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TRIPLE GEORGE GRILL

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Restaurant Type:

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The Downtown Grand

201 N. 3rd St.

Las Vegas, NV 89101

702-384-2761

website

$40-$60

Lunch Mon-Fri 11am-4pm

Dinner Daily 4pm-10pm

B-

AT A GLANCE

What is it?

A combination of an upscale comfort food diner and steakhouse.

Where is it?

At The Downtown Grand in Downtown Las Vegas.

What kind of food is served?

A mix of traditional steakhouse items and some American comfort food like fried chicken.

What is the atmosphere like?

The main room is dominated by a big bar so a little boisterous; the back room is quieter but has less personality.

How is the service?

Very good service throughout the meal, although it did take a long time to get the main courses.

What are the prices like?

Not bad compared to Strip restaurants but one of the more expensive in Downtown.

What else do I need to know?

Really good bread.

What's the bottom line?

This place has had its ups and downs but still needs some work to get back to its glory days.

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FULL REVIEW

This is the third time I have eaten at and reviewed Triple George Grill. The first was shortly after it opened years ago when the focus of the menu was American comfort food - meatloaf, fried chicken, and a few steaks thrown in for good measure. It was fantastic, affordable, and a lonely outpost of decent food in the Downtown area.

Then something changed and not for the better. The menu was refocused to be more steakhouse generic and the prices went up dramatically across the board. Less interesting food and less interesting prices? Sorry, but I was not a fan.

Now the restaurant is making changes again, pulling back on the steakhouse vibe and trying to become more of a little-bit-of-everything bistro. It's a welcome change of pace but something funny has happened along the way: Downtown dining got good. Whereas this restaurant had very little competition before now there are probably a dozen places in the neighborhood that offer really fantastic meals at similar, or even lower, price points. That makes the challenge for Triple George Grill even larger.

The space is still a winner, albeit a noisy one if you sit in the main dining room. A big bar dominates with some tables and cozy, high-walled booths ringing the room. There's a lot of hustle and bustle and so those looking for a quiet meal may want to request a table in the back room that is less interesting visually but definitely less hectic.

The meal started out with high hopes in the form of a warm loaf of bread accompanied by butter sitting in a pool of olive oil and garlic. Certainly a cholesterol bomb but delicious to the point where I ate too much of it.

From there though we veered off into less than impressive territory. Appetizers are steakhouse basic with things like crab and shrimp cocktail, bruschetta, and calamari not rising to the level of must-sample. The baked onion soup was good - hearty with a full head of gooey cheese - but not mind blowing. Perhaps that is an unfair expectation for onion soup but that's what I was looking for.

We also passed by the side and entree sized salads, which are more of the traditional variety: Caesar, beefsteak tomato, cobb, chopped, wedge, and the like. There is a filet caprese that caught our eye but ultimately we moved on to the main courses.

A small section of "Favorites" includes comfort food items like pot roast and chicken pot pie alongside veal scaloppini and a couple of sandwiches. The rest of the entrees come in seafood, chicken, steaks and chops, and pasta varieties with the aforementioned little-bit-of-everything scale. There's a filet mignon and grilled chicken fettuccini and buttermilk fried chicken and shrimp scampi to name a few examples and while it's good to have options it can make the menu and the overall dining experience feel a little scattershot.

We tried the pan-seared sole and a special catch of the day fish dish and both were very well prepared and flavorful but not exceptional. Ditto the buttermilk fried chicken, which had a little too much breading (which was unexpectedly spicy) and a pool of gravy that was too bland.

There was nothing expressly wrong with anything that we ate but there was nothing exciting or even especially memorable (other than the bread).

I also wish it were a few bucks cheaper. Compared to Strip restaurants it's a veritable bargain but for a Downtown restaurant it needs to be really fantastic to justify charging $13 for a hamburger and $42 for a steak. There are some more moderately priced items on the menu - most of the "Favorites," chicken dishes, and pasta are under $20, but once you add in tax, tip, appetizers, and the like you will quite easily go over $40 per person and could go over $75 with some of the pricier dishes.

The folks at the restaurant said that it is still in flux - that they are continuing to refine the menu and the food. I hope so because I really want to love this place again. For now, the best I can do is like it and with so many great Downtown dining destinations these days, that just isn't good enough.

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