1772 Pleasant Valley Road
Placerville, California 95667
Eric and I, like many others, watched the development of “Mike’s Grill” as the old “Select Video” and “Country Kitchen” were remodeled over what seemed like many months. Obviously, someone was sinking some big dollars into the development of the place and it seemed like so many other planned establishments, it was hitting snags and work was often at a standstill for a while. I’m thinking back to the few restaurants that tried to open where the fresh strawberries/peaches/etc are always sold now and the coffee shops that continually try to open down by Millcreek Market. We were definitely surprised when Mike’s Grill actually opened.
I had personally never been to “Mae’s Country Kitchen” or “Country Kitchen.” Eric went with a business partner and when he found they were a “cash only” establishment and did not take plastic, he never returned. Who ever has cash on them when they are coming down the mountain and that is when I am hungry. I was also a little unsettled by the fact that when we first moved down here ten years ago, it was right next door to a taxidermist.
Knowing that new establishments often have growing pains, we waited a month for the place to find its feet and get stable. Reading some of the earlier reviews, I am glad that we did.
We ate at Mike’s Grill on Saturday, September 28th, at around 5pm.
A sign on the door said, “Please wait to be seated” and Eric wondered aloud if we should wait outside to be seated. Being bold, we went inside.
The eating area is very spacious and the tables have a good walking area between them, which is always a plus. The hostess asked us if we wanted to be seated so that we could see “the game” and while that might be of interest to others, I don’t like having a television on while I am dining out. There were a couple of flat screen TVs with some sporting event on them. I like to eat “on purpose” and focus on my meal and my companion rather than mindlessly eating and watching TV.
The floors are stained cement and while no carpeting makes the area more sanitary and easier to clean, it also makes it louder and creates and echo, so it was a little bit noisy. The restaurant is decorated in earth tones and in a minimalist fashion with a few sconces on the wall.
The wait staff was extremely friendly and attentive without that “hovering” feeling. My glass was never completely empty and dishes were promptly removed when we were finished with them. At the waitress’s recommendation, I had the top sirloin with herbed red potatoes and a side salad. Eric had the cheeseburger and fries. We also ordered the potato skins as an appetizer and Eric had a cup of clam chowder. Being from New England, Eric is picky about his clam chowder (Manhattan or Boston?) and proclaimed it to be excellent. The potato skins were exceptionally good, although I did miss the customary addition of green onions. The portions were generous and chunky with lots of cheese and real bacon pieces (not bits). When we asked to speak with the owner, Mike Fagan, we found him to be very congenial and engaging. He previously ran Black Bear Diner in the Bay Area and has been in the restaurant business for forty years. His ABC license is expected the first week of October after a temporary snafu. He recommended that we try the Cajun Fried Green Beans and and Mac and Cheese Bits. The green beans were excellent with a hot Cajun seasoning.
Eric and I both had Coke to drink and it was crisp and fresh with a good fountain mix.
Our entrees were also quite excellent. My steak was cooked to perfection (a perfect medium rare) and was of a good cut. The herbed red potatoes were just slightly over-seasoned for my taste, but lately, I tend to eat a very bland diet, so I could be more sensitive than most. They were still extremely good and perfectly cooked. I left full and the portions were large enough that there were leftovers for later. Mike’s Grill even offers “twice baked potatoes” as a side serving to entrees, which is not common at all.
Eric’s burger was also very good. They asked how he wanted it cooked, which is always a classy move, and they had Swiss, American, Cheddar, and Cheddar-Jack cheese available. They also got big points when he asked if they had horseradish and he was asked, “Creamy or straight.” It was evidently very hot. The fries were coated with what looked like a light beer batter. Clearly, all of the foods (except possibly my salad) were made with very high end ingredients and were quite good.
The cost for our meal was right at $40.00, which for us is at the higher end of what we will pay for a meal, but also the most common amount that we pay for a meal for the two of us.
On a scale of 1-5 with 5 being the best, I give Mike’s Grill
Food Quality: 5
Serving Size: 5
Friendliness of Staff: 5
All in all, it was a very enjoyable experience and I would definitely dine there again. I am eager to try out their breakfast menu. They do have a take-out menu that is well stocked, but it is an apostrophe disaster. I really wanted to take my editor pen to it in a big way.