Thursday, January 15, 2009

Dining Diva Review: Outlaw Blues Restaurant and Saloon, Fairview Heights, IL

Hubby and I had lunch at the brand-new Outlaw Blues in Fairview Heights and it was a mixed bag of delights and disappointments. The restaurant is painted a deep plum shade which is surprisingly attractive when you get over the surprise of the fact that they really did paint it purple. Our server, Keith, was very pleasant and our drinks arrived quickly and they make very good iced tea. The menu items are an eclectic mix of barbecue favorites and Cajun/Southern staples with a twist. The delicious complimentary bread was a freshly baked biscuit and sweet cornbread with a very unique presentation that was original and interesting--they were served in the cast-iron skillet that they were baked in and each quarter of the pan had either biscuit or cornbread batter placed in it before baking. The biscuit was moist and tender and the cornbread was moist and sweet--just the way I like it! John had the barbecue brisket sandwich and I had the shrimp and grits which come in your choice of scampi or creole. I ordered scampi but they sent creole which meant they must have remade it in a hurry and didn't do well. The butter sauce was totally devoid of any garlic flavor and the shrimp, while large and fresh, were as bland as boiled chicken breast. They were purported to be served over cheese grits but my grits were obviously instant and had no salt, cheese or flavor--some of the worst grits I've ever had. They were topped with a teaspoon of finely shredded yellow cheese that I mixed in to the grits along with the 'scampi sauce' and a good helping of salt and pepper. John's sandwich was another story altogether. Overflowing the fresh bun was a more than generous serving of barbecued beef brisket with a deep smoke ring in the meat. He shared a big slice of the brisket with me (as I had to wait for my lunch to be corrected) and it was delicious--everything brisket should be and as I waited for my shrimp and grits, I was wishing I had ordered the same thing! When I tasted my totally flavorless (albeit fresh)lunch, I really wished for that brisket sandwich! Luckily the sandwich was so enormous he couldn't finish it so I did polish off what he left behind. Keith was apologetic and very nice but the kitchen needs to learn how to make cheese grits and scampi sauce! I'd give it another try just to have that brisket again along with the skillet of biscuits and cornbread--but I'll wait till they iron out the 'just opened' kinks!
I'll update you when I go back for another try!

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