“So, do you want to try out Temple Grill tonight?”
“Can’t we get some Thai food instead? You know I don’t like red meat.”
“Fine. It’s not like you eat anything besides salad anyway.”
“That’s just due to a lack of alternatives in the dining hall! Can’t we get sushi?”
“No! I’m really hungry!”
“You know what? Why don’t you just go out with one of the guys. I’ll eat alone in the dining hall.”
“Hmm … Okay, we’ll go to Thai Taste.”
Yes, men always give in. How can you persuade a militant red meat-hater to go to a place with “grill” in its name?
But at every meal Max tried again. And one day Simone relented.
From the inside, Temple Grill appears to be a mix between an upscale sports bar and a steak house. In the evening, the lights are dim and the restaurant is bustling with a mix of clientele — from couples on dates to Yankees fans sitting at the bar. Luckily, we arrived early (around 6 p.m.), so there were still seats available; Temple Grill does not take reservations and quickly reaches its capacity on weekend evenings. We were seated at a table for two near the center of the room, and from where we were sitting, Max could clearly see the game on television (although Simone wasn’t sure that was such a great thing after all).
Simone, an avid seafood lover, started with a yellowfin tuna carpaccio with wasabi aioli ($9) — which was more like a tuna tartar than a carpaccio but was still very good. The carpaccio had a Japanese flavor and didn’t seem to fit in with the rest of the menu in this American-themed steak house. After the appetizers came, Simone decided to order a salad, even though only an hour before, she had once again complained about how tired she was of eating salad in the dining halls.
“I thought you weren’t ordering salad tonight,” Max grunted skeptically.
“Well I hadn’t realized that these are not your average dining hall salads … I can choose among shrimp, mahi mahi and yellowfin tuna, 21 types of vegetables, four types of salad leaves …” Simone responded before continuing to fill out her customized salad card. “I am getting an arugula salad topped with grilled gulf shrimp!”
Simone, in her ramblings, left out the fact that the customized salad cards offer choices of grilled flank steak and rare roast beef. Upon seeing this, Max decided that he would have to come back for a salad lunch another day.
Max got the house salad ($4.50) to start, followed by the 10 oz. filet mignon served with mashed potatoes and wild mushroom sauce ($28).
“Mmmh, this steak is amazing. Rare and juicy; just how I like it. Want to try the mushrooms?” Max gestured towards a sauce laden with large chunks of wild mushrooms.
“Well, are you sure it didn’t touch the …? Mmm, yeah I guess it’s quite good.”
“How was the meat?”
Max, always trying to convert Simone into a meat-lover, managed to sneak a piece of steak into her mushrooms. Unfortunately his efforts have never been successful.
“It’s tolerable,” Simone mumbled as she chugged her Diet Coke.
Overall we liked our Temple Grill experience; the food was fair, the service was attentive and the prices were germane. It is a great date place for the couple with a non-intersecting set of taste buds, and it’ll do for a salad lunch near the Criterion Cinema. Temple Grill also offers wraps ($8), burgers ($9) and customizable pasta ($12.50). It unfortunately lacks the romance of other New Haven restaurants, partially due to the too fast arrival of food and the slight feeling of being rushed, as people queue at the door for a table. Our verdict: Good place for a pre-movie dinner but not as a first date, since it offers the guy too many opportunities (read: televisions) to ruin his chance of a second date.