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Greystone Grill, a Maryland Chain Featuring Standard, American Fare and Wine Lockers in Rockville Town Square - Closed


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My wife, son and I went to the Greystone Grill in Rockville (33 Maryland Ave, in the new Rockville downtown) last night after the movies. Admittedly it was late, about 9:30, but our experience was not one to make me want to return.

Things started well, the place has the right look for a modern steakhouse/grill, stone hearths, a good mix of banquettes and tables and lots of glass and steel. The server, an nice young man who was just trying too hard, offered to give us a tour of the menu (like I needed that) and there was a reasonable (for Montgomery County) wine list. I even noticed the wine lockers and asked about them. For $1500 (a year) you can have your own wine locker and they will store and serve your wine for you when you come in, but you have to fill it with wine that you can buy in Montgomery County, so that is a major waste of money. They offer a fairly nice selection of wines by the glass too and you can order a trio of three ounce pours of any of the by the glass wines for $13.

The bread was piping hot and very good, and came out quickly. But things went down hill from there.

I ordered the trio of wines, a Pinot Grigio to go with my appetizer, and Pinot Noir and a Cabernet Sauvignon to go with the steak I ordered. Unfortunately, it didn't show up until after the appetizers were done and gone, and I even tried to eat them slowly to give them time to get the wine to me.

For appetizers I ordered the Crispy Cheese and Smoked Salmon, described on the menu as Haloumie cheese layered with smoked salmon and pesto. Served with horseradish scented creme fraiche. Actually it was some salmon between two layers of cheese, lightly breaded and deep fried. While it wasn't awful, it was pretty weak and much less interesting than it sounded. My son had the Greystone Skewers, strips of beef, marinated, grilled and drizzled with peanut sauce. It was actually quite good. My wife ordered the Calamari Rockefeller, which turned out to be fairly good, but not exciting fried calamari.

For entrees, my wife ordered the Mango and Mandarin Salad. It came with blackend shrimp, fresh blueberrys and raspberrys, Mandarin oranges, on top of greens tossed with a Champagne vinaigrette, finished with sliced Brie cheese, sliced red onions and toasted almonds. She specifically asked for the vinaigrette to be served on the side. When the salad came, it was dressed (overdressed in fact, a constant problem with the salads here) and had to be sent back to be done correctly. However, when the properly served salad came out, she pronounced it to be very good.

I ordered the Flatiron Steak. I ordered it medium rare, and it came Rare, but I didn't complain since I really prefer it to the rare side anyway. It was quite good. The entrees come with a side and a salad. I got the Greystone salad, greens, candied cashews and crumbled Maytag bleu cheese tossed with raspberry viniagrette. It was tasty, very fresh, and very overdressed with the viniagrette. (Word of warning, ask for the dressing on the side and send it back if it doesn't come that way unless you like your salads soaked in dressing.) I ordered the sautéed mushrooms as my side, but when the steak came, it was with the Yukon Gold mashed potatoes. I pointed out I had ordered a different side and my server brought me a bowl of the mushrooms. He shouldn't have bothered, the potatoes were better, as the mushrooms were simply white button mushrooms that had been quartered and sauteed in some herbs and were very ordinary and unexciting.

My son ordered the 12 ounce Fillet. It came cooked rare as he asked but he thought it was ordinary and lacked any ommpf; but that the steamed broccoli was quite good, served with a roasted red pepper butter sauce. He also ordered the wedge salad, but thought the Maytag blue cheese dressing didn't taste any better than what he got out of a bottle from Kraft.

So bottom line, the steaks are pretty good, but not great, and pricy. Sides are hit and miss, salads are not bad, but overdressed, and the service was poor. Entire dinner before any tip, $125 for the three of us, and that was without dessert. If I was one of the young professionals who are buying all those condos around there, I might be willing to eat here, because it is a nice space, and seems to have a very nice bar. But there are plenty of places where I can get better service, good steaks, and good wine for less. I think they are trying too hard and just don't get it yet. If they straighten out the service problems, and quit trying to be as pretentious as they are, they might be worth going to on a semi regular basis, but I don't know if I'm going to give them the chance to change my mind. I certainly wouldn't make a trip to go there.

