Of all the times I’ve visited Gatlinburg, Tennessee, I’ve never got a chance to experience any of the fine dining experiences the area has to offer. Over the years, I have had a couple places mentioned like The Peddler, Park Grill, Cherokee Grill, and Howard’s but I’ve always found myself in a bind for time or under-dressed to visit those restaurants. The closest I’ve ever gotten was over a year ago when Haley and I walked up to Park Grill and looked at their menu. She decided against it because of the pricing and the fact that we were in T-shirts and jeans. This time around, I ended up tricking Haley into going. Luckily for me, she didn’t realize that it was the same restaurant as last time until it was too late. I did offer her other choices but she finally agreed based on the fact that Park Grill had a menu she actually liked and it included an all-you-can-eat salad bar.
Park Grill is located near the end of the infamous parkway that includes the strip of shops in Gatlinburg until you get to Great Smoky Mountain National Park. It’s hard to miss but if you anticipate trouble, just search for the Days Inn and it is across the street. The parking is very limited, so you’ll have to constantly drive up and down the side street and into Park Grill’s secondary parking lot located in the back until you find a spot.
Many of the buildings in the Gatlinburg area are fashioned in the likeness of old log cabins. Park Grill followings along the same lines but is more modern and resembles a very large lodge. On the inside you’ll find the atmosphere of rustic decor, a large mountainside mural above the kitchen, and a warmly lit environment throughout. Park Grill even contains a small gift shop with little trinkets which helps the time pass while you wait for your table.
One of the nice things I like about Park Grill is the “call ahead” seating. Had we arrived at the restaurant without calling ahead, Haley and I would have found ourselves waiting for nearly 45 minutes. Luckily that time was gobbled up during our transit and we only had to wait for about 20 minutes for our table.
After being seated, we were greeted by an emotionless, non-conversational server. His attitude displayed a sense of not wanting to be there, but his experience as a waiter made up for it. He did very well in regards to refilling our drinks, honoring our requests, delivering the food, and bussing our table. While I would have preferred a friendly waiter or waitress, I can’t complain because he did what he was supposed to do with no problems.
As for the menu, you’ll find a wide range of American and Steakhouse foods with a slight twist. After all, Park Grill is classified as a fine dining restaurant. Such examples of their twists are the Pecan Chicken (breaded with sweet pecan breading, fried until crunchy and finished with a buttery nutmeg cream sauce) or the Stuffed Shrimp (hand-battered shrimp stuffed with seasoned crab meat, fried and covered with a creamy seafood sauce).
Haley and I both ultimately decided on New York Strip steaks for dinner. Haley chose the 10 oz steak ($25.95) prepared well-done with a side of steak fries and I chose the 12 oz ($29.95) prepared medium-rare plus with the sautéed mushrooms ($3.95). Both steaks included the salad bar and dinner rolls as an appetizer.
The dinner rolls were small and fresh from the oven. The texture was extremely light and fluffy with a slight sweetness. They were so good, we asked for another basket while we munched on the salads.
The salad bar included your choices of romaine lettuce, mixed greens, and spinach as your base with a vast array of numerous salad ingredients, all amazingly fresh. I particularly enjoyed making my own salad because I was able to put what I wanted on it. Not to mention that it was all-you-can-eat as well.
Our entrees arrived on metal platters just shortly after we finished our salads and 2nd helping of dinner rolls. I tried the sautéed mushrooms first. They were cooked whole and served in a generous quantity, which is nice because other places will give you sliced mushrooms in much smaller portions. Buttery and extremely flavorful, I would rank them as some of the best mushrooms I’ve had to date.
The steaks at Park Grill were incredibly good and cooked just the way we liked. Whenever Haley gets a steak at other restaurants, it seems to take a while because she prefers hers cooked well-done. Not at Park Grill. They were able to get hers cooked just the way she liked in minimal time. As for the taste, it was extremely wonderful. Seasoned well and grilled over Tennessee hickory charcoal, the steak was extremely flavorful and very juicy. Even Haley’s well-done steak was not dry at all. What astounded me was the fact that Haley didn’t any steak sauce whatsoever. I’ve only seen her do that one time (at Fleming’s). That itself should be an indicator that Park Grill’s steaks are good enough to satisfy the finickiest eater I know.
Unfortunately after the salad, the rolls, the sides, and the steaks, we weren’t able to order any dessert. Feeling stuffed, Haley and I talked a bit about the nice meal we just consumed. We both agreed that the food was very good and we were equally impressed with the quality but we were a bit disappointed in the pricing. In regards to the price that was paid, we feel that it was a bit higher than expected. In comparison to Stoney River, a nationwide upscale steakhouse chain that serves food of equal comparison, they offer the pricing of $30.99 for a 20 oz Prime Rib, $26.99 for a 14 oz New York Strip, and $25.99 for a 14 oz Ribeye. Park Grill on the other hand serves 12 oz as their largest portion size and charges $29.95 for their Prime Rib, Ribeye, and New York Strip.
Despite the large price difference between the two restaurants, I still rate Park Grill very highly and will definitely return in the future. More importantly, I would recommend Park Grill to anyone visiting Gatlinburg. The steaks are amazingly flavorful and the rest of the food is superb.
|Park Grill Steakhouse
Gatlinburg, TN 37738
Bill Total: $69.36 For Two (With Tax)