Hotel dining can be characterized as mediocre at the best of times, especially at lunch time. However, Allie’s American Grille at the Marriott Hotel in central Richmond is a pleasant surprise. Kitty corner from the Bay at Richmond Centre at the intersection of Westminster and Minoru, the American Grille is easily accessible for those shoppers wanting an alternative to the food court at the mall and to the countless Asian eateries which dominate central Richmond.
Having been to this restaurant on several previous occasions, the American Grille does not cease to disappoint. The service is gracious and efficient, important for business lunch hours. It can accommodate large parties easily and pre ordering is welcome. Large floor to ceiling windows dominate half of the dining room, making it bright and airy. Wood furnishings and trim provide a warm environment to enjoy your meal.
The restaurant has a fantastic lunch menu with offerings ranging from soups, salads, wraps, sandwiches, and entrées. Although not labeled as “heart healthy”, the menu offers a wide range of seafood choices from seafood chowder ($6.50), a blackened halibut sandwich (11.95) to linguine with smoked black cod ($18.95). There are several low fat / low carb choices for those watching their health; surprisingly, there is only one vegetarian sandwich selection (open faced garden sandwich ($10.95)). No vegetarian entrees are offered.
My favourite lunch meal is the steak and blue cheese salad ($13.95). A steak, cooked to your specifications, topped with crispy fried onions, bacon, a hard boiled egg, and blue cheese, is served on a bed of greens in a pepper cream dressing; this entrée salad is large enough to satisfy a hungry appetite, but light enough to prevent a nap after lunch. Another specialty salad, the spiced prawn and avocado salad ($13.95), is served with a light lime vinaigrette dressing which doesn’t overpower the delicate flavours of the prawn, avocado, and papaya. The Dungeness crab cakes ($11.95) are another favourite as it is served with a nice coleslaw, mango and chili sauce.
For a refreshing change, rather than hit the fast food lane, you should treat yourself to a delectable lunch at Allie’s American Grille, dished up by a team of well trained servers in an airy open dining room.
Reviewed by: Sandy Copping
Last reviewed: January, 24th, 2006