24 September 2008

Gilligan's Bar & Grill - Colonial Park

Overall Rating: Good For Appetizers/Bar Food
Highlight: Smoked Gouda Quesadilla
Lowlight: Not so many dinner options
Veggie Note: There were lots of really unique and interesting appetizers to choose from that were vegetarian, but not so many entrees

We chose to eat dinner here on our way to Colonial Park for grocery shopping. We heard great reviews of the seafood here once and hoped that quality would translate into their vegetarian options as well.

Gilligan's is a sports bar style joint with a relatively large dining room, serving mostly traditional American fare (they claim steak, pasta, seafood). Walking into Gilligan's for the first time, it seemed obvious that this place would have once been billowing with cigarette smoke but is now smoke free thanks to the PA smoking ban. It was a very odd sensation to be in a smoke free sports bar, but much appreciated since we were there for dinner (smoke and food don't usually sit well together for me). We went planning on a traditional dinner, but after reviewing the menu, we decided we would rather try a handful of their more interesting appetizers than their less than interesting vegetarian dinner options.

We had the following:


  • Nothing complimentary served with our appetizers


  • Spanikopita - here's something you don't see on a sports bar menu everyday. A traditional Greek dish that has become a trendy American appetizer (I think you can buy it frozen in a 10 pound box at most warehouse stores now). Usually prepared small triangles or squares, it's puff pastry with a spinach and feta cheese filling. This spanikopita was more irregularly shaped, so it gave us the impression that it might have been hand made (at least it's not out of the frozen 10 pound box). The filling was a little runnier than normal, almost like a spinach dip, or maybe they didn't drain the spinach well enough. Either way, it wasn't the world's best, but still a nice treat.
  • Cheese Quesadilla - Read the menu closely before you order this otherwise traditional looking dish. This is not your ordinary quesadilla. It is made with smoked Gouda cheese and caramelized onions (also your choice of meat, but the meat free version does come at a lower price, woohoo!) This was fabulous! The smoked Gouda paired with incredibly sweet caramelized onions reminded me of some sort of German preparation (add a few apples and I think it could have been). What a unique dish for a traditional bar. It was still served with salsa and sour cream, strange. I tried it with both, the salsa didn't really do it justice, but the sour cream did add something nice to it. Anyway about it, yum!
  • Crazy Bread - almost like a Greek french bread pizza. This sub roll, cut open and toasted with Greek olives, feta cheese, tomatoes, onions and garlic was pretty tasty too. We got to this dish last, as we worked through our appetizer smorgasbord, so maybe we would have loved it even more if we weren't starting to feel bloated. It was very tasty. The sub roll is claimed to be fresh baked, and it wasn't bad. I come from the land of Amoroso's rolls, so I am very persnickety about sub rolls. That is one of the secrets, by the way, to making a killer cheese steak, a bad roll can really mess it up.
Just a few other notes:

So why did we skip the dinner entrees? This place has a huge menu (sorry it's not currently online even though the website says it is). There is a chicken page, a steak page, a seafood page, a sandwich page and a pasta page. There is a little box on the pasta page that says "Vegetarian Dishes" and that's it for the whole menu (aside from a garden salad or Greek salad). The pasta dishes were pretty boring; spaghetti, cheese ravioli, an Alfredo dish, etc... with your choice of Marinara or Meat Sauce and added meatballs (just in case the non-vegetarians didn't find what they were looking for on the rest of the menu). There was, however, the option of adding portabellas to any pasta dish or salad for a few extra bucks. I figured there are plenty of Italian restaurants in town so why spend a lot of money on pasta here? Maybe it's great, but I was more enticed by the appetizer choices.

Other choices on the appetizer menu, that we skipped, included the traditional mozzarella sticks, fried zucchini, poppers, onion rings, cheese fries, etc... and a few other goodies. The prices on these dishes are not astounding, but I was disappointed there was no appetizer assortment option, so you have to order each one individually and the cost could start to add up if you want a little variety.

Final Thoughts: So here's the deal. If you've been invited to meet some friends here for drinks and football game, you won't have any trouble finding some snacks on the menu to absorb some of the booze. You could even do like we did and make a meal out of appetizers. If you are planning a nice sit down dinner here, be prepared for pasta (or a grilled cheese off the kiddie menu). I'm sure your meat and fish loving friends would dig this place, and you could definitely make do every once in a while.

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