The Windsor Court’s Grill Room is about the last place in town I’d expect to see a “Meat and Three” plate lunch. It’s something I’m more familiar with in a rural context, or at least a much more casual place than the ur-white tablecloth Grill Room.
But they’re running a plate lunch special at the Grill Room this summer, and while it bears only a technical resemblance to the sort of thing you’d find in more casual places, it’s damn near as good a deal if you factor in the quality.
It’s not the sort of food you’d normally find at a roadside restaurant. The bread they bring to the table is small, flaky biscuits made with chives and tomato. The butter is garnished with black sea salt. Soft jazz on the sound system never intrudes on what is already one of the more quiet dining rooms in town.
For the Plate Lunch, you choose between 5 “mains”: Abita beer braised short rib, crab cake, barbecue shrimp, grilled chicken breast and Gulf fish almondine. Then you choose three “sides,” which include an excellent Vietnamese noodle salad: chilled rice noodles with sliced bell peppers and sesame seeds in a light dressing; a casserole of farro and seasonal vegetables – in this case parsnip, mushroom and peppers – topped with a cheese crust; and crisp-roasted Brussels sprouts with a hint of chili butter. Those three are what I had at a recent lunch. All of them were very good, though I probably wouldn’t order the faro again; it was a bit dry. You can see the entire list at the restaurant’s website.
There’s also a dessert: three extra small scoops of very, very good sorbet (coconut, citrus and raspberry), but to be honest, I’ve had bigger portions as palate cleansers. I’m not a huge fan of desserts, so I was fine with it, but my guess is they’ll up the portions of the dessert before long.
When you see the portion sizes of the other dishes, you might think the same thing – they’re also smaller than the average appetizer at some restaurants. But I had the short rib and the sides mentioned above, and enjoyed it a great deal and certainly didn’t walk away hungry. The whole thing cost $19.84, and for the quality of the food, service and the setting, it’s one of the best lunch deals in town. That’s before you factor in the $2 martinis made with Plymouth gin or Tito’s vodka. Not that I know anything about that, but if I did, I would certainly be more clear when I ordered a martini (GIN IS THE ONLY MARTINI, BY THE WAY, “VODKA MARTINI” IS AN ABOMINATION) that I wanted it up, with a twist, and certainly not “dirty.”
I am told that, for $2, the martinis are of a generous portion.
The Grill Room is undergoing some renovations at the moment, but there is still a lot of room, and when I was there most recently, it was more full than I’ve seen it in quite a while. I’m also told a new chef has been hired, but my source wouldn’t give me a name. I concluded from my source’s reluctance that the new chef is probably former British Prime Minister David Cameron. Think about it: guy just left his job, he’s being evicted from his home, and the Windsor Court has always been a UK-centric joint.
You heard it here first: David Cameron is the new chef at the Grill Room.
Breaking News: I have just been informed that David Cameron is not the new chef at the Grill Room. Instead, the restaurant has hired Chef Gabriel Charpentier, who was most recently the chef de cuisine at Jill’s Restaurant and Bistro in Boulder, Colorado. Charpentier, I am told, took the position after turning down an offer to become the first French* Prime Minister of the UK.
I think he made the right choice.
*Charpentier’s status as a French person is unconfirmed at this time, primarily because your faithful reporter could not determine the answer after approximately 57 seconds of searching online. Your faithful reporter could also not verify that M. Charpentier was offered the position of British Prime Minister, but in this case it is almost certainly because your faithful reporter made it up.