*Restaurant is now closed*
The little guy. You know, the one you root for. The perennial underdog. The little engine that could... We can continue with the cliches if you want... What does this have to do with food? Simple. Lost among those big chain restaurants are those small independent establishments that are merely doing what it takes to earn a living. Generally, there is no glitz, no pizazz and no frills. Just honest to goodness people providing the best they can offer. This easily describes a new place that has opened up in the defunct location of Samosa King out at Strawberry Hill. Surf & Turf Market Grill is not a complicated place. In fact, it as simple as it gets. Take meat and seafood, grill it and serve it with some sides.
For me, that seemed like an excellent idea since I've been having a hard time finding healthy food for lunch. Other than sushi, there is not much else unless I head to Subway. It is well-known that the Scott Road corridor is blessed with a plethora of Indian restaurants. So it is refreshing to find a new place that is neither a chain restaurant nor serving butter chicken. Hey, I love Indian food. I just don't want to eat it everyday. So on my initial visit, they were just setting up shop. And I mean just setting up since they didn't even have their full menu up yet. Hence, I went for their only option which was their 2-item meal with a choice of 2 sides. I went for the Marinated Top Sirloin & Grilled Prawns with orange ginger glaze. For my 2 sides, I selected the Quinoa Salad and Mac & Cheese. Considering it was only top sirloin, the steak was relatively tender and perfectly medium-rare. The seasoning was quite potent and provided more than enough spice and saltiness to the meat. The prawns were also cooked up nicely and the glaze was not overpowering. The mac & cheese had a nice texture; however, it could've used more seasoning (they asked me about this and have vowed to do so). For the quinoa salad, it was quite similar to a cous cous salad. I liked the crunchy veggies and the mild taste.
Not satisfied with only trying one menu item, I returned the next day to find that the full menu was up with their incredibly-priced lunch specials. For $5.00, there is a choice of meat served on pita bread or a side with a drink. Think of it. For the same price as eating at McD's, you get a healthy meal that is cooked right in front of your eyes. For me, that is a huge selling point. Trust me, it is very hard to find inexpensive, fast real food. I ended up with a Beef Skewer for my first order. Again, the beef was relatively tender and adequately seasoned. There was available tzatziki; but I had it plain. As an opening promotion, I got a side of coleslaw. For my second order, I got one of their Market Sandwiches served on a sourdough roll. As for the protein, I went for one of my favs - lamb. Once again, this was only $5.00 and it included a side (which was rice) and a drink. The lamb was tender enough while the spicy Italian glaze added a savouriness with only a hint of spice. In all honesty, the food will not blow you away. It is what it is. Simple and serviceable. Even the owner claims the meats to be modest with such items as top sirloin and Basa. However, it hits a very affordable price point for real food. No mystery meat, no ground up stuff with fillers and fat and no shortcuts when it comes to cooking it. I'm rooting for this place. It's not often where you get more than you paid for and feel good about it after you've eaten it.
- Real food
- Excellent price points
- Super-friendly, honest owners
- Modest ingredients (but look at the prices!)
- Sides need some work (and they are indeed working on it)