With an open kitchen and stylish, modern decor, the Roundabout Grill was a pleasant setting for a casual, yet sophisticated meal with an old friend. While perusing the menu, I decided to take the edge off a long day with an old fashioned cocktail ($12), a mix of Bulleit Bourbon, orange and Australian bitters, and lemon peel. Though quite good, it was a disappointingly diminutive cocktail for the money.
Complimentary white cheddar biscuits served in a miniature cast iron skillet started things off. The crispy, cheesy biscuits worked surprisingly well with the provided honey butter. Orders of fish shack shrimp ($9), grapefruit and beet salad ($8), and East Coast blue fin crab cakes ($14) were shared by the table.
The battered shrimp were tender and tasty with a spicy sherry dipping sauce. The salad plate featured a crispy goat cheese croquette topped with walnut arugula pesto, in turn surrounded by an artful arrangement of pickled and roasted beet slices, sections of grapefruit brûlée and fresh basil. The combination of flavors worked amazingly well together.
Besting the shrimp in the “not your average shellfish” category, a pair of golden brown crab cakes were nestled atop a schmear of champagne sauce and topped with butter-poached lobster meat. I don’t think I’ve ever had a crab cake that was so loaded with high-quality, delicious crab meat. The addition of lobster was literally icing on the cake.
For an extra $5, you can add soup or salad to accompany the entrees. A small serving of corn and bacon chowder was rich, creamy and bac-o-licious—just the thing to warm you up on a chilly evening. Butter lettuce provided the foundation for the house salad, topped with pear, feta, pomegranate and pecan, and dressed with a very light vinaigrette. I thought it was just interesting, but my wife really enjoyed it.
An order of halibut fish and chips ($22) was served with seasoned, wedge-cut potatoes, apple coleslaw, and a really good malt vinegar and caper tartar sauce. The fish was moist, the batter crispy, and the coleslaw nicely tart and not too sweet. Bonus for spuds that tasted great au naturel, no dipping required.
A dish of housemade pasta ($18) included smoked chicken, local wild mushrooms, peas, fennel, roasted peppers, kale and smoked chicken broth. The noodles were akin to longer, chubbier macaroni, sans the tube. Overall a very fresh combination of flavors, and the chicken was perfectly done.
On the recommendation of our server, I chose chicken piccata with a caper and lemon zest beurre blanc sauce ($18). The tender breast filet was set astride a scoop of sweet butter potato mash, underlaid with corn and leek succotash. The presentation was inviting, and the flavors were complex-yet-approachable. Again, a perfectly cooked protein combined with flavors that elevated a common dish into something elegant and seemingly new.
We finished up with a slice of mocha crunch cake and blackberry creme brulee ($8 each). Both were decadent without being too heavy or rich—a great end to a great evening.