Zamboni Grill keeping up the tradition of excellent food
After the entrees were served at the Zamboni Grill last week, the waitress asked me what I was doing writing all the ingredients down on a tablet. Since all of the food was served, I fessed up that I was doing a newspaper dining review.
“Oh, I thought you were going to try and duplicate our dishes at home,” she said.
As someone who thinks cooking from scratch involves Fazio's Italian Market and Schwan's, I assured her that her suspicions were pure fantasy. There is no way I could ever approach the excellent homemade-style food at the Zamboni.
The Zamboni Grill was formerly the Falcon's Nest and Power Play Bar next to the Trib Total Media ice rink in New Kensington. Both were more bar than restaurant.
The philosophy of the Zamboni Grill is to emphasize the food over the drinks. With a separate bar and dining area, the new facility opened in September.
A total remodeling of the interior seats 60 in the food area and 35 in the bar and provides a pleasant meal atmosphere.
Knotty-pine walls frame stone-accented dividers and seven large-screen televisions throughout the business.
In the summer, outdoor seating for 50 at three large, wood bench tables and six stone tables adds to the ambience.
We started our dining with the sampler platter, ($12.95). Succulent hand-breaded boneless wings, fresh breaded mushrooms and zucchini, and a thick slab of double-breaded mozzarella were enough to satisfy four diners. Served with a chunky, flavorful, thick marinara sauce, there was nothing we did not thoroughly enjoy.
The Smoke House Steak Salad ($9.99) was an outstanding entree. Tender, fresh-cut cubes of tip roast, marinated in butter and Montreal seasoning, atop plentiful mixed greens, spinach, black beans, feta cheese and jalapeno peppers, was excellent in every way. “I would order this again in a heartbeat,” one diner said.
The Fiery Jack Burger ($7.99) was a huge, one-third-pound offering of Angus beef, covered with spicy jack cheddar cheese, lettuce, tomato and onions. One diner added jalapeno peppers and still wanted more kick. He was not pleased that the burger was medium-well-done. Served on a crusty, chewy, toasted Mancini Bakery bun, this huge offering is a definite hunger-fighter as it is served with a mound of homemade-tasting fried potato chips.
The Spinach Pesto Italian Pizza ($17.99 for a large) was a smashing surprise of taste excellence. Hand-breaded sausage, spinach, feta and mozzarella cheeses, mushrooms, rosemary and pine nuts on a hand-tossed, tender crust, formed a delightful combination.
“Nothing seems out of place on this pizza,” one diner said. “It is a well-thought-out blend. If you do not like traditional pizza, this is for you.”
And we did try a traditional pepperoni pizza ($9.99 for a large) and certainly were not disappointed. The hand-tossed crust was covered in a pleasant tomato sauce, mozzarella cheese and a plentiful pepperoni. Definitely another winner.
We finished our meal with The Club Sub ($4.99 for 6-inch) and enjoyed the ham, fresh grilled chicken, bacon and American cheese, lettuce, tomato and onion on an Italian bun.
The Zamboni Grill will undergo a name change in the new year. The corporation that manufactures skating-rink ice-refinishing equipment threatened to sue.
The business will have a full liquor license in late January to complement the outstanding food.
With a service staff that is professional, friendly and knowledgeable, the Zamboni Grill has a great start to becoming a one-of-a-kind restaurant in the A-K Valley.
General manager Rob Kemp said, “We've gotten fantastic feedback from first-time customers who have then returned, raving about the food.”
And we concur — as the business evolves, no matter the name, the food is delicious, both in quality and value.
Eric Felack is a staff writer for Trib Total Media.