Good Food And Service At The Vineyard

Saturday, December 20, 2003 - by J. Campbell
Vineyard is at old Brass Register site on Georgia Avenue. Click to enlarge our photos.
Vineyard is at old Brass Register site on Georgia Avenue. Click to enlarge our photos.
- photo by Janet Wilson

I will start this article by saying I am not one of the original reviewers you are used to reading. My wife and I were selected by Chattanooga Dine Out for a few reasons; the main reason being that Dine Out respects all opinions that it receives from its readers. Several readers have expressed their opinion on The Vineyard and they were very negative so Dine Out wanted to have someone they were sure had never been to The Vineyard, someone they knew they could trust to do an honest review and who had a feel for good food, presentation and service - and would not be recognized as someone from Chattanooga Dine Out. This is where we come in.

I am not a food critic, but I know how a restaurant can and should be run. I wasn’t going to read any of the visitor comments, but I decided to do so, in order to know what the complaints were. Of course, your opinion gets swayed before you even get there, just as mine did and I had every intention of picking the place apart.

As we entered The Vineyard we were greeted immediately by a clean-cut, well-dressed gentleman with a nice smile that wasn’t over exaggerated (i.e., “used car salesmen smiles”) which can be annoying. We were seated in the room located to the right just as you enter, given a menu and water was brought to us immediately.

For my appetizer I decided on the Portobello mushroom stuffed with crabmeat. Due to the preparation time, the salad was served first. The Caesar Salad was fresh with plenty of grated Parmesan Cheese and croutons. I was given approximately twelve minutes to consume the salad, and with perfect timing, the appetizer arrived. The appetizer was absolutely delicious – hot and perfectly seasoned. Ample time was also given to enjoy the appetizer before our entrees arrived.

My wife ordered the Prime Rib served with mashed potatoes and steamed vegetables. The potatoes were served hot and the steamed vegetables were crisp and not overcooked. The only problem she had was that she ordered her Prime Rib medium well, but it was more on the medium rare side. She decided not to send it back because she didn’t want it to be over-cooked. The meat was juicy and tender with a delightful smoky flavor.

I ordered the Gulf Shrimp, which was grilled and served with rice and steamed vegetables. My meal was prepared to perfection – I had absolutely no complaints at all.

While we were there, our server, Josh, did an excellent job keeping our glasses filled. He didn’t let them get empty at any point, constantly giving us refills. Our meal was served with Focaccia Bread. I can only assume that the person who referred to the bread served at The Vineyard as cold pizza crust was referring to the Focaccia, which I suppose could be described in this way – although ours was not cold. Focaccia is a flat Italian bread traditionally flavored with olive oil and salt and often topped with herbs, onions, or other items and we found the Focaccia at The Vineyard to be on a par with other restaurants in the area that also serve this bread.

Usually we do not order dessert, but to make a complete review, we ordered the Ultimate Chocolate Cake. Not being particularly fond of a lot of chocolate I felt it was rather rich for my taste, although it was not a bad cake. My wife enjoyed the taste and felt it was delicious and extremely moist – certainly enough for two.

In my opinion the five stars is debatable. Since we were in a room off to the side where it is private and smoke-free – I would give it five stars. However, due to the fact that in the main dining area where the bar is located, there is smoking at the bar, as well as a big screen TV – in my eyes, this would move the score down to a four. Even though the food and service were wonderful, the atmosphere in the main room takes away from the over-all dining experience.

I understand they are trying to take it back to the hey-day of the former Brass Register, but I feel the two do not mix. The people who would be coming for the bar experience and to hear a live band, are usually not the people who are coming for fine dining, willing to pay the fine dining price while putting up with smoking, big screen TV and loud music.

We would definitely consider returning to The Vineyard because we felt the food and service were well worth the trip.

GET YOUR ADVENTURES COUPON BOOK ORDERS IN. We have our new supply of 2004 books – what a great gift - terrific for anniversaries, weddings, birthdays, or any special occasion. ORDER NOW!! Go to www.ChattanoogaDineOut.com and click to the right of any restaurant where it says you can save money or on the ad on the home page of the site! Same day shipping.

ChattanoogaDineOut.com has submitted this article to www.Chattanoogan.com for publication. It may not be reproduced, all or in part, without the expressed written consent of Chattanooga Dine Out.

(Chattanooga Dine Out, is devoted solely to reviewing restaurants in Chattanooga and the surrounding area. For a complete directory of all area restaurants, visit our website at

CHATTANOOGA DINE OUT
)



Buffalo Wild Wings – Where The Wild Things Are

It is no secret that old folks forget things often and such was the case when I planned to have lunch with my son Jack the same week that I had told Lois that she and I would go. When I explained to Jack what I had done he told me that if Lois didn’t mind him tagging along that we could all go together. He had been out of town and we really wanted to visit, but Lois had company ... (click for more)

Culinary Luncheons At GNTC Sell Out Months In Advance

There is a place in Rome, Ga., that serves international cuisine in an elegant dining area in a turn-of- the-century plantation-style house. It is part of the Culinary Arts program at Georgia Northwestern Technical College (GNTC) which exposes students to a wide array of international influences and advanced cooking methods. As part of the curriculum, the program has been ... (click for more)

TVA Sues Cleveland's Allan Jones Over Dock, Retaining Wall, Boat Ramp, Boathouse On Hiwassee River

TVA has sued Cleveland, Tn., Check Into Cash millionaire W. Allan Jones Jr. over the construction of a dock, retaining wall, boat ramp and boathouse on the Hiwassee River. In the lawsuit in Federal Court, TVA said it told Mr. Jones before the construction was finished that he was on TVA property. The complaint says he has refused to move the construction from the river. ... (click for more)

Bobby Dodd Lawsuit Against City Moved To Federal Court

A lawsuit brought by former Chattanooga Police Chief Bobby Dodd against the city of Chattanooga and the Chattanooga Fire and Police Pension Fund over his pension has been moved to Federal Court. The lawsuit was earlier filed in Chancery Court by attorneys Jerry Tidwell and Adam Izell. The suit says former Chief Dodd opted for a plan that would have half of his pension go to ... (click for more)

Please Don't Close The Piccadilly Cafeteria At Hamilton Place - And Response

Oh, no. The Piccadilly Cafeteria at Hamilton Place is closing.  Its last day is Christmas Eve.  I will miss the great food they have there but most of all I will miss their servers, cashiers and waitresses.  They are all so friendly and accommodating.  They make it like it’s a home-style restaurant. I sure wish there was some way that Hamilton Place and ... (click for more)

Roy Exum: 10 Tasks For This Week

In 1993 a 95-year-old man named William Snell created a list called “Life’s Little Instructions.” His list has swirled around in the Internet ever since and it is, indeed, a delightful checklist to keep us focused in the right direction. Curiously, when I read over it this past weekend, it dawned on me that if each of us would try to accomplish just 10 items on Mr. Snell’s list ... (click for more)