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Wichita

Granite City, Wichita: report

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Granite City, Wichita: report

bishopsbitter | Sep 19, 2005 07:02 AM

I always thought the name "Granite City" came about because one of the main brewmasters was a Scots laddie (presumably, I assumed, from Aberdeen). Seemed logical but in fact it is the site of the first Granite City Food and Brewery in St. Cloud Minnesota that spawned the moniker: St.Cloud is also a "Granite City".

Anyway, we visited Sunday Sept 18. It is open at 10am (versus 11 M-Sat) Sundays, because they feature a brunch buffet. Business was brisk and we were generally impressed.

Private pilots might be interested that this is very convenient for both Jabara and Beech fields, located as it is on Webb Road.

Greeted at the door by a veritable mini-coven of waif-like Goth girl-hostesses in black. None over 105 lbs and obviously not copious beer drinkers. We had a bit of an unfortunate start being led to a table obviously strategically located close enough to the buffet to help yourself *without* getting out of your booth. Unfortunately we hate and despise buffets and I requested a table "away from the buffet" whereupon we were led to a booth even CLOSER to it. I then resorted to airplane lineman hand signals to indicate A-W-A-Y from the buffet. So we got sent to a table having exhausted our booth potential. More stress than necessary. Also I hate the slightly cheesy intimation that, had we had the buffet, "the closer the better."

Anyway, we then got a good waitress and things improved. A couple of pints of IPA also did no harm in this regard. Shame they do not offer a cask ale at room temp. (This place is distantly related, by bloodlines, to "Sherlock's Home" the place I have not recovered from its closing 2.5 years ago.) The IPA is the opposite of good bitter. It initially tasted pretty good, but after a while became "blah". A good bitter initially tastes great, and only gets better (especially if washed down with a side of pickled onions and Scotch Egg.)

But we understand, "Sherlock's" went out of business so perhaps this is a pipe dream.

The meal was good. The only negative was the pacing. I have discusssed (yea ranted) here also about salads and main courses getting piled up on your table while you've just started your appetizer, should you not "keep up the pace." I despise this habit, but also admit that obviously most Americans prefer the opposite: having their meal's pace determined FOR them at the discretion (and for the convenience) of the kitchen. I am of European extraction so I defer to the New World way of doing things and try not to have a fit about it.

Let me say to all: TRY THE MUSSELS starter. This was a little masterpiece (mind you, can't go far wrong with mussels ever) in tomato, cream and basil sauce. Quite sufficient to share and very well suited to dunking the sauce with the provided bread.

The other starters are quite interesting with a good deal of crab featured.

As per above, we'd only just started the appetizer when my wife's main course arrived, and also an apology that my London broil was on its way and there'd been a mistake that they'd made a sandwich instead of the real thing. This apology was in a way unnecessary for I was in no hurry, and it had been no time anyhow since we ordered. I could just as well have gone blissfully unaware of the difficulties back in the kitchen. Although my wife's pasta sat there in its getting colder, an unhelpful reminder to bolt our mussels a.s.a.p.

She had chicken lasagne. She reckoned it was the most unusual one (but not unpleasant) she'd had. I had the London broil. This was a surprise when it arrived. The broil had already been sliced (even though cooked to order: rare) and sauced with the bourbon sauce. On the plate was sort of like a mini "pile" of BBQ pulled pork or some such in appearance, mixed with the sauce. It tasted good, but it was simply initially unexpected in not being a "slab of meat". Meat, very flavorful. Perhaps next time the sauce on the side might please some carnivores with only a partially sweet tooth.

By the way if it sounds like we did not enjoy this, absolutely wrong. We enjoyed it a lot.

We finished off with a turtle cheesecake. It completely vaporized off the plate like dry ice.

We schmoozed a little bit with the obviously very able manager. We caught up with some news and gossip about folks we knew from Sherlock's Home days. We gave our waitress excellent marks. All of the bussers and waitstaff were well above average (and then some) for this part of the country and appeared to be genuinely interested in your happiness and well-being while you dined.

The buffet was scouted and I saw good choices of meats and sausages (lack thereof is always expected at breakfast buffets but zero worries here).

Big screens to keep you apprised of sports and such. Music not too loud or intrusive.

This location opened July 4-5 2005. It appears to be doing stuff right. And after a few pints even the hostess-Goth's "avec attitude" appear more like what they are: small town girls, barely out of high school with unusually high self-esteem and predilection to a diet of water crackers.

Good grades for food, value and service overall.

As I reread this I feel I have not stressed the positives of this enough. In our part of the world (I live in Oklahoma and made this trip especially to try Granite City) there is so much utter **** purveyed to the dining-out audience perhaps one should not overlook how much better this is. So much so that I have started to criticize on a big-city level.

Plus, they have only had a month or two to settle in and I think some rough edges will be smoothed soon.

Best meal in a while.

Thanks for reading.
bb

Granite City Food and Brewery
2244 North Webb Road
Wichita, KS 67226
(316) 636-5050

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