Optimistically Cautious

Saturday, November 04, 2006

Homefire Grill

Last night, a friend and I had dinner at Homefire Grill (18210 100 Avenue). I read about the restaurant a few months ago in Vue Weekly, but hadn't yet had the opportunity to check it out.

The dining room itself is painted in mute autumn tones, which helps to evoke the cozy atmosphere the name suggests. On the other hand, perhaps I've been brainwashed by too many Restaurant Makeover viewings, but eateries that attempt to cater to every possible crowd often end up diluting their overall quality. Homefire Grill seems to suffer from such an identity crisis. While the menu lends itself to family-friendly meals, and the Navajo-inspired symbols that adorn the walls, sconces, and drop lamps provide a dash of 'mom's kitchen kitch,' the fireplace centrepiece and room-wide dim lighting create an environment more aligned with adult dining (I find food to be quite the afterthought in these reviews. Who knew I'd be more interested in the aesthetics?).

There were some interesting menu options (the "nice little salad" for one, and the buffalo meatloaf which I will surely return to try), but I settled on the country ham and pineapple pizza while my friend chose the Singapore sling stir-fry.

Although the pizza was somewhat tasty (the hickory smoked bacon flavored the generous topping of cheese quite nicely), the soggy crust prevented it from any elevation above the fare available in most high school cafeterias. The beef in my friend's stir fry was seasoned and grilled to perfection, but a lack of noodles and the use of frozen vegetables led to a dish that left much to be desired.

We split a creme brulee for dessert (actually quite unusual for me...all of my meals typically begin and end with an entree). Instead of the torched sugar we expected, the brulee was topped with a thick layer of caramelized sugar. It definitely took some effort to break through the coating to reach the disappointingly cool custard beneath. I'm not enough of a creme brulee expert to know what they did wrong, but the dish was disappointing, to say the least.

Reading over this review, I acknowledge that it appears I had a negative experience - and that wasn't the case. Our waiter was polite and attentive (he even took the time to tell us about Mick McGeough's blown call), and I would definitely recommend this restaurant to adults who are looking for a quiet, comfortable dinner venue. Next up on my return trip: buffalo meatloaf!

Restaurant interior

Centre fireplace

Country ham and pineapple pizza

Singapore sling stir-fry

Creme brulee

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