I've been in Granite Bay visiting my sister and family. Tonight instead of cooking (no leftovers from yesterday!!) we decided to go out for dinner. My sister and brother-in-law suggested the Horseshoe Bar Grill in Loomis. So off we went for a 7:30 PM reservation, which turned out to be unnecessary since the place was nearly deserted.
The Horseshoe Bar Grill is located in an old brick building and has recently - according to my sister - been renovated. The interior is probably best described as early Gold Rush/Bordello. Lots of deep red walls that had been antiqued, lots of deep, dark wood, and lots of exposed brick. The rooms are small, but intimate.
The menu is an interesting mix and covers most of the bases - beef, pork, chicken, duck, lamb, salmon, shellfish. There were several interesting sounding appetizers - Maryland Bluecrab cakes, Steamed Clams and Cockles, a funky egg roll dish, Ahi tuna 3 ways (for two), and 4 salads. We elected to have the tableside Caesar Salad. The salad waiter was personable, presented each of the key dressing ingredients and asked how much of each one we wanted, indicating he could go lighter or heavier on any of them, thus customizing the dressing to our tastes. I was also heartened to see that he did use a coddled egg. Tableside presentations are usually fun and almost always showy, but the food sometimes doesn't always match the drama. This salad did. The romaine leaves were crisp, the dressing perfect and no ingredient outshown the other. The meal was off to a great start. Unfortunately, the Caesar Salad was the high point of the meal.
Our first clue should have been when the waiter told us what WASN'T being served and the substitutions that had been made in normal menu items. Not a good sign. My sister had the Diver Scallops, which were supposed to come with potato gnocchi and spinach, but came with pasta and an unidentified green vegetable. But it turned out to be the most successful entree. My mother had the U10 shrimp special which came on pasta. The pasta and it's sauce were actually extremely good, the shrimp were tough, very tough. Tough shrimp are usually an indication the shrimp has been overcooked (inattention in the kitchen?). My brother-in-law and I both had the NY Strip Steak on Mashers. BIG MISTAKE. This was one of the WORST steaks either one of us has ever had. Oh, the steaks were cooked very well. I ordered rare, which is what I got, my borther-in-law ordered his medium-rare, which is what he got. The probelem was, you couldn't cut them, even with a steak knife. I think we could have forgiven them and just chalked it up to a bad piece of meat had only one of the steaks been bad, but with both steaks being tough, I'd question their meat purveyor. I've had flank steak that was more tender than these 2 NYs. The mashers were nothing to write home about, the ones I made for Christmas dinner were far better. But even worse than the steaks and the mashers were the green beans on the plate. Al dente does not mean "almost raw", which is what these green beans were. They also tasted as if they'd been soaking in some kind of fish stock as there was an over-poweringly fishy taste to them.
The day after Christmas is probably not the best day to eat out. And I'd be willing to bet that the kitchen A-Team had the day off. Service was friendly but lax and one of the bus boys could be seen lounging at an unoccupied table. My brother-in-law has said he will call them, not necessarily to complain, but to alert the owner to the fact that the meat was pretty bad and the overall dining experience left a lot to be desired. Knowing my brother-in-law I have a great deal of confidence he will do just that. We didn't complain while we were there because we didn't think there was anyone of sufficient responsibility there that would pass along the comments. Not to mention we had just complained about the totally weird Iranian folk music that was being played so loudly as to be annoying.
Prices at the Horseshoe Bar Grill are on the high side. The steaks were $24, the scallops $22 and the shrimp $22. Neither the quality of the food or the service warranted or matched these prices, which is also the reason I decided to post. My sister and brother-in-law have eaten there numerous times and never had a bad meal. Every restaurant can have an off night and I suspect that is what happened tonight. But if a restaurant is going to charge top dollar, it needs to be able to provide the food and service to equal the charge. That didn't happen tonight.