Food, fun and entertainment North American-style is the order of the day and late into the night at Brad’s Grille. This newly opened restaurant and bar in Momentum Mall, opposite Auto Mercado on the Lindora road in Santa Ana, southwest of the capital, offers genuine, U.S.-style chow cooked by experienced chef David Kane, from Florida. If you’re tired of fashionable fusion, Pacific Rim or trendy Mediterranean food and hanker after an authentic, juicy burger or Buffalo wings, you can count on finding them here.
George “Brad” Bradley came to Costa Rica in 2004, but retirement soon palled. After a couple of other ventures, he went into business with a Costa Rican and fellow North American partners, and thus Brad’s Grille came to fruition.
On a recent visit for lunch, my eager team and I must have driven our friendly, obliging waiter, Carlos, crazy as we prowled around looking for the ideal table. We had a lot to choose from; the spacious restaurant has two floors, offering both indoor and outdoor seating.
It was a typical sunny and windy December day, so we didn’t want to sit inside but were hesitant to sit outside in a wind tunnel. However, the sun and windscreens made our choice of a table on the second-floor balcony a good one. The black-and-white modern furnishing and decor add a touch of sophistication to the easygoing ambience.
Once we were settled, Carlos arrived with a high chair for the youngest member of the party, who then enjoyed a soft bread roll. By the look on her face, she thought it was of top-notch quality, as was the service.
We scanned the large menu, and were told the salads and sandwiches were not available – strange, but some of the ingredients were apparently unobtainable because of the holiday season. Carlos took our drink orders of cold beer, a michelada (beer on the rocks with lime juice and salt on the rim) rosa de jamaicajuice, lemonade and iced tea. Cocktail lovers can choose from an innovative selection. Also on offer are a variety of imported beers and a good selection of wines.
North America is known for its gigantic portions of food, but at Brad’s Grille somebody was thinking about small eaters, and I was delighted to see that many of the orders came in half portions.
Our choices were varied but included two burgers, Brad’s original and the chili cheeseburger topped with Bavarian beer chili. The excellent, juicy, half-pound burgers were served with the usual trimmings, plus lightly battered and fried tumbleweed onion rings. These, however, were on the limp side and slightly greasy.
The fish used in the Boston fish and chips was very good, as were the shoestring potatoes; however, the Brits in the party stared aghast at the latter. Where were the big, wedge-style chips that normally accompany this traditional fare? Well, there’s no accounting for taste, and our Canadian friend had no complaints.
Other members of the party enjoyed the hot spinach and artichoke dip baked with a blend of cheeses, the potato skins topped with cheddar cheese and bacon, and a half order of linguini Alfredo. The lightly battered, flash-fried calamari was succulent, but the pesto dipping sauce far too salty. Overall, our complaint was that the food wasn’t hot enough.
Though we passed on the desserts, for those with a sweet tooth the tempting choices include Key West lime pie and New York-style cheesecake.
At first glance, the menu appears to be on the pricey side, but it includes 13 percent sales tax and 10 percent service, so there are no shocks when the bill is presented. This is a commendable practice that more restaurants should consider adopting.
Our total bill, including all food and beverages for six people, came to ¢52,000 ($95).
Obviously popular with families at lunchtime, the restaurant is a different story in the evenings. Managing partner John Hepner is very positive about plans for each night’s entertainment and told us Brad’s has 15 high-definition, flat-screen TVs for watching sports, as well as an activity room with Wii, the home video game system, allowing customers to compete at Guitar Hero, darts, golf and other games. You can win prizes playing Wii games and bingo or take part in NFL football pools and trivia contests. Monday is football night and Friday karaoke night, when would-be stars can sing their hearts out. The restaurant also caters for parties and special events.
Location: From thePróspero Fernández Highway
, take the Santa Ana turnoff. Turn right onto the road to Belén and continue about half a kilometer. The entrance to MomentumPlaza is on your left, directly opposite Auto Mercado.
Hours: 11:30 a.m. to 1 a.m. daily.