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Keithstg

The Grill, Major Food Group's Chophouse in the Seagram Building

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Late to writing this up, but was in New York a few weeks ago, and took the opportunity to hit THE GRILL with a few friends. Some background - the Major Food Group team (ZZ's, Carbone, Parm, etc) have basically taken over the Seagram building's restaurants - THE GRILL and THE POOL replaced the Four Seasons, and The Lobster Club replaced Brasserie. Much has been made of THE GRILL so far, particularly the cost of the renovation and the prices on the menu. If the crowd on our visit is any indication of their usual crowd I'd say things are going just fine.

The redesign of the space is beautiful and the bar is an incredible showpiece, if not the most practical place to hang out for a drink at - seems as though it would function best as a stop prior to the table. I am a fan of MFG's retro style - the tableside preparations are very nice, and aside from the Jockey Club many moons ago I can't think of a place in DC (or in NY) who offers as many. 

Our group started with Pasta a la Presse, Scallop w/ snails and steak tartare. I only had a bite of the scallops with snails, but honestly it reminded me of Frank Ruta's gnocchi with snail fricassee that was on the menu at Mirabelle this winter, albeit with scallops instead of gnocchi. Very enjoyable. The tartare was very good, chopped to order and served with an incredible array of accompaniments. I had the pasta a la presse, which is a dish of house-made fettuccine in a sauce made of various game put through a duck press and incorporated into a sauce. The game is put through the press tableside and returned as a composed dish. I thought the dish was excellent, but will likely try the blue crab gumbo next time out to try and keep the meal a bit lighter.

Our mains were the larded squab, pheasant claiborne and prime rib. I didn't get a chance to have the squab, but it looked excellent. I had the pheasant Claiborne, which was served in a cast iron skillet closed with a ribbon of puff pastry around the rim. The Madeira and truffles in the braising liquid made for an incredible aroma when the lid was removed! All in all a wonderful dish. Apart from the pheasant, the braised endive that came with it was sensational. Our third companion had the prime rib, which was carved at the table - he had a choice of the end he preferred and wisely elected to maximize the amount of rib cap included. Once carved, the captain came back with a deviled bone as well. We asked about the off-menu steaks on offer - the top end was some rib-eye for just over $300(!) - we didn't inquire about what it included or didn't. Aside from that ridiculous steak, all of the other prices were in line with similar establishments in DC or NY.

The wine list, was broad, as you'd expect, and highly marked up, as you'd also expect. There are some excellent picks there for the astute wino, however. We were fully prepared to pay a multiple of what we ended up spending, which was around $65/ bottle for a '09 Raffault Chinon or two.

All in all a great experience. We'll be back.

Also, we didn't eat at the Lobster Club but headed down there for a drink after dinner. My goodness that place is an absolute scene!

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My wife and I had dinner at The Grill Saturday night.  I knew going in the reputation - solid food but with prices that were hard to justify.  I'd never been to the Four Seasons before it changed, nor had we been to The Grill before.  Pleasant arrival and walk upstairs into the room that seems familiar from seeing so many cultural references over the years.  Sure, it is the first weekend of August, but at 7:30 the restaurant was half full, and the bar nearly empty.

I started with the Goose Terrine ($25 I believe), which was pleasant with olive and fig and a thin layer of foie mousse in the center.  Wife had a special for the evening - Gazpacho, which may have been our favorite dish of the night.  I intended to order the guinea hen, but ended up getting (my fault) the Larded Squab ($58), which is served partially de-boned along side its heart and liver separately wrapped in bacon.  The flavors were spot on, but even for a squab, it seemed exceptionally rare.  My wife ordered the Ham Steak with pickled pineapple, which was simply fantastic and certainly the best value (?) on the menu ($40).  Sides of Wild Rice Pilaf, Golden Nugget Potatoes and Dressed Tomatoes ($15) were fine - the tomatoes were slightly cooked, which wasn't my thing but my wife enjoyed them and can be a hard sell on tomatoes.  She finished with a scoop of plum sorbet, while I had the Strawberry Pistachio Charlotte ($20), which was fantastic.  One very good Manhattan ($20), and 4 glasses of wine between us came to $445, tip included.  The restaurant handled the wife's dairy challenges with ease.

Squab:

squab.jpg.c48ce830968d2b78aa1145d9716556b1.jpg

Food-wise, the restaurant was perfectly fine.  But there were enough service slips that shouldn't happen at this price point that I wouldn't return.  Overhearing two back waiters repeatedly arguing.  A head waiter checking in on a table with the phrase "Ya good?"  Wine ordered well in advance of entrees, but not arriving before the entrees.  The waiter picking up the check immediately after I signed it, while we were still sitting at the table.  None of these were cardinal sins (though the check being picked up is a pet peeve), but taken as a whole, are indicative of a service program that needs more professionalism.

