Wednesday, June 23, 2010

Township Grille

My friends suggested we try Township Grille last Saturday after our annual garage sale. This suggestion due to that none of us have been (we try places we haven't been... last year being Kaskav - RIP) and heard of the great wings there. So hungry and sun-tired, we headed on over.

We went in and found a table (seat yourself) and the waitress came up and took our drink orders right away. I ended up ordering jalepeno poppers as a starter. The poppers came out about 5 minutes and came out hot. There were 4 in the basket and served with salsa. They were pretty good but definately were the poppers from the frozen food aisle.

Our main order was:
Friend 1: 15 wings and fries
Friend 2: Chicken pita and fries
Spouse: Appetizer platter (wings, chicken finger, potato skins, mozz sticks, poppers)
Me: French dip and fries

Our food arrived about 10 minutes later and again - hot (you know me and my love for hot food). My french dip was served on a hoagie roll, topped with melted provolone cheese and served with a side of au jus. The flavor of the beef and au jus was average. I was expecting some salty/pepper taste or some other seasoning but nope. The fries were good - you can't go wrong with crispy, crinkle cut fries with season salt.

The spouse's plate looked bland and boring. Yes, it was a mess of fried food. The chicken fingers looked like tiny, burnt pieces of leather and didn't have much chicken and the potato skins lacked appearance and flavor (and does not compared to the best ones in town - Kristopher's). Again, the items on this dish all looked as if I could get them from the frozen food aisle. I guess it's the spouse's fault to order the appetizer sampler but usually you get better looking - and tasting items. I also snagged a couple of wings and YES - they were good. Nice and crispy and the sauce very flavorful with a slight hint of bite.

As for the friends' dishes, Friend 1 couldn't get over the wings. I thought that he was going to jump out of the chair and dance on the table as to how much he loved them. For Friend 2, I noticed that she did not eat all the pita but took a few bites then ate the items inside. She said it tasted good but usually if it's good - you eat the whole thing.

Leaving stuffed (and with heartburn), I didn't have to eat dinner that night.

I give Township Grille 3 ghosts. Mainly due to the frozen food aisle food and unseasoned french dip... but redeemed by the taste of the wings and fries.

10400 East Independence Boulevard
Matthews, NC 28105-4612
(704) 847-2480

Tuesday, June 22, 2010

Maria's Mexican Restaurant

My friend and I went to Maria’s the other day for the first time. A bright, colored place on the corner of Tyvola and South…

Upon entering we were seated quickly and given a basket of hot tortilla chips (nice!) and a small bowl of salsa (ahhh man). The chips were great and had a good crunch – nothing better than fresh chips. The salsa – however – was a little watery but did have a nice ‘bite’ to it. I only wish the bowl was bigger and the salsa had more veggie chunk (I had several refills since the bowls were tiny).

For my meal, I went with the lunch special – beef burrito, beef taco and cheese enchilada. My friend ordered the rojo burrito. Our food came out rather quickly (within 5 minutes of ordering) and plates were hot. I dove into the burrito first. A nice size for a combo lunch plate special. The beef was good and had flavor and there was a good layer of cheese on top. The red sauce on top of the burrito was also tasty and did not over power the beef. Next, the taco. I have been eating tacos like crazy lately and this ranks in the top 3 – nothing like a taco loaded with beef and cheese. Finally, the enchilada. Sometimes when I order enchiladas, they are not too hot and the cheese is not fully melted in the middle. This enchilada had enough melted cheese it was oozing out of the ends (leaving even more melted cheese to sop up with tortilla chips). The enchilada was good but the sauce on top was ok. I rather would have had the red sauce from the burrito on the enchilada as well.

My friend enjoyed their rojo burrito. This was a regular burrito with the rojo peppers – a good little kick.

I would go back again when I am on that side of town. Plus, it’s a quick drive from work to get a good, cheap lunch. I give Maria’s 3 ghosts… mainly due to the watery salsa. And I believe it is a step below my El Valle (which is four ghosts).

Go give it a try – don’t let the bright colors outside distract you away…

5234 South Boulevard
Charlotte, NC
(704) 525-5075

Monday, June 21, 2010

South 21

I have been quite busy so here is a long-awaited review.... South 21.

I went here after driving by it several times and seeing it on the Food Network. I know Guy (from Diner's Drive-ins and Dives) raved about it on his show - especially the onion rings. Well, here's my review of the place.

Upon entering, the place seemed clean and service was friendly. I ordered the Jumbo Cheeseburger (a Super Boy with Cheese) and onion rings. I waited about 5 minutes and bingo - my meal was ready. The burger on first glance looked pretty good as it was topped with lettuce, tomatoes, pickles and onions. I did notice that the burger patty itself was thin - like a McDonald's hamburger patty. So - having the two patties seemed more like a 'normal sized' burger. I took a bite and the cheese was melted nicely and oozed out. The bun was nicely toasted but the taste of the burger confirmed my initial glance of the thin patties. I was able to eat the burger pretty quickly.

Next, the onion rings. They were thin thin thin - just like the burger patty. I bit into them hoping for a gush of flavor - but nothing, nada, zeltch. No flavor in the batter and barely an onion inside the fried ring. I was very disappointed due to all the hype placed upon this onion ring. The onion rings were also very dry. No moisture+no flavor makes CLT Food Ghost a dull ghost. I had to use ketchup to choke a few more down.

Maybe it was an off day, but overall I was not impressed. And concluded that either Guy's tastebuds are wacked or he's a very good liar.

The service was great but the food... well... I give South 21 2.5 ghosts (with service saving them).
I can get a better burger elsewhere - one place being my own grill. Sorry South 21.

South 21 has a Matthews location which is more sit-down and the drive-in location up on Independence on the way to Uptown.