Sunday, December 2, 2012

Shula's 347 Grill

I've wanted to try Shula's 347 Grill for some time and we finally did. I'm glad we went there and we will be back for sure. We first had a bit of Shula's food at the Taste of Sanford in September of 2012. Though the purist in me complained that it's not a Sanford restaurant, but in Lake Mary, what we sampled there that night was the best bite of the Taste of Sanford, no doubt. So, when my friend Tommy's birthday rolled around, he got a coupon for a free entree with purchase. I figured it was a good time to give Shula's a try, and we had a great meal and experience there. 

First, a word about the service. Throughout our meal there, it was about the best dining experience I've ever had. We were taken care of completely. Our waitress, Catherine, did everything right, from replacing silverware to ensuring our glasses were full to making sure everything was to our liking. It really was top-notch service, on a par to the finest places I've ever dined.

We started out with an appetizer, the Sweet Chili Shrimp. It was very good. Small peeled shrimp had been lightly breaded, then tossed in a sweet chili glaze with a bit of cilantro. They were served on a bed of red and green cabbage and topped with a few scallions. The were absolutely delicious. The shrimp were perfectly cooked, warm and tender. The sweet chili glaze was not overly hot but still had a gently heat to it. The cabbage itself was delicious because a bit of the chili glaze flavored it.This was a wonderful dish and I'm sure I'll return and order it again.

My friend Tommy (the birthday boy) started his meal with a Fish Chowder that was very good, creamy and delicious. It had some nice chunks of potatoes in it and the fish itself was tender and flavorful. The broth was rich, creamy, and velvety. A nice, hearty start to the meal.

I opted to start with a house salad with the house raspberry vinaigrette on the side. It was a delicious salad Fresh mixed greens were the bed. It was accompanied by some nice thick slices of cucumbers, a few tomato wedges, some boiled egg, julienne carrots, bacon, and croutons. It was a very good salad, light (well, without the bacon and egg!) and fresh-tasting. The homemade raspberry viniagrette was delicious, nice and tangy with a gentle, subtle raspberry flavor.

For his main course, Tommy had the Double Cut Pork Chop. The thick-cut pork chop had been brined in a citrus brine and was served with sweet potato fries, grilled asparagus, and a bit of grilled apple. It was a very good pork chop, tender and juicy and flavorful. Probably not the best pork chop I've ever had, but it was right up there near the top and better than most. Everything on this plate went well together, too. The asparagus was fresh-tasting, tender and delicious. The sweet potato fries cooked just right and not at all greasy. This was a very good meal.

I chose the Pan Seared Shrimp for my meal, and it was a good choice. The shrimp were garlic-rubbed, then lightly pan fried, cooked just right. And they were jumbo shrimp! They were served on a bed of lime infused risotto--the risotto was very creamy and soft and the gentle taste of lime brought a nice highlight to it. This was all covered with a bit of citrus beurre blanc which added to the citrus notes of the dish. I had mine with haricot verts, fresh green beans, and they were cooked perfectly, nice and crisp. The whole dish was garnished with a few onion rings which added to the taste and presentation. I was very satisfied with this dish and ate ever last bit of it. Wonderful!

Finally, since it was Tommy's birthday, Shula's added a very nice touch. No, there wasn't any of that tacky "Happy, Happy Birthday" singing by all the waitstaff--this is a classy joint! But they  brought out a very nice dessert for us to share, a thick chocolate chip cake-cookie with ice cream, whipped cream and some raspberries, walnuts and chocolate and caramel garnish. Not only was the presentation beautiful, but it was very tasty. The chocolate chip "cookie" was warm, rich, tender, and tasty. But on top of this was the one thing that put this dinner over the top: they also presented Tommy with a birthday card that had been signed by all the restaurant staff! Now that was truly impressive. 

Overall, we had a great experience here from start to finish. Just one other thing to mention, and that's the price of a glass of wine. It was a bit steep at $9!  Next time I'll only have one! But when you take the wine off of our bill, it was a reasonable price for a very nice dinner. Of course, we did have that coupon. Hmmm, wonder where we'll go when it's MY birthday?  
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