Restaurant Review: Curly’s

Review: Curly’s Grill & Banquet Center
Location: 647 Ridge Road, Lackawanna
Cuisine: American, Caribbean
Web site: http://curlysgrill.com


I have a faint memory of going to Curly’s once with my parents when I was a teenager. They were all excited to enjoy the delicious food and drinks, whereas I was embarrassed to be seen out with them and probably wanted to go home and edit the “Personal Quotes” section on my AOL profile. But thankfully, Curly’s is still going strong today and I was excited to try their cuisine as an adult.

I stopped in for lunch on a Friday afternoon with a few co-workers. It was really easy to drive over to Lackawanna from our office on the Waterfront – it literally took 10 minutes. And we always like an excuse to get out of the office.

We were greeted by Chris, the friendly manager of the restaurant, who insisted we try his homemade Pumpkin Martini. Now, I am no Don Draper when it comes to boozing at lunch, but I had to agree. And I think Don Draper would pass on the Pumpkin Martini and order a Manhattan…or five. But Don would be missing out because the Pumpkin Martini was AMAZING. Chris explained that he makes a homemade pumpkin simple syrup from a pumpkin that he actually roasts himself. The drink also had vodka, spices, and a splash of heavy cream. And it tasted like liquid pumpkin pie! I appreciated how the drink was served in a stemless martini glass, which made it much easier to drink and didn’t make me feel like I was a character on Sex and the City.

Curly's Pumpkin Martini
Chris also told us about a few other cocktails he makes from scratch, such as Egg Nog, a Bloody Mary, and a Plum Martini. The Egg Nog in particular sounded fantastic; Chris mentioned that the drink starts with homemade Crème Anglaise, which must be a pain in the ass to make because even the Barefoot Contessa uses a shortcut to make it.

Now, to back up my claim that I’m not an alcoholic, let’s talk about the food. Curly’s lunch menu is pretty affordably priced. The salads, sandwiches, and pastas ran in the $8-14 range, which is less than I had imagined it would be. They also offer fresh-baked Chocolate Chip Cookies at lunch that I somehow had the strength to resist.

I was torn between ordering the Black Bean Veggie Burger and the Jamaican Jerk Chicken Sandwich, but I decided to go for the Jerk Sandwich because I remembered Curly’s was known for their Caribbean cuisine. The sandwich came on a substantial, yet soft homemade roll. The flavor of the Jerk chicken was delicious and the meat was pretty juicy. If I had a small complaint, it would be that the “Jerkonaise” didn’t really add anything to the sandwich. It occurs to me now that I could have put a spoonful of the zesty coleslaw side dish on the sandwich, a la Fat Bob’s Pulled Pork Sandwich. Oh, well. Next time!

The sandwich also came with a side of fries, which I substituted with a side salad for $.50 more. It’s pretty ridiculous that you have to pay MORE to eat healthier, but that’s a topic for another post, and certainly not a problem only seen at Curly’s. In fact, $.50 is pretty fair considering some places charge $2.00 to swap sides.

I was glad to have the chance to try Curly’s cuisine as an adult and I will absolutely be back to try dinner there (and also to have some of that amazing-sounding Egg Nog). Curly’s is also a place that I bet most Downtown office workers don’t think about when planning a special lunch, but they should!

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