Saturday, January 22, 2011

The Old Vine Grille: Anything But Old

I usually ignore this restaurant. I'm glad I finally tried eating at this cozy dining place in Venice Piazza, McKinley Hill!

I first encountered the Old Vine Grille in Eastwood and I never considered eating there because from outside, the restaurant seemed "old" and "snobbish".  I also had the impression that it only served steak and wine since it was run by Chef's Quarter. I was glad I was proven wrong when I  was invited to eat at their Venice Piazza branch for a very late lunch.  It was anything but old!

Old Vine Grille is a sit-down restaurant offering Mediterranean-inspired dishes. I immediately liked Venice Piazza's Old Vine Grille since it was bright and cozy; and provided a great view of the plaza. I wanted to take the table by the window side but someone else beat me to it.  Anyway, here's the view of the restaurant's interiors from my table corner. The restaurant also has a function room and  is adjacent to Kuse, which is run by the same management but offers Filipino dishes.

My usual practice when I dine in a place for the first time is to ask for the restaurant's best-selling dish or house specialty. The amiable and knowledgeable server briefed me about the top choices for their appetizers, salad, main dish, pasta, and even the ideal pick for dessert! Don't you wish all all servers know the food offered in the restaurants that they are working for?   I picked the Lamb Spareribs while my colleague ordered a Caesar Salad and Old Vine's Grilled Salmon Tranche dish.
The Caesar Salad. The waiter recommended the Tessie Tomas Salad though. 

The sumptuous Lamb Spareribs
The lamb was  so tasty and tender that it seemed to melt in my mouth. The lamb's curry sauce, however, seemed a bit off - it didn't seem to enhance the flavor but it tasted well on its own. The dish came with fresh salad and a well-cooked risotto.  I asked my colleague about the Caesar Salad and the Salmon, and he found it delightful as well.  The salad's serving seemed small though given its price.

For dessert, I had the Chocolate Gooey Fudge upon the server's recommendation.  The dessert lived up to its name of "gooey" and wasn't saccharine sweet. Unfortunately, I wasn't able to take a photo of  the other dishes since I was too busy savoring my food .

I must say that what I liked best about  Old Vine was its  casual ambiance, reasonable price, and excellent service. The food didn't take too long to serve and the staff would always come at the right time to pull a chair, pour a drink, clear a plate, or recommend dessert.

I was told that I should try their steak and their banana-langka crepe should I plan to visit again. I definitely plan on returning!

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