing on a couple of choice entrees and maybe some chef specials rather than doing a little of everything. We won’t be going back, and that is a shame.
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