An elegant blast from the past

Oct. 5, 2006, midnight | By Courtney Burtraw | 17 years, 2 months ago

Clyde's offers fine food in the spirit of the Victorian era

Walking into Clyde's Grill at Gallery Place on a Friday night is like stepping back in time. The lighting is dim, the food is good, the place is packed and the Victorian era saloon-inspired decor creates an aura of opulence and luxury.

Bronze statues, colorful oil paintings and various antiques decorate the restaurant's many rooms. The boisterous crowd laughing and conversing around the various bars is as excited as any saloon gathering may have been. Clyde's has two floors, connected by a sweeping, carpeted staircase and the restaurant's facilities include three full bars. But don't let the size of the restaurant fool you " the demand for seating often outstrips the supply on busy nights, so reservations are recommended.

Clyde's is known for its grilled meats and seafood, especially oysters in the early Fall. Offered as an appetizer, these oysters arrive on ice, loosened from their shells and ready to eat. Creamy and fresh, the oysters are delectable, with none of the rubbery texture often associated with the food. Served with appetizers is a loaf of bread, but it is important not to indulge too heartily " at Clyde's there is no such thing as a small serving size.

Choosing a dish among the many options, varying from grilled meats and seafood to exotic salads, soups and combinations thereof can be difficult to say the least. But the full Maine lobster special proves to be an excellent entree. Though not the biggest of its kind by far, the lobster is buttery and light, coming apart in significant chunks that make eating it an easy and surprisingly neat task.

In addition to the lobster, the Mediterranean salad is delicious. The fresh lettuce is sprinkled with a delectable assortment of toppings including olives, walnuts, cranberries, feta cheese and a light vinaigrette dressing that ties in the flavors. The clam soup is a treat and is the perfect counterpart to the salad. The soup is a warm and flavorful option, perfectly suited to the onset of the fall season.

For those more conventional in their culinary exploits, the ribs are an excellent choice. Well cooked but tender, the meat is juicy and savory if a tad messy. Also try the Gallery Place Burger, a more traditional option off of the grill. It is a succulent option coming with roasted peppers and melted cheese and a corn salsa. The burger is a delightful take on an old classic, and the salsa and cheese combination creates an explosion of flavor.

When it comes to dessert, the options are equally appetizing and diverse. The nectarine shortcake provides a tangy and delicious finale to the meal's flavorful experience. Topped with a fluffy and sweet dollop of whipped cream, sections of fresh tangerine augment a newly baked piece of shortcake, delightfully crumbly, and not at all too heavy or dense.

Unfortunately, such fine fare comes at a price. Although not unreasonable, it is unlikely that you will eat for less than $15, and it would be a decent expectation for the check to top $20 per person. But the Clyde's experience is a memorable one. The restaurant endeavors to create the illusion of Victorian affluence with its many elaborate paintings and stained glass ceilings, which create a deceptively convincing portrait of the historical time. The setting tries to promote the spirit of fun, good food and better company, and Clyde's pulls through like a charm.

Courtney Burtraw. Courtney Burtraw is an incoming junior who is excited to be joining the Silver Chips Online staff. Outside of school, she enjoys playing soccer, reading, watching movies, hanging out with friends, and sometimes running track and cross-country. She is in love with Johnny Depp, but … More »

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