By Fran Bellamy | Special toTthe Republican
Article Credit: MassLive
Occupying space in Holyoke Mall, 110 Grill’s first Western Massachusetts location replicates the formula that has made the chain one of the fastest growing in the Northeast.
A contemporary decor is the Grill’s visual stock in trade, while a mix of tables and booths defines the establishment’s seating options. An open kitchen gives customers a glimpse of back-of-the-house goings on; a large bar dominates one end of the restaurant’s layout.
The menu at 110 Grill is defined by what could be loosely termed “contemporary American” cuisine. However, the restaurant distinguishes itself with its high profile approach to food allergies. In addition to promoting a gluten free menu, 110 also takes pains to accommodate as best it can any food allergy a patron might have.
Starter options at 110 Grill include a Spinach Dip Bread Bowl ($12.50) and BBQ Chicken Nachos ($13.50) as well as several pizza-style flatbreads, Crab Rangoon Dip ($14), and Asian Calamari ($14) with sweet chili sauce.
Entree selections include comfort food favorites like a 110 Meatloaf ($17) and Pulled Pork Mac and Cheese ($16.50).
Fish and Chips ($17.50) and Chicken Piccata Gnocchi ($19) are on the agenda, as are inventive-sounding options such as Cuban Swordfish ($24) and Short Rib Risotto ($28).
Rounding out the menu are steakhouse-style selections; Baked Cod ($18) and a 14-ounce Ribeye ($32) are typical of the kitchen’s efforts in that area.
We began our dinner with an order of Bistro Wings ($12.50), a finger food favorite that can be customized with any one of three sauces. Handsomely arranged in a hammered copper pot, the eight wings were fat and meaty, although the garlic-parmesan “finish” we’d opted for seemed decidedly low key.
A crock of French Onion Soup ($7) proved praiseworthy thanks to its subtle caramelized onion sweetness, a flavor profile unsullied with the excessive salinity that so often afflicts onion soup. Served in the traditional manner — topped with a toasted crouton and melted cheese — the soup was a dish we’d readily recommend.
Our Bourbon-marinated Steak Tips ($25) had a sweet, boozy character, a flavor note that worked well with the grilled beef. The portion wasn’t exactly heroic; we counted only a half-dozen chunks of sirloin, and we commented that a bit more care could have been lavished on fat removal and trim.
Grilled Salmon ($23) was simply prepared and austerely garnished with a single lemon wedge; the option of having it “blackened” Cajun Style was an alternative that the menu suggested.
Entrees at 110 Grill typically include two sides from a list of nine possibilities. The broccoli served with our tips was simply steamed, and the roasted garlic mashed potatoes were creamy-textured and markedly mild. Jasmine rice, a side we enjoyed with our salmon, was freshly cooked and subtly fragrant.
Salad is not part of the entree package at 110 Grill, although the bill of fore does list eight such possibilities.
110 Grill locations are fully licensed, and the chain’s beverage program is ambitious, supporting a wine list of fifty-plus offerings.
For dessert, the Grill suggests the likes of an OREO Brownie Sundae ($8), a Coconut Key Lime Pie ($8), and a S’Mores Flatbread ($8), the last made by slathering a crust with hazelnut-chocolate spread, garnishing it with marshmallows and graham cracker crumbs, and drizzling the end product with caramel and chocolate sauce.
A Peanut Butter Cascade ($8) was an oversized sundae-style affair built on a brownie and featuring peanut butter ice cream.
The Apple Donut Shortcake ($8) relied on a cinnamon donut for its underpinnings; canned apple pie filling, vanilla ice cream, and caramel sauce completed the construct.
We’d described both desserts as sweet, satisfying, and decidedly oversized.
Supplementing the entree selection at 110 Grill is an assortment of sandwiches and burgers. Several vegetarian options are also available.
Focused on a strategy of graciously accommodating those with food sensitivities as well as the public at large, 110 Grill succeeds at delivering casual with a bit of class.
Restaurant: 110 Grill
Address: Holyoke Mall, 50 Holyoke St., Holyoke