Monday, July 18, 2011

Careyes Grille

Brand new restaurant Careyes was on my list for Friday. Located in the Wharf District, near Subway and Oliverio's, the restaurant features Tex-Mex. This location has had a handful of restaurants, including Synergy Chophouse and Saloon and Mon River Chophouse. I had a meeting at the restaurant once, but I was never able to dine. It had switched hands so often and closed for certain hours, so I was never able to get there. Finally, on Friday, Kaitlynn and I were able to get inside and have lunch.

It's easy to find, as it's right along Clay Street, but with many Morgantown restaurants, parking is limited. Most areas threaten towing, but we took our chances and parked in a gravel lot. The restaurant is risen up, and there are a half-dozen stairs to climb before reaching the door. The outside looks like a typical saloon-style restaurant, and the interior is wide and open. The old, hardwood floors creak underneath you and exposed wooden support beams scattered the dining area. Dozens of brightly colored tables lined the area, some adorned with cacti and carious southern landscapes. The exposed brick walls had old framed photos. A large bar was near our dining area, which is essentially in three parts, and there was an outdoor dining area, as well.



When we sat at our booth, the first thing I noticed was the salt and pepper were in Corona bottles, which is kind of clever. We were handed our menus, made of flimsy paper, and put our drink orders in. We quickly decided on two appetizers: crab cakes and shrimp ceviche. Under appetizers on the menu, it listed two crabcakes for $10. I thought, "Perfect! We can both have one!" I thought wrong - when the waitress brought out our appetizers, quite quickly, there was only one crab cake on the plate. Confused, I asked the waitress if there was supposed to be two. She quickly shot me down by saying "No. Only the entree has two." I was confused, so I looked back at the menu where it still said under appetizers, two crabcakes. I didn't want to cause a scene, so I let it go. I just hoped that it wouldn't be charged at the same amount for less food. The waitress dismissing my concern so quickly, however, left a bad taste in my mouth.

The crab cake with Southwestern remoulade sauce was very, very tasty. It was my favorite dish of the night. The crab cake had large chunks of lump crabmeat and the sauce added that punch. The shrimp ceviche left something to be desired. With only two, maybe three, chunks of shrimp, and tomato, cucumber, peppers, red onion, avocado and cilantro in lime and orange juices, I couldn't taste much beyond the lime and cilantro. In fact, it was a pretty little salad of different textures of lime and cilantro. Unfortunate, because I was looking forward to a light, refreshing dish, and the crispy chips it was served with were delightful.


Our entrees came out next. Quickly quickly, in fact. I ordered the Santa Fe Grilled Chicken Sandwich. The sandwich came with three large slices of avocado, pico de gallo, romaine lettuce and spicy mayo on a grilled sourdough Texas toast. I'm a big fan of tomato, so I also asked to have some on the side. Kaitlynn ordered the same sandwich, only without the addition. It came with a side - I opted for the jalapeno cheddar grits and Kaitlynn got black beans.When our dishes came out, mine had tomatoes on the side, and hers had tomato on the sandwich. they were prepared, too, chopped with spices. So, either the menu left off tomatoes, or chef incorrectly added tomatoes to Kaitlynn's sandwich. Either way, I was most unhappy after the crabcake incident and now the tomato question. I don't like to be fussy at restaurants - I know that industry is difficult. So I didn't want to come off as requesting tomatoes on the side because I couldn't pick them off my own sandwich if they were supposed to come that way.

Anyway, the sandwich was fine. I wasn't thrilled or disappointed. The flavors didn't wow me. The grits were interesting. I'm not sure if I had ever had grits before, but they were basically a less creamy version of mashed potatoes. I liked them, though I feel those flavors could have been kicked up a notch as well. Kaitlynn was unimpressed with her black beans.

For dessert, hoping the meal would perk up, I ordered creme brulee. It came out cold and was mediocre. Nothing about this restaurant stood out to me, and I was quite unhappy with the small bumps with the service - though I know that happens with new restaurants, so it doesn't weigh too heavily into my grading scale. I might go back and try it once they're up and running better, but it's just not worth the effort to go to the Wharf Distrcit and deal with subpar service. Luckily, the owner or manager seemed very nice and involved and made sure our drinks were filled when the waitress was busy, so it might have a fighting chance. We'll see.

Unfortunately, when I got my check, I was charged the full amount, $10, for only one crabcake, despite the menu saying I should get two. The only delicious part of the meal was tainted.


Grade: C
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