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“Pleasant Dinner with Friends”
Review of Downtown Grille

Downtown Grille
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Ranked #12 of 566 Restaurants in Charlottesville
Certificate of Excellence
Price range: $16 - $50
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Restaurant details
Good for: Bar scene, Business meetings, Romantic, Special occasions
Dining options: Late Night, Dinner, Reservations
Dining style: Casual Elegant
Cross street: 2nd
Description: The Downtown Grille, located on Charlottesville's historic downtown mall, serves only the finest in Midwestern corn-fed beef and fresh seafood. The restaurant has an extensive wine list which has been honored by The Wine Spectator with the Award of Excellence every year since opening in 1999. The Downtown Grille's lovely architecture and warm professional staff lend a superb ambiance to an already exquisite dining experience.
Reviewed June 19, 2013

A group of five of us were walking along the Charlottelsville outdoor mall and decided we would like to try the Downtown Grille. Good choice! We went in and asked for an outside table and they accommodated us even tough we did not have a reservation. Our waiter was a nice, friendly young man and did a fine job for our table. The wine list was large and we enjoyed our choices. The menu is full of separate items for your entrees and sides. We decided to each order their own entree and then share several sides. Another good idea since the sides are quite large and we had plenty to eat. One of our best dinners in Charlottesville!

As a side note, the steak knives are fantastic and I was able to purchase a set of four for a very reasonable price as a gift for my husband! And, we're from Texas!

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Thank Linda R
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Allison D, Guest Relations Manager at Downtown Grille, responded to this reviewResponded June 21, 2013

We're very happy you dropped in! Thank you for the nice review (and our sides just might be the size of Texas!). We hope your husband enjoys his gift:)

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335 - 339 of 412 reviews

Reviewed June 16, 2013

I recall eating at the Downtown Grille ages ago the first year it opened, and leaving unimpressed. Hundreds of dining out in Charlottesville experiences later, my wife and I returned this evening to have a nice dinner before attending a Jazz Concert at the nearby Paramount Theater.

Horrible mistake.

Take the other reviewers' word for it, this place is most notable for being "pricey". Put it in perspective, though. Among Charlottesville's other high end dining options, the DG is at least a good 10-30 percent higher than their competitors. In fact, you pay for an entree (sans any vegetables, or noticeable presentation of any sort, than what would be a two course meal at most. Add in a salad or appetizer, a side dish to go with your steak (or chops, or seafood), a beverage, and dessert, and you are deep into your cash or plastic.

Which would be kind of OK, IF the food were skillfully prepared, of unusually high quality, or presented with flair. No such thing. The cooks -- I hesitate to claim any chef in what looked like a quartet as disinterested and disorganized as four refugees from a local diner -- nearly ruined the un-ruinable -- what should have been a tender, tasty 12 oz. NY Strip steak. The food quality was that of a cheap steakhouse, and the preparation actually less skillful. A side of asparagus was badly undercooked -- though I have to say that is better than being overcooked. And a much heralded (by our waiter) Hollandaise sauce could not have been more bland. I guess you could say that it was equal to the bland "flavor" of the semi-raw vegetable. The Sea Bass was actually satisfactory, though nothing to gloat over. The salads were equally disappointing.

We shared a dessert -- the key lime pie. Also average. Also amazingly ordinary.

I would not recommend this restaurant for any purpose, except as a last option. And at that point, one might consider "eating downscale" at one of Charlottesville's many moderately priced dining options.

The service was actually good. The ambiance -- visually, quite nice, but on the dark (dim) side, and not in any "romantic" way. The restaurant is noisy, even though it was not near its capacity. Some may consider this to be "atmosphere". Not in my book. At least the place was not smoke-filled.

I do see that the establishment gets some high marks -- maybe that demonstrates what people are looking for in what is essentially a high-end steak and chop house. A convenient spot on the mall, a place to be seen, and a meal with an impressive tab. I'd take some time looking at other options -- one can almost randomly stumble on a better choice within the Charlottesvill Mall-Belmont area.

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Thank Eric S
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed June 2, 2013

This is a very nice steakhouse, with also interesting other dishes to keep the variation.
Its not cheap, but value is good - lots of attention to the dishes.
Nice staff that is very attentive.
I've visited several times over the years, mostly with a big group, but that is not problem for them.

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Thank trippsz
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Allison D, Guest Relations Manager at Downtown Grille, responded to this reviewResponded June 4, 2013

Thank you for taking the time out to write this nice review!

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Reviewed May 9, 2013

My husband and I had a very enjoyable and delicious dinner here. The atmosphere inside is very nice and comfortable. They specialize in steaks but also offer a number of nice seafood entrees. For starters we each had a salad: the mixed greens with sundried cherries was very nice; my husband had the tomato & onion with balsamic vinaigrette and roquefort crumbles. It was good except they were way too heavy with the dressing so you might want to ask for it on the side. I was glad that I had asked for my dressing on the side with my mixed greens salad after I saw how they drowned his. He got the 12 oz. New York Strip which was plentiful and perfectly cooked. He said it was delicious. I had the salmon entree (served over grilled tomatoes with a crab saffron cream sauce) and it was also delicious. They offer a number of side dishes which are meant to be shared. We had the potatoes gratin and it was a very large serving that was more than enough for 2 people. We also shared a chocolate torte dessert which was quite good and quite large enough for 2. Our server was very good; although, we wish he had not taken quite so long to get us our check at the end of the meal.

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Thank PK_Maryland
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Allison D, Guest Relations Manager at Downtown Grille, responded to this reviewResponded May 10, 2013

Thank you, very happy you enjoyed your meal!!

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This response is the subjective opinion of the management representative and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed May 8, 2013

Very good steakhouse fayre food and wines served in a rather too dimly lit area (atmosphere I was told while struggling to read the menu!), though there are outside tables on the downtown mall for summer days and evenings. Service was rather patronising with our waiter running through his whole "script" in a rather officious manner. Telling usfor example that "au Poivre" means its with a pepper sauce....well I know that and didnt really need telling. We shared an excellent deep fried Calamari starter and then I had the 16 oz NY Strip "au Poivre" and an excellent Seafood Linguini. I asked for the pepper sauce on the siide but when iit came it was smothered all over the steak. The server did spot this after his assistant had served it but a bit too late then, though he did offer to redo it. We both shared a cos lettuce salad but had to send it back as the balsamic dressing seemed a bit musty tasting - though we were assured it was all freshly made it just didnt taste great. Made to feel a bit stupid at this point. They were however replaced without too much more fuss and with different dressings and the second time all was fine. There was an extensive wine list but surprised how few Virginian wines available by the glass when they are making such good wines locally. Other than the above all in all a pretty good meal and at a reasonable price.

Thank GastroInn
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.

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