Hickory Bar and Grille
 Hermitage, PA        Date of Visit  02/05/11            


I have fond memories of meals at the Hickory Grill in Hermitage based in part on family meals with folks who arenít able to join us anymore. My favorite will always be my Dad sitting under the enormous buffalo head hanging over a particular booth gnawing his way through a rack of ribs. The Hickory is a nice looking place that is always filled to the brim with folks hidden away among the dark wooden booths or tables. It had been a while since we had stopped in and made the journey into PA for dinner. We luckily made it just before the dinner rush (not so much luck, my Mom was pardoned early from work) and got a table after just a few minutes wait. The menu is not extensive but varied and we took a shot at differing proteins.



Hot and Tasty

Hot crusty rolls were dropped off at the table with whipped butter and were quickly followed by the starters. I tried the beans and greens soup and everyone else had a salad. The soup was an interesting take on the classic beans and greens with chicken stock and stewed tomatoes bringing it into the realm of soup. The salads were fresh and crisp and the bleu cheese dressing had enormous chunks of pungent cheese. Everything started off fresh with a high mark on the yum factor. Steph ordered the ribs, my mom the fried chicken, my brother the almond crusted orange roughy and I ordered the special Cajun sea scallops on the recommendation of the server. There were a couple of disappointments during that night which were quite a surprise.

My momís chickenÖand there was a lot of chickenÖwas simply devoid of any seasoning at all, even salt. It had a nice crunchy crust and the chicken was moist but didnít even taste much like chicken as the buttermilk bath seemed to have broken down the flavor in addition while tenderizing the meat. Not bad just not good. The other miss for the night were the veggies served with my meal. Since the scallops came over rice steamed veggies sounded like a better option than another starch. I should have ordered one of the huge bakers. When you touch the stalk of a broccoli floret and it offers no more resistance than butter sitting in an 85 degree room, thatís tragic.

Beans and Greens Soup

Fresh Salad

Bleu Chunks of Awesome
Lots of Chicken; Very Little Flavor

Redemption on the Bone

Almond Crusted Orange Roughy

To make matters worse they had stalled my brothers veggies and brought them to the table a minute later steaming hot and with a breath of life still in them. To be fair the server did ask if there was something wrong with them before taking the plate away, and offered to replace them, but at that point I had gotten bitter enough to have lost interest. The scallops were cooked well and the cajun sauce was well seasoned and tomato based, good enough to make the veggies all the more diappointing.

Johnís fish was tender and flaky with a tasty nutty crust and was topped with a caramelized pineapple butter that added a beachy flair to the dish. I will bet his vegetables were far superior to mine. I am not a sweet potato fan but did steal of bite of my momís baker and it was actually pretty good, even to me. The ribs are tender and of a braised variety that peels from the bone with a look. With a sweet but hint of spice sauce the ribs make for a tasty dinner. We had planned to order the full rack and take half home but once we all started picking the second half never stood a chance. All that was left was a bone pile. Seldom is everything perfect on a night out, and tonight was not the best experience we have had at the Hickory Grill but overall it was still pretty good, veggies aside. From here on out it will be ribs n tater, but we will be back.

One of These Things is Not Like the Others!!!




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