Yummy, yummy, yummy, I got love… well – you know the song. At least I think it’s a song. Actually, I have no idea where it comes from, but it was the first thing that came to mind when I sat down to write about The Grill at Signatures. Haven’t tried it? Stay tuned, I’m going to give away a $25 gift card for the new eaterie in this post. But first, let’s drool a bit, shall we?
As my thighs would tell you – I love to eat – fancy food, pretty food, simple food, chips, yeah… But there’s nothing quite as intoxicatingly good as familiar items done so well you almost feel like they’ve been reinvented. I think that’s even harder than creating some exotic, signature dish that no one’s ever had before – maybe you can make the heck out of a pestomole or have invented a brilliant seafood bourride , but can you make a hamburger taste better?
Well, it turns out The Grill at Signatures can. Bacon cheeseburger, meet the 19th Hole burger with Vermont white cheddar, caramelized onions, and apple-wood smoked bacon on a Bloedows bun. For 9 bucks. Oh my lord, people. Hamburger-shmamburger, you say? Fine. How about a chicken cordon bleu sandwich with prosciutto and a mornay sauce, which is also $9. Or a vegetarian pizza with kalamata olives and a handmade crust?
I have a friend who I consider to be gastronomically sophisticated who couldn’t stop raving about the place the other day. She had the cordon bleu sandwich and said it was pretty much the best sandwich she’d ever eaten in Winona. And she said the cheese curds were the best she’d ever had in her LIFE. Ever. I think she even wept a little bit as she recalled them. OK I’m kidding, she didn’t really weep, but she could not say enough good things about it, and that’s pretty exciting for Winona. I, of course, had to see for myself, and I’d like to give a one-person standing ovation to The Grill for my *amazing* hand-dipped onion rings and buffalo chicken pizza. They serve breakfast on Saturday and Sunday too – which I’m hungry for right now as I write this. The menu looks simple and good, and I am so freaking excited that Winona will be serving a nice breakfast.
Signatures has done a pretty good job reinventing itself for our evolving tastes through the generations. From the dining room, one can still feel the remnants of the gilded days as a private country club, with beautiful food, a stunning view, and an elegance that indisputably makes it Winona’s only fine dining establishment. (I have said for a long time that it is Winona’s best-kept secret, and I shake my head at people who will drive to La Crosse or Rochester and pay literally twice as much as they would pay here – I’ve eaten in those places and the food is not better. But I digress…) The addition of The Grill, which was created by remodeling the bar area of the restaurant to make better use of the seating space and the patio, is just a plain smart idea intended to capture the casual diner who still wants a great meal, but one that is cheaper and more, well, casual.
And I just want to make a disclaimer — I oodle a lot about Winona’s restaurants and their offerings, but I’m not like one of those food critics who goes in and gets a bunch of free stuff to try so I’ll write about it. I’m just a regular paying Joe like everybody else – I just happen to have a blog and a somewhat unnatural love for the things that Winona does well. Call me crazy. And hungry.
So, I bet you’re hungry now too. Let’s have a little contest for the $25 gift card, and then somebody gets to eat. How about I will draw a winner from the comments people leave saying which thing on the new Grill menu they want to try. But no skimping out and just naming the things I already named – you have to look for yourself here and you can leave one comment per day from now until the contest ends:
I will take comments for one week until 7 p.m. on Sunday, April 22, and then I will cut up all the comments and draw a winner. And I’ll leave the first comment, which is “Everything,” but of course I can’t play. Your turn.