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Gordo's Pub & Grill (Review)

Where Joe Six-Packs go to kick back with a Jean-Robert Burger

By Heather Smith · November 5th, 2008 · Diner
4 Comments
       
Critic's Pick

I'm a lover of things that can’t be put in a box and escape all attempts to define them. This has included people, art, literature, cities and a variety of spiritual and political movements, but it hasn’t included bars — at least not until I went to Gordo’s Pub & Grill.

Smack in the middle of Norwood on Montgomery Road, Gordo’s looks like just another neighborhood bar with neon beer signs in the window. It could be Fries or Arlin’s. Or even Junker’s Tavern after an extreme makeover.

Inside, Gordo’s looks more like a movie set of a neighborhood bar than an actual neighborhood bar, gleaming with polished wood floors and tables. Perfectly shiny Michelob mirrors and Coors signs line the wall, and Hall & Oates plays softly in the background.

Then there’s the menu. Sure it has loaded cheese fries, but these have bacon, scallions, tomatoes and a “three cheese blend” with a side of ranch — more complex than your average bar cheese fry. And then there are the burgers, which include the Jean-Robert Burger named after Jean- Robert de Cavel, a friend of owner Raymond Gordo. Before opening Gordo’s a few months ago, Raymond was chef de cuisine for the Jean-Robert Restaurant Group. The burger, made with bacon, blue cheese and herbs and topped with goat cheese and a lovely grape compote (grapes stewed in syrup), has received rave reviews online.

Gordo’s manages to walk that fine line between serving foodies and Joe Six-Packs. While the beer menu offers Budweiser, it also offers an extensive international beer selection hard to find in your average bar, including the Belgian Chimay, brewed by Trappist monks who claim it “gladdens the heart of man,” as well as Strongbow Cider, a premium import from the UK that I must say gladdened my heart as much as a Chimay.

Its sweet clarity was refreshing.

For our appetizer, my friend and I opted for the Baked Mixed Mushrooms ($5.75) (mushrooms with mixed herbs and parmesan cheese) served with thinly sliced baguettes. They far outshined any mushroom appetizer I’ve had in a long while, including my favorite, the Chart House’s Sizzling Mushrooms. The slightly rich Parmesan, balsamic and garlic sauce perfectly complemented the smoky tender shitakes and savory criminis.

I rationalized the indulgence, which was not low-fat, by telling myself that criminis are a wonderful source of iron and shitakes were once prescribed to boost chi (life force) during the Ming Dynasty. Having spent the last week Baracking the vote, I needed a little life force.

We quickly moved on to entrées. On our way to see W., we wanted to see how fast Gordo’s could serve us. We gave them an hour; they were faster than we expected, because we were out in 45 minutes, even with the minor food drama that ensued.
Here’s what happened: After careful consideration and calorie-counting, I ordered the Fried Fish Sandwich ($6.50). It seemed innocuous enough with lettuce, tomato and tartar sauce on a hoagie bun. Of course, its description did not do it justice. It was more beautiful in person. With a crispy, perfectly fried beer batter that, refreshingly, had a savory blend of spices and a filet that was remarkably fresh, it was the best fried fish sandwich I’d ever had.

Unfortunately, moments later, after I’d eaten half of it, I realized I was allergic to it. While I’d sent the Roasted Vegetable side back earlier because I’d tasted rosemary, which I’m allergic to, no one thought to tell me, and I didn’t think to ask them, if the fish I was eating also had rosemary. Generally, fried fish sandwiches don’t use this ingredient, but real chefs love rosemary — something I always have to remember.

Once he found out that I was allergic, Chef Raymond immediately came over, sat down at our table and apologized profusely. I have never seen a chef apologize so sincerely. I think he must have apologized 15 times; then he gave us my entrée free, and threw in a refreshingly light Chocolate Macadamia Tart, topped with thick, lemony cream. I think he is now my favorite chef.

Meanwhile, my friend loved his Black Bean burger ($6.50) with roasted vegetables and American cheese. Although the vegetables were missing, we had ordered some on the side, as well as Gordo’s wonderfully crispy and peppery green beans and creamy Parmesan gratin potatoes. Rarely can you find such sides at a pub.

Gordo’s is one of the most laid-back, reasonably priced, friendly and creative bars I’ve been to in a long time. Plus, the food is downright delicious. To not like it would just be un-American.

GORDO'S PUB & GRILL

Go: 4328 Montgomery Road, Norwood
Call: 513-351-1999
Hours: Kitchen is open 4-11 p.m. Monday-Froday, 11:30 a.m.-11 p.m. Saturday and 11:30 a.m.-10 p.m. Sunday
Entree Prices: $4.50-$14.50
Payment: All major credit cards
Red Meat Alternatives: Seafood and vegetarian
Accessibility: Fully accessible

 
 
 
 

 

 
11.16.2008 at 06:05 Reply
Gordo's hamburgers are off the chain.

