Though this reviewer likes fancy, coat-and-tie cuisine as much as anybody (OK … I don’t. There, I said It.), there’s a greasy, clogged little place in our heart for grill food. Cheese dip. Big ol’ burgers. Dagwood sandwiches. Country-cut fries smothered with cheese, bacon, chili, peanut butter, Nyquil, extra-hot salsa and something poured from a bottle marked “Not for Human Consumption.” Stuff that comes in “platter” form. Peach cobbler, chili, and various meats-on-stick.
You know: All that great stuff that should probably be forced to carry a warning label from the federal government.
We love it. God help us (literally), we love it.
Portable defibrillator in tow and a big smile on our faces, we recently visited what we had heard was a sterling example of the greasy spoon: Gadwall’s Grill.
Maybe you’ve never been to Gadwall’s per se, but you’ve been to someplace that’s close enough for gub’mint work. Situated near the intersection of JFK and North Hills boulevards in Sherwood, it’s the classic Lil’ Old Place — church pews sawed in half for booths, plastic tablecloths, stuffed ducks and old signs on the walls, pay-at-the-front register with a bowl of mints beside it on the counter.
Both times we darkened the door, the place was packed, people standing in line for a table. It’s not a new development, because the owners have crammed in a few too many tables, just enough so the place goes beyond “cozy” and begins bumping up against “cramped.”
Cramped or not, we soon were seated and ready to get down to business. Gadwall’s menu is extensive, with a long list of salads, sandwiches, nachos and burgers. As always whenever it is on the menu, we had to go for the cheese dip ($2.75 small, $4.25 large). It was yellow (which we’re growing fond of again after a few months of sticking strictly to the white). Too, this one wasn’t just the Velveeta-and-Rotel mess that gives yellow dip such a bad name. This was a good yellow dip — dark, roux-tasting, with noticeable bits of pepper and chili powder stirred in, just like we like it. We had to stop ourselves so we could move on to the entrees.
For the main-event, I chose the old fashioned double cheeseburger with jalapeno cheese ($4.70), while Companion tried the Turkey Turkey sandwich ($4.75), a turkey club with lettuce, tomato, and Swiss cheese. Both came with chips, and we had to step up to the home-cut fries ($1.25 per order).
As with other things we have tried on the menu since that first visit (the big, sloppy $5.25 footlong hot dog for instance, and the $5.95 chicken nacho, a mound of onions, tomatoes, black olives, cheese dip and sour cream) both were very good. The burger was open-wide meaty, and perfectly seasoned, with crunchy-fresh toppings and a grilled bun. The Turkey Turkey was good as well, with a whole lot of meat and cheese between two slabs of buttery Texas toast. Even the fries (which we heartily object to being sold separately; what kind of place doesn’t give you fries with a burger?) were greasy, salty and good, especially when doused in our leftover cheese dip.
All in all, Gadwall’s serves up a good, solid, unpretentious meal in a relaxed setting — the perfect place to go and kill a few hours with someone who won’t snicker when you drip cheese dip on your shirt. We’re anxious to try it again, though we still don’t know how we feel about paying for those tacked-on fries.
7311 North Hills Blvd. No. 12
Be sure to try a steaming-hot fried pie with a scoop or two of vanilla ice cream. Available in several flavors (chocolate, peach and apple when we were there), once it cooled down from a surface-of-the-sun-like temperature, it was heavenly.
11 a.m. to 9 p.m. Sunday-Thursday, 11 a.m. to 10 p.m. Friday-Saturday.
Inexpensive. All credit cards accepted. Wine by the glass, beer by the pitcher or bottle.