Monday, April 25, 2011

Special Dining Excursion: Newport Grill

 
So we had a special dining event this past Friday. It just happened to be my birthday, Good Friday, Earth Day, and Easter weekend. So many events rolled into one so dining out seemed like a good idea. I was tasked to pick one place I would want to eat.

Immediately, one place came to mind. Newport Grill. I've been here before but Tiffany hasn't along with some other friends who joined us.

Borrowed from Kansas.com -
Thanks guys.
1900 N Rock Road
Wichita, KS 67206
(316) 636-9555
Menu: http://forms.360wichita.com/83252/food.pdf

Newport Grill is located in Bradley Fair in the old Cibola restaurant. (21st and Rock vicinity). They are owned by the same people that own Yia Yia's. They specialize in seafood. They are one of the few restaurants in Wichita that fly their fish in fresh daily (I know Bonefish Grill  here in Wichita does as well). I love seafood, might be my favorite type of meal so we just had to go.

Called two weeks before and set up reservations for the following week. They told me they can take reservations as late as the last date in their calendar, so that was nice. The lady at Newport called me up to verify reservations the day of. Confirmed and we're set.

We arrive a little before seven and we wait for the rest of the party to arrive. We are seated probably a little after 7, maybe 7:10 or so which is pretty good for a party of 14 at 7 pm on a Friday night, holiday weekend nonetheless. Many places could take 30 minutes sometimes an hour to be seated for a large party even if your entire party has arrived *cough*Sumo's*cough*.

We all grab our seats and we are met by two gentlemen who are our servers for the night. They fill our glass with either sparkling or distilled water. Don't ask me what the difference is besides the bubbles. Tasted the same to me. One person at our table was amazed by the bubbles though, he also happened to be the oldest of the group. One of our servers then goes through the specials, an introduction of Newport for those who haven't been. All very descriptive. Only problem when someone makes one of those spiels to me, I have probably say.... oh.... zero recollection of what was said. I'm reliant on others after that. Wait, one server did mention they infuse their own vodkas. So vodka stuck out in my mind but that doesn't make me an alcoholic, does it? Servers then take our drink orders.

Note, they do not put more than a 30% markup (I believe is what they said on their wines). A bottle of Dom Perignon (which I might add is delicious) is ~roughly $175 at Newport Grill. At Press Wine Bar (located in the Waterfront) its $275. Another reason why I don't give Press more than three to five months to still be in business. Too expensive. But back to Newport......

We order our drinks and a friend orders a side of fried calamari for us to share. Cost around $11 and we were all pretty sure it was the biggest serving of calamari in any Wichita restaurant. Not total size but individual pieces of calamari. I totally forgot to take a picture because we dug right in. But my phone probably wouldn't have been able to fit one piece in a single picture. Huge exaggeration though. But you get the picture (not literally).

Tiffany and I decide to split a Caesar salad. When they bring everybody's salads out, they forget to bring one out. Of course it’s their luck the only people they forget to bring a salad to are the ones reviewing them. Ha ha. So we ask about the salad and they apologize to us. Something about not being able to read the handwriting on the food order. They bring us one out quickly and that salad would later be comped from the meal. They have three different salads which all run $7. We ate the salad and a couple bites in Tiffany says, this isn't as good as Cafe Bel Ami. It wasn't. But the salad was not bad at all. Still pretty good. Didn't have the overpowering dressing taste. Was light on the dressing but not too light.

Melts in your mouth, not in your hands
Our meals come out next. Tiffany had the Grilled Mahi Mahi. I almost ordered the Seared Scottish Salmon but figured since I've had it there before I should change it up. I ended up choosing the Seared Ahi Tuna. Both came out with nice place presentations if you're into that sort of thing. I'm not. If the food is good and comes out on a Hannah Montana cardboard birthday plate, I’ll still eat the food and be pleased. The first bite of the tuna I had melted in my mouth. It was cooked to perfection. Tiffany enjoyed her meal too. She didn't say too much about it. Not sure if she was too busy focused on her bottle of wine or if the food left her speechless but one comment did stick out. "I could eat here everyday." So by that comment, let’s just assume she was enjoying it.

