Tuesday, October 5, 2010

Seven Bridges Grille & Brewery on Jacksonville's Southside

The reputation for Seven Bridges on Jacksonville’s Southside has been built around its microbrewery and quality craft beers, but I’ve also always heard that the food is also excellent. Situated in a great location near Tinseltown and not far removed from the St. John’s Town Center, you couldn’t ask for a better setting. Seven Bridges’ feel is very much that of the brew house with a long bar, clear views of the brewing process on the upper level, and very nice seating in the bar area, but also features a large dining area that consists of many comfortable booths.

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Upon entering, we were greeted quickly and pleasantly, then escorted to our booth for the meal. I ordered the bruschetta as an appetizer while we waited for our meals, and ordered the Blue Crab Stuffed Chicken for my entrée while my friend ordered the Chicken Parmesan for hers. The bruschetta came quickly, and was excellent. It featured tomatoes, fresh basil, onion, garlic, and asiago cheese over toasted bread – exactly what I expected and very tasty.

Our entrees didn’t take as long as I may have expected, but I’m never opposed to a short wait when I’m hungry, so it was a pleasant surprise. My friend was gracious enough to let me try her Chicken Parmesan, which she was very happy with from the first bite. The chicken was sautéed very well and the house-made marinara sauce was excellent – I can definitely understand why she was so happy with her choice for dinner. Sadly, I wasn’t quite as thrilled about my choice when I started eating. I was well aware that the chicken would be breaded when I ordered it, but the taste was that of a combination of both over-cooking and old frying oil. The chicken breast was stuffed with artichokes and blue crab, which made for a tasty combination, then served over spinach and roma tomatoes and a side of rice pilaf, but I found myself having a difficult time getting past the exterior of the chicken to fully enjoy the meal.

I certainly cannot judge a restaurant based on one meal, and I’ve heard so many friends speak very highly of Seven Bridges, so I hope I just stopped in on an off-night. My friend enjoyed her meal very much, and even took a good portion of it home with her for leftovers, so I want to believe mine was just a fluke. The rest of the experience was very positive – the appetizer was great, the ambiance was very nice, the service was good (albeit a touch too attentive and bordering on babysitting at times), and the price was very much in line with what I expected. So before I pass judgment, I will definitely have to try Seven Bridges again – I hope it’s a better experience!
Seven Bridges Grille & Brewery on Urbanspoon

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