Regarding The Bluffs Restaurant at The Bluffs Country Club and Resort, we’re going to try to resist the temptation to mix in a lot of obvious golf expressions in describing whether it is “up to par.” (OK, that’s it.) This is not because we don’t appreciate puns and plays on words.
It’s just that this restaurant stands on its own. If you’ve never played at The Bluffs — if you’ve never played golf, nor want to — this restaurant is a delight all by itself.
Located in The Bluffs’ large clubhouse, the restaurant is simply but tastefully appointed inside, but on a rare, temperate early June night, we chose to dine on the balcony that overlooks Thompson Creek. We sometimes worry that being outside the main dining area can be like a Siberian exile, but the wait staff gave plenty of attention to those of us enjoying the fresh air and the view.
The marinated crab fingers ($10.95), one of that evening’s appetizer specials, were an excellent start to our meal. Served on a bed of salad greens, there were more than two dozen that were marinated in a vinaigrette which, to us, had a hint of garlic and could have served as a pleasing salad dressing for the greens had we been so inclined. It was plenty enough for our party of four to snack on and converse as we waited for our entrees.
You know your steak is probably going to be great when your knife cuts through it like soft butter, revealing juicy, dark pink meat as the seared surface separates. That was what happened with the 8-ounce filet ($22.95) that came to our table.
Few foods are more satisfying in flavor or texture than a fine cut of well-prepared beef, and this steak met those standards.
One of the evening’s specials was the Asian Cajun tuna ($18.95), an 8-ounce slab of tuna seared and placed atop crawfish risotto and topped with a sushi roll and a sweet soy reduction.
This is an interesting blend of seafood styles, and it works. The tuna was flaky and flavorful, and the crawfish-accented rice dish complemented it well.
For those of a mind for a more traditional south Louisiana feast, the mix grilled seafood ($24.95) covers almost all the bases — char-grilled oysters, shrimp, soft-shell crab and scallops (OK, technically not a Louisiana specialty), crab fingers and frog legs. Again, preparation stood out. Grilling seafood like shrimp is an art. It doesn’t take many seconds too long on the grill to turn delicate and firm to hard and rubbery. The kitchen staff did it right, including enough pepper to make everything interesting without obscuring the flavors of the seafood itself.
From a flavor standpoint, the Creole pork tenderloin ($16.95) was another winner. A generous helping of grilled medallions were topped with a Creole mustard sauce that was tart but not overpoweringly so. The pork was far from tough, but not as tender as we’ve had, and that is as close as we can come with a complaint on this night.
All of the accompanying dishes — salads, stuffed potatoes, garlic mashed potatoes or grilled vegetables — were quite good.
The desserts lived up to what preceded them. The cheesecake ($4.95, with chocolate or strawberry sauce if desired) had the delightful tartness of creamed cheese that separates good cheesecakes from ordinary, overly sweet ones, and the slice of pecan pie ($4.95) was large and abundant with large pecan pieces. The Milky Way pie ($5.95), though, was our favorite, with a chocolate graham cracker crust and plenty of the caramel and chocolate nougat flavors that make the candy bar so popular.
For those looking for a less expensive meal, the menu has plenty of soups, sandwiches, salads and pizzas for under $11, as well as a kids’ menu.
About the only thing that would make us like this restaurant better is if it were closer to Baton Rouge. That said, for those who consider a fine meal in pleasant surroundings an evening well spent, The Bluffs is definitely worth the drive.
(Worth the “drive.” Get it? Sorry. Couldn’t help ourselves.)
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