45th Grill is now closed
The expectations I have for a restaurant can vary from day to day/mood to mood. Something as innocuous as a busy carpet, lighting being too bright, a small stain on the ceiling, or how I slept the night before can tweak my focus and make me want to pan a place. Thank heavens I sleep on it. And thank heavens I have N to use as a sounding board.
Take the 45th Grill, for instance. Once I checked out their menu and website, I began to categorize them: upscale, romantic, etc. We drove into the Renaissance Inn's parking lot, unsure of where the restaurant was located until N spotted a coffee urn near a window by the Inn's front entrance. Okay, time to recalculate/re-categorize.
Now that you know approximately where my head was, let me clarify how long it's been since I've been to a motel's restaurant--decades (yes, I meant to add that 's'.) A motel restaurant is a breed unto itself. It's not a pub, it's not a diner and it's not exactly upscale--although, at first glance, it can appear that way. It's mainly about adding an additional service for their tenant's convenience.
The 45th Gill has a smallish dining room with somewhere around 10-12 tables. Diners can sit at a small bar with wine glasses hanging upside down overhead and a flat screen TV to watch. The interior has an overall updated, formal appearance with dark wood and cushy upholstered chairs. The night we were there, the clientele were just regular folks stopping in for a bite to eat.
We were greeted first by a young woman, who took us to a small table and filled our water glasses. There were two young men waiting tables, our waiter doubled as the bartender. Instead of ordering the specials, N opted for the rib eye steak with vegetables and garlic mashers, while I decided on the grilled salmon with a caper sauce, vegetables and a rice pilaf. Both of us chose to begin our dinner with a garden salad.
The salad was okay. I had hoped for both a variety of greens and the addition of more vegetables to make it special, since it was not included in the cost of our entrees. However, I was happy to have my dressing on the side. Our entrees arrived not long after we finished our salads. My salmon was cooked just as it should be and the lemon caper sauce was a nice compliment and didn't overpower the fillet. The flavor of my rice pilaf reminded me too much of "Rice A'Roni". N's rib eye was done to perfection with good flavor, and his obviously house made mashers were delicious. His only complaints were the lack of seasoning on the steamed broccoli and the feeling the chef went a little heavy with the salt on both the steak and potatoes. The lemon caper sauce on my salmon added a nice little pizazz to my broccoli.
By the time we were ready to share a dessert, we had heard the waiter tell several other tables about the special chocolate cake with raspberry sauce and ganache. We knew we had to try it. It was a sweet and tasty ending to our dinner out.
After my initial confusion about what to expect from the 45th Grill, I'm glad I had a chance to sleep on it.
[The tab: 4 well drinks (@$4), 2 dinner salads (@2.95), 2 entrees (15./23.) and dessert (5.95), for a total of $65.75.]
Mon. - Sat. starting at 4PM
Sun. brunch begins at 2PM
5188 Wittenberg LN N
Keizer, OR 97303