The Grille on the Drive, Wilton Manors’ newest restaurant, is owned by Paul Hugo who owns The Manor and the recently closed Eat. In fact the chef and many of the staff from Eat can now be found at The Grille. The place has undergone a complete face lift. Gone is the nursing home lobby look replaced by chic and vibrant décor. The main focus, as you might guess from the name, is on steaks, chops and seafood, but there are also pasta dishes, burgers and sandwiches.
At first glance prices appear quite high ($28.95 for filet mignon, $27.95 for a veal chop), but when you take into account that entrees come with a choice of side and salad bar the prices are actually quite reasonable. Steaks and chops are in the $20-$30 range, seafood entrees average $25. Pasta dishes are less than $20 and also include the salad bar. Sandwiches come with fries, and average $15; add the salad bar for $3.95. There are also apps (although my favorite from Eat, the Shrimp Boat, is missing) and desserts.
The Summer Sunset Specials are proving to be especially popular. Available Tuesday through Thursday from 4-6 p.m., it features a choice of six entrees for $9.95.
Diners must be seated by 6 p.m., and no menu substitutions, are allowed. The special menu features a char-grilled boneless pork ribeye served with a cranberry infused demi-glace and mashed potatoes. The pork was moist but could have used a bit more of a char, but the cranberry reduction was delightful. The potatoes were flavorless, and I overheard another table inquire if they were instant potatoes, which the waiter denied. Instant or not, they could have benefitted from the addition of salt, butter and cream – none of which was on our table or I would have doctored them up myself. A classic creamy vodka sauce coats perfectly cooked penne. The dish is usually augmented by peas and diced prosciutto, which was eliminated at a request by vegetarian husband. Meat eaters can add chicken or grilled shrimp for an additional charge. Chicken Dijon coats tender sauteed breast tenderloins with a sherry grain mustard cream sauce. Other options on the Summer Sunset Specials include lasagna with Bolognese, a 14-ounce chopped steak sirloin with mushrooms, onions and brown gravy or meatloaf with mashed potatoes, mushroom gravy and fried onion strings. Diners may add the salad bar (which includes two types of soup) for $3.95.
At Eat I usually asked to be seated at my favorite server Jamie’s station, but my friends arrived before I did, and we ended up with Anthony, who may lack the experience Jamie has, but he makes up for it in his willingness to please and a dimpled smile that makes you just want to pinch his cheeks. Hands off, boys, he’s only 19! It appears that The Grille will be able to retain much of Tropics’ crowd and build on it with its own following. There is entertainment every night of the week and the remodeled cabaret room, call The Tropics Room has been reconfigured and features an entirely new sound and light system.