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One thing I do have to give them complements for, the wine glasses are real, decent sized, more than acceptable to a wine geek like me, wine glasses. (They looked like Spiegelaus, but I can't say for sure.) At least they take wine service seriously. And the "Innkeepers private cellar selections" were better than found in many places in Montgomery.

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We went on Friday on a whim, as we were walking around downtown Rockville.

We ordered much simpler things than dinwiddie, and as our service was very good, had a much more pleasant experience.

My wife ordered the crab bisque for a starter, which was loaded with sherry, a bit light on the crab, but decent. I had the wedge salad that came with the entree - I thought the dressing was better than bottled, there was plenty of blue cheese, and a good amount of crumbled bacon as well.

I had the baby back ribs for my entree. Just barely smokey, but properly tender, and well basted with a sauce that was a great balance of sweet and spicy. They were finished on the grill, to give the outside a nice char. This isn't award winning Q, and I'm sure they weren't in an outside smoker all day, but I don't regret ordering them, and would again. The full rack was enough to take half home for dinner the next day, and my side of wild rice with mushrooms, bacon, and cashews was fine.

My wife had a Caesar salad with grilled salmon. The salmon was perfectly cooked to medium rare, and though it clearly wasn't Wild Pacific salmon, it was quite nice. The salad was pretty standard, with actual bits of anchovy rather than Worcestershire. Feel free to argue amongst yourselves as to which is proper.

Kids had kid stuff - pasta, burgers, etc. Total for 2 adults and 2 kids, with soft drinks but no alcohol and dessert, a touch over $60 before tax and tip. Service was very friendly and appropriately attentive.

Not worth driving across town for, but a perfectly decent choice if you're in the neighborhood.

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Glad you had better service than I did. As I said, the food wasn't bad, just not something I'd go out of my way for, especially at the price.

Just finished reading your initial post. It doesn't sound like there were many service issues besides one salad arriving dressed when it had been ordered to arrive "dressing on the side". What were the other service issues that caused you to dislike the place? Sounds like you actually reallly liked the food, too. Just curious..

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I'm struggling with this wine locker thing. $1,500 a year? $125 a month just to store your wine and serve it to you when you come in? Seems like you would have to eat there a lot (and know that you will continue to do so) before that makes any sense at all.

Or just have more money than sense. How many takers on this deal could there possibly be?

I bet $1,500 that the wine locker "rent" will go down. wink.gif

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Just finished reading your initial post. It doesn't sound like there were many service issues besides one salad arriving dressed when it had been ordered to arrive "dressing on the side". What were the other service issues that caused you to dislike the place? Sounds like you actually reallly liked the food, too. Just curious..

There were several things. I ordered a trio of three ounce wine pours when I made my order, and even said that I wanted to have the white wine with my appetizer. The wines didn't come until my entrees came, some 20 minutes later.

The wrong side was included with my steak, even though the server read back my order to me and had it right then.

One thing I did not mention was that my wife accidentially knocked over a glass of water. Three buspersons or managers passed by the table without giving us a cloth or getting someone to help clean it up; I had to flag someone down to ask for a cloth and in the meantime the folks at the table next to us gave us their napkins to help mop it up.

When the food was served, the server reached across my wife to put down my son's plate instead of serving moving to where he could serve the meal without doing so.

Like I said, the food wasn't bad, but the service was slow and amaturish for a restaurant with the pretentions that Greystone has.

As to the wine lockers, I thought $1500 was very high too, but I didn't inquire further to make sure that was right when he said that the wines would have to be ones you could buy thru the county board since Montgomery County 1) makes wine prices way too high, and 2) has a lousy selection of wines to begin with if you are considering the types of wines that would make it worth having a locker.

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My wife, son and I went to the Greystone Grill in Rockville (33 Maryland Ave, in the new Rockville downtown) last night after the movies. Admittedly it was late, about 9:30, but our experience was not one to make me want to return.

