SHREWSBURY, Massachusetts – I’ve actually been meaning to put together a review of Lakeside Bar and Grille for a while, as I’ve eaten there several times now, but hadn’t had a chance until this afternoon. Lakeside has quickly become the place in Shrewsbury where “the elite meet to eat,” which really says a lot. For any business to not just start up, but to succeed in this crazy economy of ours, really says more about the food, and the atmosphere, than any simple review by one patron can do.
Today I had the rare chance to just take one of my sons out for simple lunch. to just chat about his plans for the year. He hadn’t been there before so it seemed like a great fit. Normally, for dinner, I wouldn’t have gone by expecting to get a table right away, but I figured that middle of the day, on a holiday, I had a good shot, and managed to snag one of the few empty tables in the place. The atmosphere is great for lunch, with a pretty quiet ambiance, a couple of games going on, via the multiple flat panel tv’s, and most just folks like us coming in for a quiet lunch. I have also been there at dinnertime, which depending on when you go, can be anywhere from quiet and intimate, to more of a “bar-like” atmosphere, which is a lot of fun too, if that’s what you came there in search of. The consistency with Lakeside lies in the food, more than anything else, and no matter when I’ve popped in, it’s been excellent.
For appetizers we had chicken tenders sprinkled with parmesan, which would simple but yummy. For lunch, I had a bacon cheeseburger, which was perfectly cooked and served with a half and half side of onion strings and fries. The onion strings were really awesome, perhaps the best part of the whole meal – paper thin, and just perfectly seasoned. Sam had a mushroom burger and fries, which he ordered well done, and it actually came well done.
I didn’t order anything as adventurous as some of the other meals I’ve had there before, since it was more of quick bite we really went just for my son and I to be able to talk a bit – but really everything I’ve had there before has been awesome, from the calimari, meatball parm, chicken parm, and even the scallops. To date, everything has been perfectly cooked, with great portions, and fair pricing. The waitstaff today was really nice, and very attentive – dare I say bordering on being a tad too attentive at times. When two people are out for a meal, they really want to be able to talk privately, moreso than have a quick “how is everything” interrupting them in mid sentence every few minutes, but based on my experiences at some other venues, I’ll take erring on the side of too attentive any day of the week. The best news, for those of you who’ve been sitting on the edge of your seats awaiting the results, is that nothing wound up getting spilled in my lap, as we know happens at some other local restaurants!
I read another review of Lakeside a while back where they described it as, to paraphrase Cheers, the place where “everybody knows your name,” and that couldn’t be more true. Of the dozen or so tables there this afternoon, I think I probably knew the folks at 8 of them, which is a really cool and intimate feeling. It’s probably not where I’d go if I were on a spy mission and trying to keep a low profile – but since I’m a sociable guy, I just love seeing friendly faces, and I think that all the patrons there are really respectful of each other. They’ll come over to say hi, but then they’ll leave you to enjoy your meal, and that’s really cool. We made a conscious effort to do the same. I quick hello, and enjoy your lunch.
Trying to get in for dinner can sometimes be a challenge if you don’t plan ahead, but it’s really worth the wait, and don’t be afraid to stop on by for lunch for the same tasty food. I’ve eating everywhere in town, and for this type of cuisine it really is the most consistent bet, because no matter what you order, you really just can’t go wrong at Lakeside.
They also do catering as well, so if you’re thinking of having yourself a little dinner party, and don’t feel like doing the cooking, a simple phone call will get you a real feast…and if you’re really sneaky, you could probably pass it off as your own home cooking!
Check out their website at http://www.lakesidebar-grille.com
Oh just a side note, they do not take American Express. I learned that one today, and thank goodness I had some cash with me or I’d be doing dishes! No biggie, I’ll remember for next time.