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
)



Eat Your Vegetables, Please!

We have several Farmer’s Markets here along our stretch of the beach.  However sometimes on a Sunday when we don’t have a serious plan and it is too hot to hit the crowded beaches, we head out to Panama City Beach.  Our favorite green grocer is Carousel. It is right there on Front Beach Road across from the Gulf and is home to lots of local produce and fruit plus a gazillion ... (click for more)

Guthrie’s Brings New To-Go Location To Chattanooga

Chattanooga and surrounding areas will soon be able to enjoy Guthrie’s fresh, hot, fast, golden fried chicken fingers. Guthrie’s newest To - Go location is set to open  on  Tuesday, Aug. 16, and will be at 5203 Brainerd Road. This To -­ Go location will offer the complete Guthrie’s menu ... (click for more)

Federal Judge Orders Walker County To Pay Erlanger $8,705,000, Plus Interest; Question Of Attorney Fees And Expenses To Go To Jury

Federal Judge Harold Murphy, in a 63-page ruling handed down Tuesday, ordered Walker County, Ga., to pay the Erlanger Health System $8,705,000, plus interest, on the Hutcheson Hospital debt. Judge Murphy, of Rome, Ga., said the question of attorney fees and expenses owed Erlanger by Walker County should be decided by a jury trial. Walker County and Catoosa County earlier agreed ... (click for more)

Pinkston Says Offer Was Made To Dismiss Lawsuit Against Him If Prosecution Of Detective Burns Was Dropped; Judge Greenholtz "Greatly Bothered" By Any Such Offer

District Attorney Neal Pinkston said at a hearing Tuesday that an offer was made to drop a lawsuit filed against him by Gatlinburg detective Rodney Burns if he would dismiss two perjury counts against Burns. The district attorney said he should not be disqualified from continuing to prosecute the case or else attorneys would begin suing him or the judge to get a new DA or trial ... (click for more)

Problems With The Proposed Apartments In Lookout Valley

I am deeply troubled at the way in which this proposal has been handled. The blatant disregard for the residents of Kelly's Ferry Road and the wishes of the Lookout Valley Area Plan (which was adopted by the city in 2003) by Chip Henderson and Tommy Austin amazes me. Yes, there was a meeting of the Lookout Valley Neighborhood association in August, but it wasn't on its normal ... (click for more)

Roy Exum: Ooltewah & The Bullies

During the week of Christmas I got an email from a longtime friend at the Knoxville News-Sentinel that laughingly wondered what kind of basketball do you people play (in Chattanooga?) It included sketchy details of the rape, and subsequent surgery, of an Ooltewah High School basketball player who had been assaulted by his own teammates at a Gatlinburg holiday tournament. Today ... (click for more)