Saturday, November 18, 2006

Blue Star Grill

Blue Star Grill, in Arundel Mills Mall, offered me a mixed bag. Though I had a pleasant experience, I can't honestly say that everything I had there was, well, edible.

My evening started after buying tickets for the almost Twilight Zone-y, innovatively average Will Ferrell flick Stranger than Fiction (see it - it's interesting; but don't see it more than once). I stopped at Blue Star Grill and decided I wanted Mexican food instead. So I headed over to Chevy's, literally 1 minute away. Thirty-five minute wait!? So I crossed to the humongous DuClaw Brewing Company, "a restaurant/brewpub offering a dizzying variety of delicious American eclectic cuisine and Maryland's finest handcrafted beer" according to the Arundel Mills website. I've eaten there before, and the line didn't look as long as at Chevy's, so... FORTY-FIVE minute wait!? One other option was the Johnny Rockets, a place I had once eaten at visiting my sister in Phoenix several years ago (she's back in Bawlmer now). But the wait is almost always long - both before and after you get a table - and you have to be careful the servers don't start singing at the drop of a paper hat - one reason why I'd rather put a gun in my mouth than work at Johnny Rockets. Those people are crazy!

So Blue Star Grill it was. Very short wait. Guess I got there just in time, before all the other disgruntled people waiting standing around for the better part of an hour, trying to squeeze a 15 minute dinner in between their seating and whichever movie they were about to see. After a not-so-long wait, the waitress gave me a menu and I perused it, to find some conventional and not-so conventional American dishes. I almost chose the hamburger, but decided to try something a little more innovative. It was easy to find. In their "Homemade Entrées" section is the Spicy Pork Fusilli, a dish they describe as "tender pulled pork sauteed in fusilli pasta topped with habanero pesto and sour cream." Southern and Italian with a dash of heat and a dollop of sour cream? It sounded disgusting, but oddly intriguing, so I thought "What the hell?" I ordered a Sam Adams draft (after all the Guinness I've drunk lately, the Sam Adams tasted oddly like liquid bread) and waited.

The spicy pork fusilli was better than I had pictured in my head. The pulled pork and fusilli - curly hollow tube pasta - were well-blended together, but the pesto and sour cream were plopped on top in a very out-of-place crown. In the end I was glad they put it this way, because the pesto I could only take a little at a time. That habanero pesto was hot in places (that's the habanero pepper for ya). I love heat, but even I have trouble with habanero. But it was good, mixing it into the pasta and pork in small quantities. Swirling it all in a little sour cream made it taste even better, and took a little of the heat away. I would definitely order this stuff again!

I almost didn't order dessert, but I went for it, ordering the apple crisp. Now if anything could be considered a waste of money, it is the apple crisp at Blue Star Grill. It was all but inedible. With my first few bites, I just pictured the reactions of the Top Chef judges, Tom Coliccio railing against this. Inedible. Why? Well it wasn't the flavor, but the texture. Two very disjointed textures - the soft, cinammony apples, which by themselves would have been a good base for an actual apple crisp, and the rolled oats on top. Lots and lots of rolled oats, flavored in some sort of sweet, sticky coating of which there was desperately too little. It was like eating a poorly made "breakfast dessert" made in a real hurry. "Oh, super quick apple crisp! Let's just bury apples in oats!" That's about the size of it. No care in this dish. I finished about a fifth of this stuff before I just shoved it away. Bleeeaahhh.

The price wasn't so bad. The pork and pesto pasta (Say that five times fast; I just did!) was a modest $10.50, while the Sam Adams (not my favorite beer, I now admit) was $4.50. The apple crisp was $4.95, relatively expensive considering how good it wasn't.

I must comment that the waitress was very attentive, as was the maitre'd. And from my seat, I could reach out and literally swat at the mall goers if I wanted, as it was like sitting on a terrace or porch. Bathroom was clean enough for me (I am very picky about that.) I'd recommend it, but please avoid the apple crisp!