I wonder if our expectations were to high because we had just come from watching Ratatouille. laugh.gif

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Allow me introduce myself, my name is John Linderman, Director of Operations for the Greystone Grill concept. I am excited to see that you all have visited some of our locations. It is great to see that many of you have enjoyed the experience, and we hope to see many more postings from people that do as well. As I am sure you can appreciate, it is disappointing to see some of you haven't had quite the experience we strive to provide. To those people, please let me say that all of us at Greystone Grill work hard each day to provide a great dining experience, and if we fail to do so, please let us know right away. None of us want you to leave disappointed, and we will do everything in our power to make it right, right away. If we don't, you can contact the Innkeeper (General Manger) or myself, via phone, e-mail, or mail, and I PROMISE you , WE WILL MAKE IT RIGHT.

I see there is some confusion over our Wine Vault program. Let me shed some light: The $1500.00 is NOT a rental fee. It is more of an initial deposit. That money goes to the purchase of wine for your vault. We give our vault holders a 15% discount for wine in their vaults. There are other perks as well (tastings, dinners, pre-releases etc.), please feel free to contact the restaurants or myself if you are interested in learning more. Some of you were also concerned over the limited choices through Montgomery County. Let me tell you, the county has been really great at working with us to bring in some nice wines. I recently got them to bring in the 2003 Katherine Hall Cabernet that I tasted in Napa (it is absolutely delicious). We feel that this program is really a point of differentiation for us. Most places do charge a rental fee, we do not.

In summation, we want to create relationships with our customers. We are always open to feedback. We are not so pretentious to believe we are above reproach, rather we work hard each day, strive to improve, acknowledge our mistakes, and do everything in our power to make things right.

I hope to have the chance to meet ALL of you again. Please continue to post, as it is a great way for us to get better (You can also e-mail me any time at linderman.j@greystonegrill.com).

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Allow me introduce myself, my name is John Linderman, Director of Operations for the Greystone Grill concept.

Welcome, and thanks for a nice first post. I'm looking forward to trying your place.

I hope to have the chance to meet ALL of you again. Please continue to post, as it is a great way for us to get better (You can also e-mail me any time at linderman.j@greystonegrill.com).

Be careful what you wish for! We've been known to swarm, you know. laugh.gif

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I see there is some confusion over our Wine Vault program. Let me shed some light: The $1500.00 is NOT a rental fee. It is more of an initial deposit. That money goes to the purchase of wine for your vault. We give our vault holders a 15% discount for wine in their vaults. There are other perks as well (tastings, dinners, pre-releases etc.), please feel free to contact the restaurants or myself if you are interested in learning more. Some of you were also concerned over the limited choices through Montgomery County. Let me tell you, the county has been really great at working with us to bring in some nice wines. I recently got them to bring in the 2003 Katherine Hall Cabernet that I tasted in Napa (it is absolutely delicious). We feel that this program is really a point of differentiation for us. Most places do charge a rental fee, we do not.

Regardless of how well Montgomery County has been working with you, they do not have the inclination or ability to get the wines I'd like to keep in a locker. What use is a wine locker if I can't put some of the wines from my cellar in it? Besides, $1500 in MoCo, even with a discount, goes about as far as $900 does in DC, and the selections available in DC are much, much better. Yes the Katherine Hall is nice, but I can think of several I like better that MoCo has no intention of helping anyone get. Sorry, but I'll pass on the wine locker, and take something from the cellar with me to DC and pay the corkage instead.

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I saw a "closed forever" sign in Rockville Town Center on Wednesday.

First of all, a belated thank you to John Linderman for signing up and engaging the community "¦ gulp "¦ six years ago.

Second, ruslev's post - which I thought was a joke or a parody - was not only true, it was also prescient: the entire company (which also consisted of an Ellicott City outlet) is out of business.

I'll try to track down Mr. Linderman and find out what happened (does anyone know?), but my email address for him is a Greystone address which probably will no longer be valid.

---

Edit: I found this on LinkedIn, so indeed, Mr. Linderman has moved on:

John Linderman Experienced Restauranteur Baltimore, Maryland Area Hospitality Current: Operating Partner at P.F. Chang's Asian Bistro Present, Owner at Restaurant Quarterback Past: Director of Operations at American Tap Room, Managing Partner/Director of Operations at Greystone Grill 2004 - 2008, Managi... Education: Mount Saint Mary's College Summary: Dynamic, results-driven restaurant and hospitality leader. Extensive skills across all facets of restaurant operations, customer service and ma...
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