Last week, staff from The Explorer stepped foot into the Metropolitan Grill, otherwise known as “America’s Kitchen,” located at 7892 N. Oracle Road.
Happy Hour runs from 3 p.m. to close daily, with $1 off all drinks and a $3 snack menu.
Immediately noticeable upon entering was the laid-back atmosphere, highlighted by soft music and lighting, a friendly hello from the bar staff, and the convenience of self-seating – an ideal setting for the individual just finishing the workday and looking to relieve the pains of the week without dealing with any red tape.
Service was nearly immediate, not so abrupt that we couldn’t get settled, but quick enough that within a couple minutes we were ordering our first round of drinks.
Then came a hiccup – and it wasn’t from the beers we ordered.
That’s because neither of the beers coworker Randy Metcalf and myself ordered were in stock. We did our best to shrug it off.
But when our alternative selections were brought out to us accompanied by obviously dirty drinking glasses, it was enough to raise a brow in concern.
After requesting new glasses, which only added to our wait time, we poured ourselves a beer each from our bottles. Randy chose the Racer 5 IPA (regularly $5), a crisp, sweet and flavorful brew that offered some relief from the hot day. I chose the New Belgium Wheat (regularly $5), which, while not disappointing in the taste department, could have been slightly more chilled to make it more refreshing.
When we took to the appetizer menu, Randy ordered the Bruschetta Sampler (regularly $5), a four-piece snack made up of toasted bread, each with a different topping: Willcox tomatoes, mozzarella, and basil on one, marinated artichokes, garlic aioli, and parmesan on a second, chicken liver pate and chive oil on the third, and a Romesco-style, almond-topped final piece.
Each sample was vastly unique in taste from the next; the complexity of the dishes blended well with no one ingredient too overpowering that it would take away from the various other toppings.
As our second appetizer, we went with the Sloppy Joe Sliders, a two-piece snack consisting of the standard Sloppy Joe ingredients – ground beef, tomato sauce, and onions, served atop a miniature hamburger bun.
The buns were served warm and soft, and the beef was tasty and perfectly seasoned to make this an enjoyable dish, though it is nothing too jaw-dropping from what is to be expected from a Sloppy Joe, a dish that can only go so far in any restaurant.
The serving is fairly small, so treat this one as its name suggests - as an appetizer only.
For our final drink, we took to the cocktail menu. Randy ordered the Chocolate Raz Martini (regularly $9), a mix of Godiva chocolate liqueur, Smirnoff Raspberry, and Frangelico. While the waiter, whose honesty about menu items was appreciated, said the drink was not very popular, Randy found it enjoyable, though the chocolate liqueur subdued the raspberry flavoring, almost to a flaw. Still, the chocolate flavor was pleasant enough to make this light, airy drink one worth trying.
It was sugary enough, however, to remind Randy to reorder a glass of water, which he had requested earlier in the day, but was never delivered.
I ordered the Pama-granate Martini (regularly $9), a fusion of Smirnoff Cranberry Vodka, Pama Liqueur, and Cointreau.
Though not typically a martini drinker, this one was mixed perfectly in that it allowed the pomegranate flavoring to stand out without being too sweet or sugary. The vodka flavor was present, but not overbearing.
Overall, Metropolitan Grill has the service and ingredients to make for a pleasant experience. It just needs to mix them a little better.