At the conclusion of the evening, I grabbed a manager and asked if we could visit the lounge in The Pool (formerly a separate room in the Four Seasons, now a separate Restaurant owned by the same group as The Grill).  She went over and grabbed The Pool manager who came in, walked us over to the lounge, and was the exact kind of welcoming that I'd expected the entire evening.  THAT is the restaurant I'm eager to return to.

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On 8/6/2019 at 9:17 AM, genericeric said:

My wife and I had dinner at The Grill Saturday night.  I knew going in the reputation - solid food but with prices that were hard to justify.  I'd never been to the Four Seasons before it changed, nor had we been to The Grill before.  Pleasant arrival and walk upstairs into the room that seems familiar from seeing so many cultural references over the years.  Sure, it is the first weekend of August, but at 7:30 the restaurant was half full, and the bar nearly empty.

I started with the Goose Terrine ($25 I believe), which was pleasant with olive and fig and a thin layer of foie mousse in the center.  Wife had a special for the evening - Gazpacho, which may have been our favorite dish of the night.  I intended to order the guinea hen, but ended up getting (my fault) the Larded Squab ($58), which is served partially de-boned along side its heart and liver separately wrapped in bacon.  The flavors were spot on, but even for a squab, it seemed exceptionally rare.  My wife ordered the Ham Steak with pickled pineapple, which was simply fantastic and certainly the best value (?) on the menu ($40).  Sides of Wild Rice Pilaf, Golden Nugget Potatoes and Dressed Tomatoes ($15) were fine - the tomatoes were slightly cooked, which wasn't my thing but my wife enjoyed them and can be a hard sell on tomatoes.  She finished with a scoop of plum sorbet, while I had the Strawberry Pistachio Charlotte ($20), which was fantastic.  One very good Manhattan ($20), and 4 glasses of wine between us came to $445, tip included.  The restaurant handled the wife's dairy challenges with ease.

Squab:

squab.jpg.c48ce830968d2b78aa1145d9716556b1.jpg

Food-wise, the restaurant was perfectly fine.  But there were enough service slips that shouldn't happen at this price point that I wouldn't return.  Overhearing two back waiters repeatedly arguing.  A head waiter checking in on a table with the phrase "Ya good?"  Wine ordered well in advance of entrees, but not arriving before the entrees.  The waiter picking up the check immediately after I signed it, while we were still sitting at the table.  None of these were cardinal sins (though the check being picked up is a pet peeve), but taken as a whole, are indicative of a service program that needs more professionalism.

At the conclusion of the evening, I grabbed a manager and asked if we could visit the lounge in The Pool (formerly a separate room in the Four Seasons, now a separate Restaurant owned by the same group as The Grill).  She went over and grabbed The Pool manager who came in, walked us over to the lounge, and was the exact kind of welcoming that I'd expected the entire evening.  THAT is the restaurant I'm eager to return to.

Funny enough, I was at the Grill last Monday with a couple of clients. The room remains beautiful, and was about 3/4 full at 8 on a Monday (in August), which is a pretty solid turnout in my estimation.  I didn't experience any of the service issues that Eric did above, thankfully, but do wonder if the waiter who said "Ya Good" came from Carbone, where things are a bit more shtick-y.

Our group had crab gumbo to start (x3) - our waiter talked me into it, as I'd planned on the scallop and snail fricassee. My clients loved the gumbo - I thought the seasoning was too assertive (which I realize is the point of gumbo), and hence the ample blue crab was wasted on me.

I re-upped from my prior meal with another pheasant claiborne - the presentation has changed - the dish is still made in a cast iron bowl with puff pastry surrounding it, but now a captain removes the lid and plates the dish, making it more composed, but I did lose out on the pieces of puff pastry. The dish remains fantastic though I preferred the more rustic set-up. My companions had a peppered filet and new york strip, along with some off-menu asparagus and spinach sides, whipped potatoes and fried tomatoes.

Adding in a couple bottles of wine and after-dinner drinks (no dessert), our bill came to a shitload. That said, I enjoy the room, the food is well-executed and the location is convenient for my clients. Given Eric's mention of the Pool's manager and service I would be inclined to try that out next time, reviews be damned. I've been to the Grill once with friends and once with clients. I'll go back to the Grill, but likely with clients from here on out - always fun to try new places with the crew and the breadth of the menu and setting here are great for business.

 

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