Raising prices, not value.
Menu: PDF Menu
Meal: Dinner / Weekend / 6pm
Price: $74 – for two, excluding tip
Back in 2008, we visited Redstone with mostly positive reviews. Then concluding “You won’t be let down by the food, but throw in some appetizers and drinks and you might still feel some sticker shock“, we clearly had reservations regarding the value offered. Fast forward four years later, and Redstone has only regressed in its value offering. Unfortunately, those looking to spend a premium dining dollar will do better elsewhere.
If you haven’t been to the Marlton side of Rt73 in some time, you’re in for a big surprise. With ruthless developers hellbent on profiting from every inch of open space left in our country, the once unremarkable field is now a bustling shopping center with the likes of Coach, Banana Republic, and a slew of other impulse buying destinations. Redstone American Grille shares the back of the parking lot not far from the equally popular PF Changs chain.
From the outside, it’s clear that the restaurant was planned from the beginning. Its exterior matches the ‘promenade’ shopping area perfectly; a modern brick design with an added fire pit visible in the outdoor seating area. Parking was ample only because of the overflow into the shopping area lots. The interior was very nice, but it was almost impossible to get a good look from the sea of people crammed shoulder-to-shoulder at the bar. It’s easily one of the most uncomfortable places I’ve seen to take someone for a drink on the weekend – if you’re going to Redstone, order your spirits at your table instead.
Once I escaped the human mass in the bar, I met my family at the table. The dining area has a good lighting level – it’s enough to identify your close surroundings but dimmed to offer a degree of privacy. The music was a bit out of place, and maybe a bit too fast for the expensive meal I was about to buy. The seating itself seems well planned. There are round tables, rectangular tables that can seat 6, and more intimate 2 person tables along the wall. The building is very new, so for the foreseeable future it should look sharp. I wasn’t able to visit the bathroom.
For our most recent meal, Autumn and I ordered the ‘signature’ filet mignon and spicy grouper special (which ironically was also a special in 2008). Both were whipped up in a blistering pace. Once delivered, however, we were shocked by the poor presentation and value of the nearly $40 steak. Marooned on a texas-size plate, the small filet was accompanied by three (count ‘em!) asparagus and a side of mashed potatoes served in a skillet who’s sole purpose was probably just to make the volume of food look bigger. After doing research on to what a pound of asparagus costs (~$1.00) and the weight of a typical stalk (22g), I calculated that Redstone invested no more than 15 cents on its token ‘seasonal vegetable’ offering. I understand that some restaurants are still in cost-cutting mode while waiting for the American consumer to return to old spending habits, but 15 cents of a veggie on a $38 steak entree is downright offensive. The steak, for all the criticism we have for the way it was presented and the sorry side of vegetables, was good.
The grouper, thankfully, was delivered on a correctly-sized plate. Since our last review, the price of the grouper has increased 20% to $30. Even gasoline has increased less over that period! The medium-sized carribean-style fish was presented on a bed of jasmine rice and topped with a pineapple salsa. On each side was half of a grilled plantain, which was a nice touch and tasted pretty good by itself. I found the grouper delicate to the touch of the fork, tender, and its mild flavor enhanced greatly by the spicy salsa. I’m not crazy about rice as a side dish in a more expensive meal, because honestly, it’s pretty hard to tell the difference from rice anywhere else. Nothing against the aforementioned plantain, but for $30 I’d have liked a soup, salad, or an additional side to join the fish. Redstone also opts out of serving complimentary bread, so those of us with an appetite don’t get any breaks here.
The big problem with Redstone is that there’s no compelling reason to go there. It’s a good-not-great restaurant at a premium price by virtue only of its locations. I sent my comments to Redstone management regarding their ‘signature’ offering which appeared unique only in its ability to nickel and dime whomever ordered it. The response I got from the store’s manager read like marketing-speak: “Earlier this year we began to evaluate are (sic) current plate ware package as well as a comprehensive review of all of our menu items in effort to ensure their flavor profiles, value perception, food quality and presentation conform with our commitment to exceptional food, and I am confident there will be some adjustments in the near future.” So basically, no acknowledgement that they sent out a half-empty plate with $.15 of veggies and certainly no apology. That’s a response that pretty much tells me to drop dead.
We had this restaurant rated 3.9 back in 2008, but clearly the restaurant’s focus is now on value ‘perception’ rather than value creation. Duly noted. Delicately picking through their menu can still provide some nice entrees, but our view is that management is spending too much time looking at their margins and not enough time looking at what they’re pushing out to their patrons.
- Polite service
- Large-portioned appetizers
- Good dining room atmosphere
- Cramped parking
- Ill-conceived bar
- No soup, salad, or bread with dinner
- Entrees expensive against peers
Guru’s Score: 2.9 Chews
Subjective rating: One of our biggest decliners.
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