Saturn Grill: creativity well done
Revisit note: this review was originally published in November of 2006, but has been revisited and updated.
Saturn Grill was one of the very first restaurants I reviewed back when I started this website in the Fall of 2006 (see the full text of my original review below). After visiting their new location on Memorial for the first time last weekend, I thought it was time to revisit this review.
It had been a while since I’d been to Saturn Grill. I’m not sure why, but I just got out of the habit of going. Maybe the persistent crowds at the original location and the fact that our family now has three small children kept me away. Yeah, that’s likely it, so when they opened a new location I thought I’d give it a try to see if I could get the same great food with a little more breathing room for the family.
The verdict – yes, indeed. The new location is quite a bit more spacious and not nearly as crowded (at least at the time I went). And, at least in my sampling of the Spicy Steak Sandwich ($8.95), the quality still remained.
I will say, however, that it was a difficult sell for bringing the kids. The kids meals are $5 each with a choice of four entrees. My kids both went for the pizza, but didn’t really enjoy it. It was way too big as well and they should have split one. Maybe that’s the trick I should try next time. Ah, well, at least we had plenty of room to spread out around our ginormous table. And my kids always appreciate the space-like decor which is consistent even in the new location.
I’m glad I made it back to Saturn Grill. If you’ve tried either one of their locations, please let us know what you think in the comments.
Original review from November 2006:
I always love a good surprise, especially when that surprise is extremely tasty. Saturn Grill was just such a surprise for me. A friend of mine invited me to lunch there. I had never heard of the place before, but now it’s at the top of my list.
There’s so much to love about the Saturn Grill because there’s so much that’s interesting. Let’s start with the quirky, yet nicely done, decor. On one side the wall is painted to look like the red surface of its planet namesake, while the other side displays a starfield. It’s as if you’re suspended in the depths of space (or so my four year old son believes). The approach could have come off cheesy like some sort of shopping mall arcade, but Saturn Grill pulls it off in a sophisticated yet playful way.
Intriguing tables, chairs, stools and large, half-moon booths provide a great variety of seating for groups of many sizes and a variety of ecletic lighting fixtures add to the vibe. Outdoor seating is also available (always a plus) on simple tables with modern, brightly colored orange and purple chairs.
The menu matches nicely with its environment. The truly eclectic range of dishes defy categorization, but the choices are reasonably limited and every one offers something interesting. This carefully crafted selection separates Saturn Grill from your everyday deli or cafe.
My usual pick is the Skinny Chick and Salad ($7.95). A good portion of flattened chicken breast is seasoned, grilled and served alongside the salad of your choice. I usually pick the tomato and mozzarella salad which offers fresh tomato slices and quality chunks of soft mozzarella on a bed of spinach with a light vinagarette.
In addition to the regular menu, Saturn Grill offers daily specials which are always tempting and widely varied. Often with a southwest flavor, these specialty plates are a great way to experience their creativity. Specialty soups, sandwiches, pastas, and even deserts round out their offerings. Saturn Grill’s menu is a shining example from which many restaurants could learn a great deal — offer fewer choices but make each of those choices unique and purposeful.
Saturn Grill isn’t the cheapest place to eat. For a limited service restaurant, the price tag can be a little higher than what you find at some other places. But remember, folks, it’s about value. And the level of creativity and taste you find at Saturn Grill is well worth the few extra dollars you might spend. Obviously, there are many who agree and for that reason I recommend arriving at times slightly off of the peak hours to avoid what can be very long lines.