Last night Steph and I went to a "new" restaurant called Bellini's Texas Grill. Steph was all excited because she could do her picture taking of the menu and try something no one else had commented on yet. Bellini's is kind of tucked away in a little strip mall / office park off Parmer out in Cedar Park land. I didn't notice the cross street, sorry. When we finally found it Steph couldn't open the door which made me laugh. I kept saying, "pull!!! pull!!!" but she convinced me the door was locked. She finally put her strong like bull muscles into it and the door swung open. We entered and waited for a while until the hostess came out and took us to a booth. We opened the menus and started reading. It was a large tome with many sections. At first I wasn't sure what kind of restaurant they were trying to be. Appetizers, Sloppy Joe Frito Chili Pie but no Sloppy Joe sandwich, a giant list of sauces and toppings for what I guessed was the salad section, Sandwiches with all sorts of add ons, Burgers, Pizza, Pasta, Chicken Fried Steak. Based on the menu I could tell they weren't really serious about the food but I was hopeful. The waitress was great and tried to help us wade through the menu and even admitted it took her a while to decide. It was nice that she didn't want us to feel rushed. Score one point for service.
We decided on burgers. You can always get a good idea of the quality of ingredients in a restaurant from their ground beef. I had the Cedar Park Country Trucker. It was a 1/3 pound patty with a dab of chipotle sloppy joe, a handful of pickles and mustard. They offer white or wheat buns. I went with white. It also comes with a little tub of the Italian pico on the side. I wasn't sure what I was supposed to do with it but after I picked up the burger and most of the sloppy joe mix ran off the burger back onto my plate and down my arm I knew this was a knife and fork affair. I dumped the tub of pico onto the burger, put the lid back on and went after it with my fork. The first thing I noticed was how tangy it was from the pickles and perhaps something in the sloppy joe mix. The next flavor I noticed was the mustard coming through and then a smoky flavor in the patty. All the flavors were bold and went together fairly well. I was a bit disappointed they didn't let the beef patty be the main attraction but that turned out to be a plus after I tasted Steph's burger which wasn't covered in a mound of other flavors.
Steph ordered the Suzy-Q, your standard 1/3 pound burger with hickory bbq sauce and cheddar cheese. The first thing she noticed was how chewy the patty was as she bit into the burger. Steph thought it was too overworked and overseasoned. I thought, after tasting her burger that the meat tasted a bit like bologna. Looking at the patty you could see it was ground to a paste and really it just came across as low quality. Steph did like the flavor of the bbq sauce and the cheese added a bit more flavor. By the end of the meal she left about a quarter of the burger and most of her fries on the plate. I finished off the burger just to sample the meat without all that tangy and spicy flavor of the Trucker.
Our sides weren't much to love either. Steph was excited about getting hand cut fries and she order the battered ones. They were billed as seasoned but I'll have to say the only seasoning I could find was salt. They were fairly limp too so that explained why so many were left for the birds. I ordered onion rings and they weren't much better. They serve a giant ring that looks like a big wrist cuff. About two inches thick and coated with probably the same batter as Steph's fries. The first one was hot and tasted OK but was hard to eat even with my big mouth and by the end of the meal they were cold and unappealing.
Did I mention that the service was great? It really was. I think she even noticed we weren't too impressed by the food when she thanked us for coming in and hoped we liked the food. It was in her tone, like she was a little disappointed. Again, I appreciate she cared. Another point for service.
I think I've said too much already. Let's hope tomorrow will be better.