118 Shawan Road, Suite DD, Hunt Valley, MD 21030
I've always loved Hunt Valley. It's such a cute place with great shops, and good places to grab a bite to eat. Until recently, I had only been to California Pizza Kitchen, Sakura, and Carmine's. (Carmine's is absolutely delicious, great pizza, great salads, and reasonably priced.) Just last week, I tried the new Barrett's Grill, which is the old Greystone Grill. (From what I heard, Greystone Grill was terribly overpriced.) Anyway, as soon as you walk into Barrett's, it is extremely aesthetically pleasing. Beautiful grey and blue stone outline the walls, a large rock fountain greets you as you walk in, a wall full of bottles of wine from floor to ceiling, and everything is open and bright.
The truth is, I went there for an interview - to be their Events Coordinator. The general manager, Robert, greeted me and let me know they were taking care of a large party (12 people) and asked if I would wait in the lounge. I did, and a nice waitress brought me an iced tea. As I waited, I looked around. The lounge had a nice flat screen on the wall, but that was the only television. I really liked that about the place. The lounge seemed to have a nice stock, and I imagine it gets pretty full on the weekends. I noticed there were too many servers on the floor, though. Including me, there were probably 10 other customers in there. They could have gotten away with two servers, but there were four there, I think. Not good for overhead if ya ask me, but who am I to judge?
Speaking of judging... on to the food. Every time I go to a new place, I have to get an appetizer and an entree. Research purposes, of course. I saw Shrimp Cargot on the menu, and was intrigued. Six large shrimp served "escargot-style" in a garlic butter, topped with Havarti cheese. Truthfully, anything drowned in garlic butter and topped with melted cheese sounds good to me, so I opted for it! Also, since the menu is very limited, it took me about 20 minutes to figure out I also wanted the Sashimi Salad, which consisted of Sesame-Crusted Ahi Tuna, Mango, Avocado, and a Ginger-Cilantro Vinaigrette.
My "Shrimp Cargot" came out quickly, and looked amazing! It was served just like Escargot, in the little bowl with the holes in it (eloquent, I know). The shrimp were swimming in garlic, butter, herbs, and cooked perfectly. Melted on top was Havarti cheese -- it was almost like eating French Onion Soup. It was served with crispy, fresh baguette to schlop-up all that good butter, too! I would definitely suggest sharing. I could only eat two shrimp before I felt like my arteries were shutting down as I sat there. After I boxed up my shrimp, I finally decided I wanted that salad. About ten minutes after I ordered, the salad came out. It was gorgeous! The tuna was cooked perfectly rare, just as tuna should be. It was crusted with toasted sesame seeds -- two different kinds -- and served on fresh mixed greens. The salad sat high in the plate, as if it was prepared two feet from my table. It was dressed so perfectly that the greens didn't wilt under it's heaviness. There were cubes of mango and avocado sitting along the outside of the bowl, both extremely fresh. Just look how beautiful it is!
I believe Barrett's Grill can take over as the premiere place in Hunt Vally, as long as they get some advertising and marketing under way. They have a perfect area to host indoor/outdoor events, and they are in a prime location atop the complex, right next to the movie theater. After dropping prices, changing the menu, and coming in to their own, I believe Barrett's Grill can be a successful new restaurant in a crappy economy.
Now, if only they would have realized, I could have helped their promotional stature greatly. I could have created the lunch crowd they need, improved their event coordination, and made them an all-around busier establishment. One of these days, I hope a restaurant will realize how much I could do for them. Fingers crossed.