I decided to go back to the J Bar (formerly Judson's) at the B.O.B. to see for myself if the new $12.00 Grill menu is worth the visit. I wasn't expecting a prime grade beef, but given the tough economy, this might be worth the experiment.
So after the East Grand Rapids Daddy-Daughter dance, my 10 year old daughter and I headed downtown for our annual dinner date. To my delight, there were still diners in the restaurant (8:30 PM on a Tuesday). After a short wait at the host stand, the friendly host sat us in a nice booth. We shared the "famous" pork buns and enjoyed every bite. I ordered the $12.00, 14-ounce NY strip steak, medium-rare, and my daughter ordered the filet, medium-well. We also ordered a side of green beans.
Here's our verdict: the strip steak was cooked and seasoned perfectly, however, it's lower grade quality was evident the moment I sliced my first piece. The steak was tough and dry - especially for a medium-rare piece. It was firm with hardly any marbling. My daughter's $12.00, 4-ounce filet shrunk to the size of a lacrosse ball and was even tougher (it was medium well - so it wasn't the kitchen's fault). The generous portion of green beans were delicious. The $12.00 steak menu brings people in, but not enough to bring people back. My suggestion: stick to the the regular steak menu. It's well worth the higher price tag.
Two days later, my friend Don MacKenzie invited my wife and I to Gilly's for some more pork buns (yes, it's that good). I also tried the banh mi sandwich, which tasted more like a an American steak sandwich, despite the traditional condiments of daikon, pickled carrots and mayonnaise (sesame-ginger). Instead of a pate, Gilly's serves their's with marinated hangar steak. They could have added more ginger to the mayo dressing. The general manager sent us a chocolate souffle with vanilla creme anglaise. Having served a million souffles during my stint in a French restaurant in the 80's, I must say that Gilly's souffle was wonderful.
Delicious Green Beans
Banh Mi with Hangar Steak
Pork Buns redesigned with julienne cucumbers
Fantastic Souffle with Creme Anglaise