Right before Christmas we were asked to go out to dinner at Pickle Bill's Lobster House in Grand River. Being a seafood lover I didn't mind as much as my girlfriend who hates seafood, but we agreed to go because of the great company that was in town for the holiday!
Food---The food story needs to be somewhat combined with the service story to truly let you into our dinning experience. Our table started out by ordering the Bucket of Mussels that were sautéed in a garlic wine butter sauce, the Calamari was lightly dusted in seasoned flour, deep-fried and topped with shaved parmesan cheese and served with red pepper aioli and marinara sauce, and a basket of deep fried pickles. Twenty minutes later the mussels and the fried pickles showed up at the table, but the calamari was missing. We were told the calamari would be right out so we started on the mussels. To be as honest and plain as possible, the mussels were cold, dry and honestly not edible. We each ate two of them and then let the waiter know they were not good. (He took them back to the kitchen and said he would let the manager know.) He also said again that the Calamari would be right out. I didn't eat the fried pickles but I was assured by my girlfriend who loves pickles that these were the best fried pickles she has ever eaten! The batter was perfect because as she took a bite it didn't fall off, it stayed perfectly in tact which made each bite very tasty...well for her!
By this point, nearly forty-five minuets had gone by and finally the calamari arrived at the table. The calamari ended up being very good. The outside was light and crispy while the inside was soft, warm and flavorful. Combined with the two tasty sauces these were a real treat. But before we could even eat 1/4th of them our salads showed up. The salad was a huge disappointment for me. I wasn't expecting anything grand for a side salad, but to get totally frozen lettuce pieces mixed with non frozen pieces was unappetizing. I simply ate around the frozen pieces while still trying to eat the Calamari while it was fresh and hot.
By this point an hour had past since we were seated. The entire table was trying to finish our salads and the calamari, and out comes all of our entrees. Our salads were not halfway finished and neither was the calamari, but on with the meal we must go. Myself and the other couple all ordered the 1lb of snow crab legs while my girlfriend ordered the BBQ ribs. My crab legs came with a side of lobster mashed potatoes while my girlfriend's ribs came with french fries.
The crab legs were very good. The meat was steamed properly and they were very hot even in the smaller areas of meat. The warm butter was a perfect dipping sauce for the juicy and soft crab meat. As good as the crab legs were the lobster mashed potatoes left a lot to be desired. They were not equally warmed and they really lacked a lot of flavor. They were also presented in an unappealing way as you can see in the picture.
As good as the ribs looked the flavor didn't really match. The inconsistency in the flavor and moisture really made these hard to eat. One bite was warm and moist and the very next bite would be cold and dry. There really wasn't an abundance of meat in this half slab of ribs either. The BBQ sauce used was flavorful, and it did help to add some flavor and moisture to what were some very sub-par ribs.
This meal was filled with some highs and some lows. The highs were the fried pickles, the calamari, and the crab legs. All of these I would recommend to order if you ever go to Pickle Bills. What I wouldn't recommend after our meal would be the cold and dry mussels, the somewhat frozen salad, and the not so tender and dry ribs. Due to the total lack of consistency in our food quality I would give Pickle Bills a 2.5/5.
Drinks--Pickle Bill's offers your standard bar beers and a few craft beers from Great Lakes. They also offer a bunch of different mixed drinks such as martinis, cosmos and blue margaritas. Pickle Bill's doesn't have the best selection around, but they are far from the worst. What we did have pleased everyone at the table, except the overly sweet blue margarita. (Be sure to check out the Craftbeer Review Page.) Drinks would be a 3.75/5.
Overall--We arrived to a less than half capacity restaurant a few minutes before our 7pm reservation. We were left standing for nearly 10 minutes before we were seated even though we had a reservation, and there were plenty of tables that were open for a party of four. Once seated our drink orders were taken within just a few minutes. The beers were brought to the table after only 5 minutes of being seated but the mixed drinks took an additional 15 minutes. After getting the drinks straightened out the timing of the food was totally off and through off our entire meal. Waiting 20 minutes for mussels and then 15 more minutes for calamari was unacceptable. Then bringing the salads and entrees within only minutes of each other really made eating our all of our food difficult. Calamari and Crab Legs are not something you let sit while you finish a salad. Our waiter was polite and friendly, but really didn't do anything to correct the problems besides taking the mussels off the bill. If a manager was ever told about our appetizer being sent back, and then the lengthy delay with the calamari, they never came out to see if everything else was alright. The entire table was disappointed with the service. We had reasonable expectations for service considering what Pickle Bill's is as a restaurant and what they charge for their menu items. Considering their prices are higher than other comparable seafood restaurants, I would expect better service and food quality. I don't see myself going back to Pickle Bill's anytime soon because I have had better seafood and service elsewhere. Overall- 2/5