A June 2005 trip
to Mountain Lakes by Craig Randall
Quote: Dinner at the South City Grill was our second choice, touted to us by locals as a "great place" with "a variety of good dishes." I couldn’t shake the feeling that the staff knew this was our second choice, though, as we were treated with second-choice service.
SCG began with warm, crusty bread, which gets you extra points automatically in my book. We ordered the coconut shrimp appetizer with mango horseradish sauce. We were both impressed, and the taste was spot-on. I ordered the field greens with a creamy vinaigrette dressing. The portion was perfect, and the dressing was worth the cost. Delicious! My friend ordered the beefsteak tomato salad. The tomato might have been one of those red playground balls from elementary school; I don’t know. It was comparable in size. The Atlantic salmon served on a bed of rice with a variety of vegetables. It was moist, delicious, and well-seasoned.
So a great meal was tempered a bit by shoddy service. It took ten minutes for us to get "noticed" at the table. When our waiter did show, he seemed distracted. At meal’s end, he hadn’t checked on our food, how we liked it, etc. He did an obligatory "sum up" with the "how was everything" line, but we expected more based on how the restaurant was presented to us, the line of expensive European sports cars out front [a Ferrari under the canopy double-parked next to a BMW 8-series, etc.], and our expectations. When we told him we weren’t planning on dessert, it took twelve minutes to get the check, which was presented on circa-1982 roll-up fax paper with a pen clipped to it and my check card. Shoddy. Even Applebee’s gives you a folio.
My recommendation is that you can find food of similar quality elsewhere in the area--we’ve done so, with service that is at least two rungs above on the acceptable ladder.
Member Rating 2 out of 5 on June 23, 2005
South City Grill
60 Route 46 East
Mountain Lakes, New Jersey