Monday, October 17, 2011

The Glasshouse Grille

The Glasshouse Grille, at one point, I considered one of my favorite restaurants in Morgantown. I had been here a handful of times, but it's just a tad on the pricier side, so it was usually reserved for nicer dinners. It's located in the Seneca Center, which is where I used to intern, so I shared many lunches here (also cheaper than dinner, of course). It was always classy and delicious. Then I had my most recent visit.

Located in the Seneca Center, there is a lot of parking, and it has that older factory feel, with a classic touch. It's actually located in the basement, but an awning covers stairs from the outside and leads you right down to the restaurant. A few tables are located outside, but we walked through the front doors. We waited at the front for what seemed like a while, as waiters passed us, before the host greeted us. Instead of saying welcome, she put up her index finger and said "hold on, I gotta check on something." I looked at my friend confused and continued to wait. I looked at my watch, 8:13 on a Saturday night. The host came back after a minute or so and said she had to check with the chef to see if they were still taking people. Embarrassed, I asked what time they closed. 9 p.m. 9 p.m. and you can't seat me at 8:13 p.m.? I thought they would stop seating at 9 p.m. She picked up some flimsy menus, and a few fell near me. I went to pick them up, and the host watched me, and it was awkward.

So she walked us to a table, and we sat there slightly dumbfounded. We obviously weren't welcome there, and we felt uncomfortable. But we decided to try to make the best of it. The host filled our water cups. Another waiter brought us a basket of bread and some butter. I know it was "late," but the bread was beyond stale and burnt on the bottom - to the point where we didn't even eat it. It didn't matter though, as the waiter came by and took it away anyway.

We were brought salads - I opted for the sundried basil dressing, but was less than impressed. It wasn't very flavorful, and I didn't even eat most of it. I don't really have much more to say about this. 

At this point, I wasn't sure what to think. The inside decor was still lovely, with white tableclothes and a feeling of elegance. But the service was subpar, and as I looked over the flimsy menu, I realized the top said "Penny's Glasshouse Grille." Well, that's new. This was certainly different. And the prices were still at the same level, despite the service and cheap menus. The prices started around $40, for a lobster dish and went down to a pasta primavera, which was about $20. One dish that caught my eye was the chicken athena, for $21. It was a chicken breast surrounded with spinach, onions, peppers, carrots, cherry tomatoes, kalmata olives, feta cheese, mushrooms, squash. I took a bite of the chicken, and it was very, very dry. I had a really hard time cutting it with my fork - I wasn't given a knife. It really wasn't exploding with flavor either. It was dry and bland. I took a bite of the mixture, and that was pleasant.

The carrots, tomatoes, and spinach were a good combination for the kalmata olives and feta cheese, which has a strong taste. It was balanced, with muted flavors and the strong ones. But it wasn't overly creative. We all know kalmata olives go well with feta cheese, and the veggies were tasty. But there really wasn't a sauce to bring it all together to make it one cohesive dish. It was an okay dish. Was it good enough for $20. No.

One last try - we ordered dessert. A waiter brought out a dessert tray, which I do love because it's so visual. One dessert looked interesting to me: the chocolate pate. Now that was one good decision. Our desserts came out, and I wasn't expecting much, but I took a bite and felt immediately relaxed. It was a creamy chocolate with a slight crunch. This is the only dish I finished. It was refreshing and airy, but decadent. It was simply delicious, but didn't leave me weighed down like many desserts. This is probably one of my favorite desserts I've ever ordered. My total bill came to about $30, but the dessert is the only thing I'd order again.

It seems this place has changed drastically - maybe due to new owners. The level of quality isn't the same, and they are cutting corners, and you can tell. The dessert is the only redeemable quality of this meal, so hopefully that doesn't go downhill any time soon.

Grade: C
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