4421-115 Six Forks Road
North Hills, Raleigh
Entrees: $19 — $29
Closed on Sundays
I had never heard of the Midtown Grille before the Angus Beef night at Fire in the Triangle. Chef Scott James did not win the night, but as you can read in my write-up on Durham Foodie, I was quite impressed with his creative offerings, especially his bolognese with a goat and Ashe County cheese tortellini, portabella mushrooms, and basil. So when my friends’ trusty gourmet club chose Midtown Grille for last month’s outing, I was happy to tag along.
First, parking is a pain in this portion of the North Hills Mall across Lassiter Mill Road from the main conglomeration of shops and restaurants. You may be best served just parking in the deck in that main portion and walking over—parking was a hassle on this side. But that’s not the restaurant’s fault, though it was a foreshadowing of the evening to come.
Midtown Grille has an attractive, lime green patio area and a lackluster interior, like an upscale restaurant that’s trying for a hip pub feel but stopping short of letting too much personality come out.
Wood-framed mirrors hang by each booth that boasts muted, pastel patterns. The spiraling waterfalls of wine bottles by the bar area are fun to look at, and the many-bulbed chandeliers would be awesome if they weren’t incredibly dusty. I feel very nitpicky with those descriptions, but hey, this is all subjective. I subjectively like more pizazz in a restaurant’s atmosphere. I also subjectively choose not to mention service most of the time in a review, but sometimes, it’s off enough that I find it necessary. This was one of those evenings. It took a good twenty minutes after we were seated for anyone to approach us. They explained the delay — a mix up in which server had us — but service didn’t improve after that. Significant time passed between taking our drink orders, drinks being delivered, taking food orders, filling waters, clearing finished plates, waiting for food — you get the picture. We asked if this was an unusually busy night — the place was packed — and our server said no, it was normally that way. So … they were slow. And it was not only our initially abandoned table that experienced those delays, should that matter to you. But back to their wares!
Like many upscale restaurants, Midtown Grille has a long cocktail list that caters toward drinkers with more of a sweet tooth than I, so I opted for a bourbon cocktail rather than one that would remind me of dessert before dinner: the Kentucky Breakfast.
It’s made with Knob Creek bourbon, vanilla vodka, maple syrup, and soda and tasted mainly like watered-down bourbon. The vanilla vodka and maple had minimal presences, and I would have liked both to be more pronounced.by