Monday, April 20, 2009

Sunset Terrace at Grove Park Inn (Asheville, NC)

For the first time since 2006, my parents left the confines of the west coast and have ventured out to visit me and my wife. So, to make the most of their visit, and to keep my mother occupied, I took them over to Asheville to see the Biltmore Estates.

After a morning of oggling the largest house in America, and wondering how I'd redecorate it -- I'm thinking that I'd put a seven-story waterslide into the main dining room -- we decided to head over to the Grove Park Inn for lunch, and to meet up with my wife who was travelling though the area on her way back from a work trip.

It was a gorgeous day outside, so we opted for the casual outdoor seating at the Sunset Terrace. Since it was lunch time there was no sunset, but the views of the Blue Ridge Mountains were nonetheless breathtaking.

The first time we saw our waitress was 10 minutes after we sat down. She ran though the specials, and then took our drink orders. About 5 minutes later, our drinks came, and she took our food orders. I got the Bruschetta Chicken Sandwich. Which was described as a "Springer Mountain Farms chicken breast, havarti, goat cheese basil spread, prosciutto ..." For my side, I chose onion rings -- I was in the mood to get a little grease with my lunch.

After a 30 minute wait (What the #$%&$!???) our food arrived. My sandwich was a little different that I was expecting. It was large, and didn't resemble the smaller bruschetta that I'm used to. Instead, it was simply an open-faced sandwich. The ingredients were good, and I had very few complaints about it. The chicken was char-grilled and flavorful, with a hint of sweetness from a marinade. In addition, it was still moist, and not over-cooked. The onion rings were good, and just what I was looking for.

Some of the other meals at the table left a bit to be desired.

My wife's steak sandwich was VERY fatty. The only piece I tried was so fatty that I had to spit it out -- it simply was't chewable. And they forgot to put salad dressing on my Mom's lobster salad (lobster over greens). To top it all off, I had to flag down our waitress twice: Once to get a coffee refill for my Dad, and next to get salad dressing for my Mom. The thing is, our waitress was just a few feet away from us, but too busy talking with other wait staff to notice that we needed attention.

All in all, this was a disappointing experience. For the price, I had expected better service and food. Then to top it all off -- they added a service charge for only four people!! Sadly we left our waitress a small tip, because we were tired of waiting for the change. If it weren't for the view and the weather, this lunch would have been a waste.

Atmosphere: 5/5
Food: 3/5 (my sandwich = 4/5, my wife's = 2/5 so I gave the average.)
Service: 1/5
Total: 9/5
Price: $$ (My sandwich, drink and service charge came to about $20)

Conclusion: Great view, ok food, and negligent service. We would've been better served at McDonalds.

Restaurant Info:
Sunset Terrace
Grove Park Inn
290 Macon Ave.
Asheville, NC 28804
(800) 438-5800

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