Monday, October 1, 2012

Chops Grille and Tap House in Geneva

Recently, my wife and I met two of our good friends for dinner at Chops Grille and Tap House in Geneva.  We picked this restaurant because it was halfway between where we live and where our friends live in Erie, PA.    If you look at the menu online, you will see that they have a very large menu with all different types of food, but from what my friend and I heard Chops is known for their good BBQ.

Food
To start our meal our table was served a basket of rolls along with creamy butter and cinnamon butter.  We all agreed that we could have eaten a basket of bread each with the cinnamon butter, it was delicious.
Our meals also each came with a house salad.  The Italian dressing that I got was underwhelming in terms of flavor and tasted mostly of white vinegar. Thank goodness my wife shared some of her balsamic dressing with me, it was much better in terms of flavor and consistency.
For entrees, both my friend and I picked the Smoked Beef Brisket. The menu described it as "Tender smoked brisket of beef served with a light Carolina BBQ sauce."  For my side I opted for a sweet potato.  As soon as our plates arrived my friend and I both commented on how thin, and sloppy, the brisket was sliced, and the fact that it just didn't look that appetizing.   Looks are one thing, but in the end it is always how the food tastes that really matters.  I wish I had some good news to say about the flavor of our dish, but both my friend and I agreed that we were not fans for several reasons.  First, the brisket was sliced way too thin and was very fatty. I'm all for loving fat, but this was just too much.  Second, there was entirely too much BBQ sauce on the brisket.  The overly sweet sauce totally over powered the dish and made it impossible to even taste what should have been the star of the dish, the brisket.   If there was one positive on my plate it was the sweet potato with the delicious cinnamon butter!  .
As disappointed as I was with my dinner, my wife had a very different experience with hers.  She ordered a Top Sirloin steak cooked to a medium temperature.  What she got was a perfectly cooked and seasoned steak that tasted amazing.   The green beans were also cooked and seasoned perfectly.   Needless to say, I was kicking myself that I didn't order her dish.  The steak was a very good size and she shared some of it with me.   If we went back to Chops, I would order this steak over and over again. 
Drinks
The drink menu at Chops does offer a few craft beer choices in addition to having what you would normally find (Bud, Miller, Coors).  There were two Dogfish beers on tap, 60min IPA and Punkin.  We all selected Punkin which was very fresh and tasted great.  They also had Sierra Nevada Pale Ale, Coors Batch 19, Kentucky Bourbon Barrel Ale, and Great Lakes Dortmunder on tap.  I wouldn't call this Tap House a craft beer bar by any means, but I was happy they at least offered some craft options. 
Service and Atmosphere
The restaurant had two main areas, a sports bar area, and a dining room area.  The sports bar area was very loud and we had to almost scream to talk to each other.  I'm glad we just got one drink there while we waited for our table.  Dinner in that area just would not have been fun, unless we wanted to watch some sort of sporting event together.   The dining room area was much quieter and made for a nice dinner experience.  Our waitress was very friendly and made sure my wife's steak was cooked properly. (She mentioned that she checked the temperature right before she brought it out to us.)  I'd had to say our service for the night was good.

Overall, it is hard for me to really judge Chops.  On one had my entree was simply not enjoyable, yet my wife's steak was excellent.  The waitress clearly made an effort to make sure my wife's dish was excellent, did she do the same for mine, or is that just how they do brisket at Chops?   I guess I'll have to head back to Chops for dinner again to see...
Chops Grille and Tap House on Urbanspoon

1 comment:

Renee said...

I know that you have a responsibility to be honest with your readers about your experiences. And, I also know that you have a tough time reporting a meal that's underwhelming, because you respect our local chefs so much. However, I think you did a stellar job of walking that fine line here.

Your description of the brisket was detailed enough to let me know that I would have also been disappointed with the meal. The plating is not attractive at all, but as you said, that's not what's really important. And, judging from the price points I see on their menu, they're not trying to be a high end, destination restaurant. That steak entices me enough that I would absolutely stop in if I found myself in Geneva. Thanks for putting Chops on my radar!

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