The Grandview Saloon: A Cautionary Tale

Achievement: #18. Have Dinner at a New Restaurant on Mt. Washington

Alright, it’s a day later, so I’ve had some time and distance to think about our crummy experience last night. Several people have asked us today about our visit, and as much as I want this to be a positive blog, I also don’t want people to think that we only report on the best things. As one of my friends pointed out to me earlier today: this is a blog about experiences, and the more that I digested the night, the more I decided that it was only fair to include the bad along with the good.

Exactly as that: the bad with the good (which means that I am now un-furious-ed enough to evaluate the good!).

So, last night, instead of cooking up the steaks we’d set to defrost earlier, we decided what better to do with a lovely summer night than check out the scene at a Mt. Washington restaurant for our #18 Achievement. Typically, when we do Mt. Washington, we do LeMont, and we always seem to manage to get Marco’s section, and Marco treats us like princesses (well, me like a princess, Michael more like a prince, I guess, if we’re going to be technical). But we are all about broadening our horizons, so after doing a bit of Yelping, we decided we would pick the Grandview Saloon.

We picked this restaurant as opposed to any of the other ones on Mt. Washington because we were looking for something a little more casual, but still with a nice view. The reviews on Yelp are a bit mixed-bag, but it seemed more good than bad, so we made a phone call to see if we needed reservations (we were told we did not, for bar-area seating or outdoor deck), and then we headed up the mountain.

We were seated immediately at one of the tables in the bar area. We couldn’t really see the great view (and there truly is a great view if you’re near a window or on the deck – you could almost see into Heinz Field on a game day), but we were okay with that because we could see the bar TV, which was playing the Buccos game.

And our waitress brought us drinks quickly, so we thought things were going to go swimmingly.

We decided that we would order two appetizers and split an entree, because we both really wanted to try the mushroom soup we had read so much about in reviews, but neither one of us thought we could finish a full bowl on our own. So, we put our orders in, and waited.

….and waited, and waited, and waited.

The mushroom soup never arrived, nor did our salads. It seemed that our poor waitress had been assigned to not only waiting tables, but filling drink orders for all of her tables, plus many of those for the servers in other areas of the restaurant. It wasn’t as if she was slacking off at all, but it was so hard to get her attention, because she was constantly rushing around making drinks and taking orders. Finally, after about 45 minutes, our appetizer arrived.

Grandview Saloon
We started with an order of the jalapeno crab dip. I’d anticipated it being spicy, what with jalapeno in the title, but it really wasn’t. It was just the tiniest bit tangy, and it was served hot with those yummy pita chips. This was promising – the crab dip was honest-to-goodness delicious, and we were willing to forgive the spotty service in light of the crowds and the quality of the appetizer.

Grandview Saloon
Besides, at that point, we’d just learned that love of my life Andrew McCutchen was going to the MLB All Star Game, and that just put us both in fantastic moods!

But then, it was a full half-hour between appetizer and delivery of the next step of our meal…

Grandview Saloon
Which wound up being everything, all at once. This is how it was brought out to us, all the dishes in a single stop. Worst of all, the soup was already room-temperature. We had a few sips of it, but it’s hard to judge a thick soup like that when it’s not served hot.

Grandview Saloon
This was our entree: the grilled scallops. I have to say: if this had been a $15 entree, I would have been okay with it. But this dish was $26, and it came exactly as shown in this picture.

We were just upset. Michael’s a former waiter, so he understands what it’s like to be working when you’re busy, when you’re short-staffed, when you’re overwhelmed, but we just felt like for the price of the meal, we could have used some of a heads-up that the kitchen was backed up or too busy. The hostess told us it would be an hour wait for a table other than the one at the bar that we took, so we had kind of assumed that taking the open table meant we’d get our food in less than an hour.

It was rather a bummer of an evening, particularly with the Buccos’ less-than-stellar performance. Also, I feel like we had been so excited to try a new spot that it was particularly upsetting to have the night go that way. Honestly, I was just glad to finally get the check and head home.

But, I wanted to post about it, in the essence of being fair and delivering both sides of our experiences. And also, as I am a big believer in second chances, I don’t rule out that we would someday return to the Grandview Saloon for redemption scallops. Next time, we might try going for lunch, though, and ordering something less-specialized, like a sandwich. We’d certainly get that crab dip again; it was delicious! But I might be willing to wait until I get a coupon or Groupon deal, because for the price, I think I need more than just a guarantee of a pretty view.

Lucy and a Scallop
And there was one little girl who was certainly happy to have a leftover scallop when we got home!! 🙂

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