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Friday, February 7, 2014

Buckhorn Grill: no big thrill!

Lunch date #49; January 10, 2014

New for this year! Mom has declared that she doesn't want to go to any restaurants where she doesn't like the food! Not quite sure how to know that in advance, but I sort of get the feeling that her experimenting out of her comfort zone dining days are over. Knowing this, and also knowing we still had some Christmas returns, I thought meeting at the Stoneridge Mall and going to the Buckhorn Grill would be a reasonable choice.

Now I know something about the Buckhorn…the original Buckhorn Restaurant in Winters, CA was a fancy night out when we lived in Davis. It was (and still is) a very famous, old time steakhouse and was reserved for special occasions and was not a bargain spot by any means. It seems that the Buckhorn Corporation has now expanded to include the "grill" restaurants and have several locations throughout the Bay Area, including SF and of all places: New York City at Grand Central Station and also in the Rockefeller Center! The Stoneridge Mall location is somewhat "fast food" in style (http://www.buckhorngrill.com/).

Location Stoneridge Mall 3 points. Tough to say—not at all that appealing to us, as we are not Mall Shoppers in general. Plenty of parking, but not necessarily close by. Going for the middle of the road on points for this one.

Ambiance 3 points. Very much a fast-food style place, as what you would expect in the Mall. We did get the feeling that the attempt was there to make it a bit more special than the other food spots in the Mall.
Order at the counter style place

Menu 3.5 points. They concentrate on the BBQ meats; which is what they do well. I thought it   was adequate. They also offer flat bread pizza and salads. I went with the "Little Buck"; basically their Tri-tip sandwich, served with caramelized onions and dipping sauce (Au jus style). Mom saw the Philly Cheesesteak, known as "Philly Buck", and her eyes lit up! We shared an order of Fries for an additional $2.

Service: all self-serve, so we elected not to review. Order at the counter, and then find a seat. Get your own drinks and utensils. They give you a pager that will light when your order is ready.

Food 2.5 points: Sadly, here is where it fell apart for Mom! She was disappointed that the Philly Buck didn't have more cheese-and what was there was not well melted, but sort of a firm-blob on top. Then it was very hard to eat. The bread was soft, but very difficult to cut in half with the knife provided….and the meat was a bit tough. She was so disappointed! My sandwich was OK, not as good as Kinder's though I might add.  
Mom with her Philly Buck

Value 3 points: My sandwich was $7.50-not a bad deal and Mom got the larger portion (for left-overs) at $9.50. The price was much in line with other places, but considering no service was maybe a touch high? Since Mom was so disappointed with her sandwich (even later when trying the leftovers), we just couldn't give it a very high value score.

Overall score for the Buckhorn Grill at the Stoneridge Mall: 3 points. Not bad if you're already at the Mall and want to grab a bite, but I wouldn't go out of my way to head there for the food. I must admit, if I'm at the Mall, I'd still prefer the Nordstrom Café over the Buckhorn Grill any day!

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