 

03.21.2009 at 08:28 Reply
I visited Gordo's tonight with my husband and mother in law and I just wanted to share my experience with you all. From the moment we walked in, I was convinced this was going to be a great experience (it's a very cute place with great lighting and very friendly)...boy I was dead wrong. Let's start with the appetizers...we ordered baked mushrooms with ciabatta bread for dipping and cheese fries--plain and simple. First problem was, we waited over 25 minutes for the apps to come out and by this time we were starving. Secondly, the mushrooms were way too salty and the cheese fries (or should I call them just fries) lacked all the toppings the menu had promised....bacon, tomatoes, chives, sour cream, and most importantly the cheese. When someone finally came over to check on us, I politely said these fries are lacking toppings and immediately I got served with a whole lot of attitude as the waitress took them away. 45 minutes after we ordered our 2 burgers and fried fish sandwhich, they arrived. First impression...they looked great and in theory they should've been delicious, but sadly they were not. My mother in law and I both ordered our burgers medium....that's MEDIUM.....meaning cooked but juicy! They were far from it....the whole burger was raw and after my first bite, I put it at the edge of our table hoping our server would notice my meal just sitting there and ask what's wrong! Our burgers sat there for over 15 minutes until finally our server came by to check on us and we told him our burgers were way undercooked and in fact, RAW. At this point, I just wanted to go home and didn't want to taste anything else that came out of that kitchen! Time came for the bill and our server said he was only able to comp one of our burgers...we were shocked and dumbfounded by this seeing as that both of us only took one bite of our burger. (The next guy over from us also had to send his burger back because it was served RAW and he had ordered his MEDIUM-WELL). When we questioned our server as to why they only took one of the burgers off, he said "that's how our chef cooks his burgers medium!" We all laughed and proceeded to tell him our thoughts on our whole experience. our server left to go talk to the chef (and owner) about the situation and our server came back and briefly said, sorry for your experience, have a nice night. That was not our goal to have our whole bill comped, but we just thought it was wrong to have only one of the burgers comped off our check. Anyway, it was a bizarre and unpleasant experience and needless to say, we won't be returning.....and unless you like to eat raw ground beef, you shouldn't go there either!

 

10.31.2010 at 08:22 Reply
Gordo Doesn’t Get-It! Can’t comment on the food since by the time my order was found & prepared I reached a boiling point. My apologies to those patrons who witnessed my displeasure with how we were treated. No regrets, no apologies, no how can I make your experience better, just a blank stare from Old Gordo as if “who are you to complain”. Don’t expect even average service from this establishment. We had a large crowd and asked “old Gordo” to provide more support to our waitress but none was provided. We flagged down the bartender as he passed by and asked if he could take a drink order but replied NO since “it wasn’t his station”. As most of the party was finishing their meal the waitress realized some of us didn’t receive our order, Duh. Just a total apathy towards providing great customer service. I read through the reviews and if service was mentioned it’s 50/50. Service Apathy! I lost my appetite before my order was finally served.

 

09.07.2011 at 09:56 Reply

Just got back from Gordo's and thought I'd share my experience. I walked in and sat at the bar. There were only 3 other customers in the restaurant. Two waitresses were sitting at the bar wrapping silverware in napkins. I was 3 bar stools from them. I sat there for 5 minutes and was not acknowledged. There was no bartender present. Finally I walked up to the two waitresses and asked if they could take my order. One was surprised that I had walked up to her. The other took my order acting as if I should not have approached them. My burger was eventually brought to me. The waitress walked away while I was asking her for ketschup - she either did not hear or ignored my request. A few minutes later she asked me if everything was alright but before I could answer her she looked away and started talking to someone else. Later when I asked her why the poor service she said they were busy folding napkins and had not noticed that I had walked in. In my world, it's her job to notice. The bartender was equally rude. The burger was tough and too peppery. But I was hungry so ate half of it and left. Why bother eating at a restaurant where the staff couldn't care less about you? I'd had good experiences at Gordo's before, but the food and service are inconsistent. After tonight, I will not bother going back. There are friendlier places to get a burger. Places that at least pretend they care. Gordo's didn't even pretend.  BTW, the bar closes whenever the staff decides they should close, not at 2pm as stated in most of the on line guides. Tonight they closed at 10:30. They have a good beer selection but the humiliation isn't worth it. I wish that I had just stayed home. Thanks Gordo's for making me feel like nobody - I won't forget it.

 

 
 
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