Starting a restaurant is hard. You have to prioritize; if you can’t be all things to all people, you’ve got to at least do a few things well. The McCullough Avenue Grill achieves that; their filet mignon was cooked to a perfection you might expect from a Park Avenue steakhouse. And their cod, the bane of most seafood restaurants more than five miles from a coastline, was flaky without being overcooked. In fact, the proteins were so well done that we wanted to order a chicken dish — something reviewers almost never do. Chicken is a no-win proposition for almost any restaurant. If it’s the slightest bit undercooked, it can be deadly; 30 seconds under a heat lamp and it can turn into jerky. So, sensing the kitchen was on a tear, we asked for it to go.
This, apparently, was an egregious mistake. The chef does not prepare “to go” dishes, and when I asked to speak to the chef, he demurred. Rudely. This is when the inadequacies that their food allowed us to look past became more obvious: The McCullough Avenue Grill advertises itself as a music venue, but there is no stage. There wasn’t even a musician; just an electronic keyboard parked next to a wall like furniture you only use for good company. And the bar, which can threaten to overwhelm the restaurant, had a large screen TV that was glued to a UFC bout; nothing tempers fine cuisine like a bloody canvas. But, to be fair, they did change the channel upon request. Simply having to ask for that made me wonder if they want to be a sports bar or a place for haute cuisine.
In the end, it’s hard not to recommend the McCullough Avenue Grill on its merit in terms of its menu. Nothing on the plate was even remotely objectionable. But it’s hard to recommend it because, until they get customer service right, or at least decide what kind of restaurant they want to be, it won’t be an advisable experience.
4230 McCullough Ave, Ste 2
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