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GrillMarX, Fair Hill Shopping Center in Olney - Steakhouse and Raw Bar on Town Center Drive


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We went to GrillMarX last night for dinner. Located in the new Fair Hill Shopping Center in Olney, they opened six days ago. If yesterday was any indication, they will do well. They were packed. The only problem we had was that they were so popular that they were not able to seat us until 8pm even though we had a 7:30 reservation. I think that they are still getting the hang of how to time their reservations. They were doing a thriving bar business and the raw bar was very busy.

Dinner started with a dozen Wellfleet oysters. Very fresh, briny, plump and well presented. They were served with lemon, hot sauce, freshly grated horseradish, and a grapefruit mignonette.

My son ordered the Kona ribeye, which is marinated in Kona coffee, brown sugar, spices and herbs. Very flavorful if not to my particular taste. He ordered it rare, and it came rare.

I ordered the regular boneless ribeye, asking for it to be on the rare side of medium rare. Again, it came exactly as ordered. We ordered baked potatoes to go with them but though seriously about the classic paring of creamed spinach. The steaks are 14 ounces and were quite good.

My wife ordered the crab cakes, asking for the mustard sauce to be on the side. When they arrived, the sauce was on top of the crabcakes. When she said that she had ordered the sauce on the side, they whisked them away and replaced them with new ones, sauce on the side, in 90 seconds. They came with a very good salsa of corn and red peppers.

The wine list is not large, but well selected for the menu and considering that this is Montgomery County, well priced. Unfortunately, as in most restaurants, the wines are fairly young. We ordered a 2006 Franciscan Oakville Estate Magnificat that at $65 was the oldest, and one of the most expensive bottles on the list. A fair price for the wine for MoCo restaurants. We later added a half bottle of 2007 Stonestreet Cab that was not nearly as good as the Magnificat. Glassware was adequate and they brought us new glasses with the second bottle.

Dessert was the Amaretto Mascarpone Cheesecake for my son and the Apple Crisp for me. The Apple crisp was huge, came with two scoops of vanilla ice cream and was quite tasty. I didn't taste the cheesecake, but he didn't seem to dislike it as it disappeared quickly.

Service was friendly, and efficient. Because my son ordered iced tea in addition to drinking the wine (actually, my wife had less than half a glass of the Magnificat and we drank the rest), the waiter brought him two glasses at a time due to how packed the place was.

All in all I think this is a great addition to Olney, which needs more restaurants of this category. I look forward to them ironing out the scheduling, but I can't say that it was their fault, folks seemed to want to linger. If I had any complaint it was that the place was quite loud, but that is to be expected when there are that many people there at the bar. We will definitely be back.

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I ordered the regular boneless ribeye, asking for it to be on the rare side of medium rare.

I'm interested in this place as it's not far from me. And (don't take this personally) when I was a cook and a waiter, nothing drove me crazier than orders like that. There are 5 temps, not 11. There's no north north east vs east north east in cooking.

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I'm interested in this place as it's not far from me. And (don't take this personally) when I was a cook and a waiter, nothing drove me crazier than orders like that. There are 5 temps, not 11. There's no north north east vs east north east in cooking.

I don't take it personally, but I used to work in a fancy steak house and there were 8 gradations of doneness fopr beef, from blue to medium well. We would not cook anything over medium well.

I don't think the steaks are better than RTS, but they have only been open a week, so I'll see how they do over time. Personally, I find it easier from where I live to go to Olney than SS.

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We've now been to GrillMarX twice in the last two months, and I'm happy to say that it's buzzing along. We haven't tried anything from the (somewhat limited) raw bar menu, but have enjoyed the steaks that we've had. I also have had the prime rib, and it was appropriately cooked and served with a very good horseradish cream and a very salty au jus. The pork tenderloin was also very good recently, served on a bed of grits. The sides that we've had have been great--over the weekend a corn/white bean succotash was fantastic, and the mac and cheese has also been great. The wine list isn't huge, but there are enough decent wines by the glass and bottle that we get by with no problem.

No real complaints, really, other than that this is a lively place and can be quite noisy, but there are enough tables tucked away from the bar action that we can come here later in the evening and have a nice and relaxing meal. As somebody said above, it's great that Olney has a place like this--it's not aspiring to be cutting-edge, or at a price level that wouldn't be sustainable for the community that it's in. It's solid and appears to focus on good service and quality.

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I went to GrillMarx last night with my parents for an early Father's Day Celebration. My parents still live in Olney so it was an easy choice location wise, but still not a place my parents visit regularly since they don't dine out much. I still can't believe a place with $30 steaks exists in Olney but we had a wonderful dinner. Also, the service was fantastic. Our waiter was helpful and kind and chased me out into the rain to give me the sweater I left on my chair.

Back to the food- My parents ordered the cream of crab soup and I stole a taste. It is different than the sherry heavy versions that are most common, lots of lump crab meat and a good amount of black pepper. It was delicious. I believe it is only served on Saturday nights.

My parents each got filets and I ordered a NY Strip. They were happy with the cook on their steaks and the sides we were served- we ordered the cheddar scallion grits, grilled asparagus and mac and cheese.) When my strip came out on the well side of medium well rather than the requested medium, they replaced it quickly and with apologies. The new steak was perfect. In the mean time I was happy eating my cheddar scallion grits (order this instead of the mac and cheese!) and enjoying our evening.

We did not try any of the composed plates or the raw bar and I don't remember the wine we ordered- I just ordered a glad of what my dad ordered- but it was a lovely night in Olney- where I still can't believe this restaurant exists.

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