Leaving people speechless
Others around us ordered different items from the Seared Scallops, Seared Scottish Salmon, Grilled Filet Mignon, and Colorado Striped Bass. To be honest with everyone, one person did get a little sick after their meal. Not sure what happened as another person ordered a similar item and appeared well. The server came that person some pills and apologized. So take that for what its worth. I've known many people to eat at Newport before and not one person gets sick. But I had to throw that in there to keep it an honest review.


(insert Monroe:)
Happy Birthday Mr. President
Happy Birthday To You!!!!!!!!
 After dinner, the server comes up to me and tells me he heard it’s my birthday. At this point, I'm getting scared like he was going to sing happy birthday Mr. President Marilyn Monroe style to me. I was in luck. He was offering me a free dessert item off their menu. There was only one thing I came for. The banana bread pudding. Its banana bread with a side of ice cream. Easily my favorite dessert ever. Chester's Chophouse has a similar if not same thing. They brought that out with a candle in it (nice touch) and didn't sing one of those cheesy Applebee's "Attention Customers, we have a birthday in the building" song. Classy. I've been raving about this dessert to Tiffany for a while so I was glad she was able to finally try it. Just like Renee Zellweger to Tom Cruise in Jerry Maguire, banana bread pudding completes me.

Another friend ordered the chocolate cake and had maybe one or two bites before giving it out to everyone. He said it was a little too rich which it was. And for the size of the cake, not sure it was worth the $15 price tag my friend told me he paid. It was no bigger than a ding dong LITERALLY.
He's just a little guy!
We receive our check and after a comped salad and dessert, our bill came out to roughly $57, after tip, $70. Great service I must say. Absolutely friendly, knowledgeable and on top of everything. A friend paid for our drinks and another for the appetizer. So if you wanted to do the full course meal of salad, app, drinks, entree and dessert, I'd say you're looking to spend about $110-120 before tip. If you're going there just for dinner and order waters, probably between $50-60. If you value good food, it’s worth it.

Newport Grill is already one of my top three favorite restaurants in Wichita. Tiffany and I have been to Bonefish Grill many times, home of the best app in Wichita, the Bang Bang Shrimp. People I've spoken too are split on which they like better. You can't really go wrong with either one. But I choose Newport Grill. What sets them apart because both offer great service and have the same price of food is the ambience. The inside is wide open and not too dark. They have an outside patio that offers a great view of the back of Bradley Fair. A walking area, you don't seem too crowded in there. Plus its a local chain. Gotta support the local stuff.

I give this place a rare 5 stars out of 5 and Tiffany gave this a 4.5, docking it half a point due to price. So on our super scientific scale, this place gets an official 4.75 from WichitaByEB.com. Service and Food was top notch and the value was just a smidge below perfection. I'm going to have to break it to Tiffany that it’s just not economically smart to eat there everyday as much as we'd like to.

This place definitely receives our seal of approval. Go check it out. "Like" this blog post today to help spread the word.

Next up Letter H. So those suggestions will be needed shortly.

Newport Grill on Urbanspoon

4 comments:

Ricky said...

The atomosphere was great!, the service was Fantastic. The food in my opinion was just average. However, I am a steak guy, I had the filet, and it was good, but not great. I also had some of the Bass, Mahi Mahi, and Calamari this was all okay, but once again I am steak guy, so take that for what it is worth. (I know, I know, I should not go to a Mexican restaruant and order pasta, nor should I go to Seafood place and order a steak) Finally, I thought the desert was well below average, maybe it was what I ordered and maybe it was not, but the item I had was well below average, and the selection was not great either. Overall the experience was good but not great! However the company I was with, made it all worth while

Lisa said...

Sounds like we should try it out

Megan said...

I enjoyed my experience at Newport grill better as a small group, a table of 2-6.
The atmosphere is so upscale, I didn't feel like I could move around and chat with everyone in the group.
I also like the individualized attention from your server when in a smaller group. Plus, we had to ask for the bread and butter with the volcano salt, which was a highlight of our previous experience.
However, we absolutely love the oysters on the half shell, the trout is fantastic, and the banana bread pudding is to die for!
Newport Grill is a great place great resturant for a romantic upscale evening with your significant other!

DB_Wichita said...

As Megan mentioned, you have to ask for the bread & butter now. I would dock a full point off for that - it seems like a cheap move for a place that isn't cheap.

If you go, be sure to ask for bread & butter & salt