Thursday, February 12, 2009

Garlic City's Hidden Secret; Fine Dinning In Gilroy.

Gilroy California has long been known as the garlic capital of the world, but it has definitely never been referred to as a culinary destination. If you are looking for fast food franchises, chain restaurants, and taquerias; Gilroy has you covered. But what do you do if you are not in the mood for burgers and burritos?

The Westside Grill is a hidden jewel in this town of cheap eats. Located at the corner of Santa Teresa and Hecker Pass Highway, you would probably drive past it if you didn't know what you were looking for.

Opened in 2006, The Westside Grill has rapidly become a local Gilroy favorite for lunch, dinner, and now on weekends, brunch. Offering a standard menu, and an ever-changing list of daily specials, the Westside Grill is open seven evenings a week for dinner, Monday thru Friday for lunch and on Saturday and Sunday for brunch.

I have been to the Westside Grill on several occasions and for today's lunch light fare seemed appropriate. I ordered the soup du jour; chicken tortilla soup, and a Cobb Salad. My dining companions today ordered the tortilla soup and a Steak Caesar Salad and the Prime Rib Sandwich from the specials menu with a cup of Lobster Bisque. The Lobster Bisque is a specialty of the Westside Grill and is always on the menu.

The Chicken Tortilla Soup was quite delicious and perfectly seasoned with just a few crisp strips of tortilla for texture and flavor. I was expecting a light brothy soup and was surprised to get a slightly heartier version that was partially pureed. The Cobb Salad was quite nice as well, served with vinaigrette and some blue cheese dressing which I requested. The greens were crisp and fresh and the addition of snow peas added an extra sweet crunch. The bacon was perfectly cooked and the chicken was served warm. Sliced hardboiled egg and Gorgonzola were fresh and delicious atop the greens and garnished with grape tomato. To be honest I don't recall if there was actually any avocado on this salad, in any event it was quite wonderful so shame on me for not noticing.

While I did not taste the other entrees at the table they were presented with equal care. The Prime Rib Sandwich was served open faced, sliced thin, and piled high. There was a rich jus over the sandwich and mashed potato. The Steak Caesar Salad was served in classic manner with shredded parmesan cheese. The steak appeared to be cooked nicely.

While the food was good there were a few glitches with the service. Perhaps the midweek lunch shift has them running lean. The tortilla soup was served in a crock that was cracked all the way through the bottom and my knife had some bits of dried food on it.

When we ordered our lunch the person with the Lobster Bisque inquired if it would be counted as the "soup or salad" that came with the special and was told yes. Later when the bill arrived there was a $2 upcharge for the soup. We questioned the up-charge and were told the bisque was more. Upon reminding the server that we inquired at the time, specifically about that order, her response was; "I said that because when I tell people it's two dollars more they don't want it". She went on to comment about how she just finished arguing with table 34 about the same thing. I suspect a possible training point may be presenting itself here.

All in all, the Westside Grill is a good find in Gilroy. The food is great and the atmoshphere is friendly and casual yet still upscale. We will be back despite the deception.

The Westside Grill
8080 Santa Teresa Blvd.
Gilroy, CA 95020

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