161 Joe Nuxhall Way
Holy Grail's downtown phone number reminds me of a Mitch Hedberg joke:
"I hope the next time I move I get a real easy phone number, something that's real easy to remember. Something like 222-2222. I would say, 'Sweet!' And then people would say, 'Mitch, how do I get a hold of you?' I'd say, 'Just press 2 for a while. And when I answer, you will know you have pressed 2 enough.'"
All joking aside though, Holy Grail is a great place for a brew or two while watching the ballgame, but it's not so great if you are a hungry vegetarian. I had checked their online menu prior to visiting and saw a couple of veggie-friendly entrées that sounded appealing, but upon entering the establishment and perusing the menu I noticed that most of those selections were missing. No veggie quesadillas, no black bean veggie burger, and no build-your-own pizzas. Our server explained that those selections were available at the other Holy Grail locations, but that their menu was much smaller. The only vegetarian entrée listed at the Banks location was a veggie wrap.
As tempted as I was to order the wrap, after speaking with the server I'll admit that I wasn't convinced that the filling of sautéed peppers, onions and mushrooms wouldn't be contaminated with meat juices. Instead, I ended up ordering an overpriced appetizer. The nachos ($7.49) were fine; afterall, it's hard to go wrong with such a simple dish, but it wasn't a meal.
Steve opted for the Black & Bleu Angus Burger ($8.99), which looked freshly made instead of the standard frozen patty you normally see at sports bars. He thought it was pretty good, albeit somewhat dry. The limp fries that came on the side could have used another 30 seconds in the deep fryer.
I was surprised that Holy Grail's beer selection was not on the same par as other local sports bars/watering holes. Does anyone know if their beer menu is also an abbreviated version compared to their Clifton and Delhi Township locations, or are they just not that into craft beer? The beer menu was full of the usual suspects but had only a few craft selections.
I was intrigued enough to order their signature Blueberry Grail Ale (brewed by Barrelhouse) and found it to be delightfully refreshing. It was slightly sweet but not sickeningly so, with somewhat of a hoppy finish. I wasn't prepared for the spoonful of blueberries floating in it, nor was I prepared for the price: $6.50 a pint. Ouch. No wonder everyone else in the place was drinking Bud Light.
The restaurant's design incorporates several large glass-fronted garage doors that can be opened in nice weather, blurring the barrier between inside and out. It's a great concept, marred only by the amount of cigarette smoke that blows in from the patio while you are trying to eat. It also gets really LOUD when it starts to fill up. Steve and I had to yell at each other to be heard above the din, and we were sat right next to each other. I've no idea how people sitting across from one another could carry on a conversation.
We had high hopes for this place, but really the best thing going for it is the great location - right across the road from Great American Ball Park. It will do well enough without us.