Granite City

3809 Coldwater Rd.
Fort Wayne, IN 46805
Phone:   260.471.3030

Our recent visit to Granite City was not part of our regular "Elles" schedule; however, the opportunity to enjoy a girls' night out arose so we took full advantage.  Have you been to Granite City?  If not, you should put it on the short list and move it to the top.  You are unlikely to be disappointed.  From service, to atmosphere, to delicious food, GC is one of the better eateries around!

First impressions - 
We were greeted warmly and invited to either be seated or wait for the rest of our party.  Adams L and I arrived first and opted to eat outdoors.  A short time later, Allen L arrived and she was immediately shown to our table.  It was definitely a great "welcome" to the restaurant.  Kudos for creating an inviting first impression!

GC had a seasonal and specialty beverage menu - AHHHHH!  Given it was a Friday evening (TGIF) and it has been quite hot lately, we decided perhaps the best plan would be to have a wide variety of these signature cocktails.   I have a long history of loving blue drinks so I opted to begin my evening with Hpno Martini - it was pretty and that's probably the best thing I can say about.  Disappointing, nearly non-alcoholic, tart, and uninspired would be some other ways to describe it.  Definitely skip this one during your upcoming GC visit.

Adams L started off with a Strawberry fields.  It was thickened with strawberry puree and let me just tell you YES!  Although a Strawberry Fields martini is not original to GC, it is almost always a deliciously safe choice.  The sweet strawberry flavor and beautiful red color just screams summer refreshment.

This photo also allows you to check out a little of the outdoor seating area.
Allen L started her Friday evening off with a Hypno Cosmo Martini.  She had asked for a sugar rim (do you see one? Yeah, neither did we!).  As tantilizing as this drink's description was, the reality was pretty disappointing.  It had a weak cherry kool-aid flavor punctuated with a strong alcohol after taste.  As with my opener, feel free to skip this one as well!

Allen L's second "at bat" she fired up the evening with a HOME RUN.  This beauty is called a Granite City Stoli Cooler and all you need to know is to tell the server, "Yes, I'll take 1 (or 2)!"  The perfect blend of tropical flavors dances on your tongue and there is only one word that can be used to describe it, "MMMMMMM!".

Adams L ended her dining experience with an explosion of fruit infused wine - a Sangria Sunset.  Just look how beautiful, seriously, don't you just feel immediately transported to Spain!

Appetizers & Soup - 
Despite our server recommending several appetizers, Adams L went rogue and ordered Truffle Fries which were served with a balsamic vinaigrette dressing for dipping.   Unfortunately the photos we took were at the very end - hunger took over before photos could be taken, sorry!.  Adams L says they were worth trying - I say skip them.  The GC website describes them as French fries coated in our truffle infused oil and then tossed in seasonings and hand-grated Parmesan.  I'm describing them as greasy with a gross flavor (the truffle oil infusion).  We all agree they are a waste of the calories. 

Looking down into the wire funnel to see the last of the fries.

The wire vortex the fries arrived in. 
 GC is known for their Ale and Cheddar soup which is really delicious.  Despite it being 90 degrees outside, I just had to order a cup.  Here's how the GC website describes it:  Creamy cheddar cheese soup simmered with our Northern Light and garnished with toasted rye croutons.  You should definitely try it! 

While waiting on our food to arrive, Allen L decided we should try the Pretzels appetizer.  They were so fantastic (think warm, perfect Pretzely outer coating with a soft and chewy inside, and just the right amount of salt dancing atop).  Want to see a picture?  Sorry, they were gone in a flash!  You absolutely have to order these.  The dish is accompanied by a crock of cheese sauce for dipping - I'm not a fan of the cheese, but everyone I have ever shared these with love it.  The Elles think this appetizer could be improved if the cheese sauce were swapped out for a rich homemade spicy mustard or a cheesy mustard type dip.

Entrees - 
 The Elles have been dining together for more than 3 years now, and I have arrived at the point where I can just look at the picture and know which Elle ordered it . . . how about you?  I'm sure frequent readers can probably make some accurate guesses.

Adams L ordered the Mediterranean Chicken with broccoli and wild rice.  The scratch kitchen at GC puts together not only delicious food, but also serves it with such a beautiful presentation usually reserved for only the swankiest eateries.   The bruschetta accent was an interesting touch as the cold tomatoes intermingled with warm sauteed onions all served atop a perfectly prepared chicken breast.  Despite seeing the seasonings on the chicken breast, the flavors did not come through resulting in a routine, nothing special chicken breast.

I opted for the Walleye - can you see how HUGE of a filet it is?  It's rediculously large.  This would be a perfect entree to share with someone.  It's crazy big.  Unlike almost every other walleye dish I've eaten in FW, this one was perfectly prepared.  The breading was crisp and the filet was not greasy.  The blandness was a bit boring - I used salt and hot sauce to spice it up a bit but it still lacked flavorful depth to keep me interested.  Caution:  there were some bones in the fish which was a little annoying.  The entree was paired with garlic mashed potatoes which arrived slightly cooler than room temperature.  The lightness of the mashed potatoes was unexpected.  They were delicious and definitely homemade.  I was also given a side of cole slaw which generally isn't something I enjoy, but I was pleasantly surprised by the complex flavor and crispness of the slaw.

Allen L went way out of her normal routine and had one of the dishes that our server said was the absolute best.   She selected the Meat Loaf.  Here is how the GC website describes the dish:   Home-style meatloaf served open-faced on ciabatta bread with bourbon onion sauce, garlic mashed potatoes and crispy onion strings.  Allen L said the meat was served on the planet's most amazing bread (she would have loved the bread on the side rather than under the meatloaf).  As Allen L enjoyed her dish, she said more than once that it was indeed the best meat loaf she has ever had!  The sauce, which was a bit sweet, was the perfect compliment to the dish to pull the flavors together - unlike the traditional thick ketchup based red sauce which usually just leaves the meat loaf swimming in an abyss.  Her dish, like mine, came with garlic mashed potatoes.

As I stated earlier in this post, the GC kitchen is a scratch kitchen which means they make everything from scratch.  That brings a wonderful fresh and flavorful element to this eatery that is so often lacking elsewhere.  It's a refreshing change to have homemade foods at a restaurant.  Dessert was no exception.  Key Lime Pie was their 2 week special so of course, having Allen L in the group almost mandates us to order it.  It arrived and wow, immediately we could sense that this was something fresh and different!  It was served VERY cold.  So cold that about half way through it we ran into a frozen part.  We asked what that was about and were told that it was kept in a very cold walk in refrigerator where things are kept at a very crisp temperature.  As a result of the dish not being served perfectly, the manager, Jared, was brought to our table, who apologized and comped it.  We weren't mad and in fact, we had eaten every bite.  It was absolutely delicious - slightly frozen or not!  This slice of tropical heaven is a definite "must try".  It has a texture and a subtle flavor that makes it a rare gem and stands crust-and-cream above most others!

Service -
Simply exceptional.  I don't consider Granite City an exceptionally "high-end" restaurant, but it definitely comes with the exceptional service you would expect at a more elegant restaurant.  Our server was an honorary "L", Lorenzo.  He was extremely friendly and not at all irritating.  He was very busy, but we always had filled water glasses and we were checked on frequently.   He was a lot of fun and we were happy to have a 4th "L" with us. 

Final thoughts -
This is a great place to eat for so many reasons.  The prices are reasonable.  The atmosphere is business casual.  The food is exceptionally well prepared.  The shaded outdoor seating is quite relaxing.  The service is beyond compromise.  All-in-all, we're certain you'll enjoy your experience.

Until the next bite - 

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