A lively group at the bar was enjoying Happy Hour on the night of our mid-week visit to the in the former space. A greeter, who we later learned was a co-owner, allowed us to choose between the main and smaller side dining areas. We asked to sit in the smaller room where less of the noise from the bar drifted in. She filled our water goblets and told us that our server would be right with us.
We asked our bubbly server if we could hear about the Happy Hour specials, but she explained that they were only available in the bar area. Since we were already seated at a dark wood table, set with white linen napkins against a brown brick wall, we opened our bound dinner menus. The wine list of "30 Under 40" included several selections by the glass. A robust Portillo Malbec ($8) from Argentina made for an excellent complement to our meal. A nice selection of bottled domestic and craft brews was also offered.
We listened to the daily specials and weighed our options while our server went to the bar to get our wine. We asked her about the Hand-Cut Potato and Sweet Potato Fries and the different sauces offered for the Wings before we placed our order. Warm, lightly crusty rolls with wrapped pats of butter nested in a cloth lined basket soon arrived.
The Turkey Chili ($6) was a generous portion of white beans, shredded and finely ground turkey in a slightly spicy red sauce topped with melted cheese. We both agreed it was a lighter but satisfying version of the standard dish. A ceramic bowl of House Fried Wings ($9) with Mango Barbecue Sauce came with crisp, fresh carrot and celery strips and home made blue cheese dressing. The eight meaty wings had crispy skins and no batter coating. The sauce had a mild heat and balanced sweetness from the mango.
While we were finding a place to put our chicken bones, our server appeared with the entrees. She apologized for delivering them so soon but said she saw that they were ready and didn't want to let them sit. We rearranged our plates to make room for the main course.
A Grilled Vegetable Sandwich ($7) with Hand-Cut Fries brought a mixture of al dente asparagus, eggplant, red pepper and mushrooms on thick, almost doughy pita bread rather than the usual thin, drier type. Both hummus and goat cheese were added to the vegetable filling, making this a meal.
The Grilled Black Angus Dry-Aged Hanger Steak ($17) was cooked to order to give medium rare slices of tender meat with a light Balsamic vinegar marinade. Crisp-tender asparagus spears and sauteed mushrooms were both minimally seasoned, although we'd prefer a bit more complex flavor in the mushrooms. The Hand-Cut Fries were not breaded but also were not crispy, and had more salt and seasoning than we'd like.
We guessed that it was another co-owner who was chatting with diners at their tables, and we soon got our chance to talk with him. As a chef, he oversees the kitchen and makes most items in house, including the pita bread. He also has a talent for persuasion; we couldn't leave without taking a piece of his special recipe Pumpkin Cheesecake ($7) with us. Our server confirmed that other diners ordered dessert based on his description.
The cheesecake was airy and lighter rather than dense, plated on raspberry sauce with a strawberry. A good balance of the nutmeg, ginger and liqueur that was described to us sat on a dark, intense, almost nutty crust.
It seems that Redhound Grille is off to a great start as a casual neighborhood bar and reliable destination for tasty meals made fresh from seasonal ingredients.
128 Paoli Pike, Paoli
Hours: Daily, 11 a.m. – 2 a.m.
Cost: Appetizers, soups, $6 - $10; sandwiches, burgers, $7 - $10; entrées, $12 - $22
Credit Cards: Visa, MasterCard
Alcohol: Full bar
Special Features: Live music on Fri, Sat, vegetarian options, free WiFi