Awesome Eats at Firebirds Wood Fired Grill
Interesting menu items worthy of note at a corporate run restaurant.
Okay, it is still January, which means some of us are in the first few weeks of healthier eating resolutions. As hard as it is to keep to the pledge during the week, it is 100 times harder to stick to it on a weekend. When meeting up with friends to boot, it's almost downright impossible.
My personal belief is chains are best for wearing, not eating. But travelling and eating healthy sometimes means knowing what you can order outside of your neck-of-the-woods and the ‘eating local’ mantra.
Having had extensive experience as a restaurateur as well as a big chain employee, I can tell you that they are as different as salt is to pepper. My loyalty and heart lies with the ‘indies’ in the food industry, but I do occasionally dip-in the corporate run establishments find some interesting menu items worthy of note.
The Firebirds Wood Fired Grill is just one of those places off of the interstate exit and easy for a travelling caravan to find.
I met up with a group of out-of-town friends on a Saturday night to catch up, post-holiday. I was glad to see another at my table who was on the ‘light and fit’ wagon, and we joined forces and collaborated on menu choices.
It is hard not to have a cocktail when the group is celebrating, so I did not feel left out when they offered ‘skinny’ versions of a few favorites! Even sipping on one for the entire evening, along with several glasses of water, can make you feel like you have not missed out on the group toasts that happen in waves throughout the night. Cheers to that.
The evening started with a Skinny Red Head. It's a perfect choice as it is beautiful looking and very sophisticated in a modern, artsy way. Great for picture taking with the group, I must say. Made with Crystal Head Vodka, Monin sugar-free Peach and pomegranate juice with sugar-free Red Bull. The tag line reads ‘Sweet on the lips, not on the hips’ -- my kind of cocktail. Refreshing and juicy but not too fruity, this classy little drink also gives a little kick of energy.
The other drink ordered was a classic-looking Margarita, but it is called a Skinny Mini. Sauza Blue 100 percent Agave Tequila with hand squeezed juices of fresh lemon and limes and a splash of Conteau. This is a cool and refreshing drink that can be sipped on -- when you remove the straw -- for the entire evening without packing on the calories.
When a whole loaf of round bread fresh out of the oven and still warm arrives on the table, it is darn tempting. But when it is accompanied by a generous dish of (most restaurants fail to do this and it is a grave mistake) real butter at room temputure, it is absurd not to have a small sliver. Plus, it would be rather rude to the bread baker and the butter maker, so having a small piece is eating light in my foodie eyes. The crust is crispy and the inside is warm, yeasty, soft and airy . . . just right for holding a smattering of butter. Yum.
The starter choice for those eating light would be the fresh Ahi Tuna seared medium rare, sliced thin and served with a mixed green salad and spicy mustard. Slice some bread off of the round load, very thinly, and put on the mustard, greens and a tuna slice, then top with another mustard covered bread slice. These are very good tuna sandwiches, or sliders, and the whole table took to making them. Try it this way and I am sure you will agree that this would be all you would need for a light lunch meal.
The salads chosen for those of us eating light were a Crab Cake Salad and a Wood Grilled Salmon Salad. Both were good choices and we were full from the large, flavorful portions, meaning the dessert menu was bypassed with ease. Being full, having healthy foods with flavor, and being able to bypass dessert without being carried to the car crying, is a happy combination.
The Crab Cake Salad was perfect for flavor and the going-out-to-dinner gourmet item effect. Lump crab meat, Old Bay seasoning and rolled in a little panko bread crumbs -- then grilled with no oils. Tomatoes were combined with the mixed green salad, topped with julienned tortilla strips for crunch and drizzled with a cilantro-lime vinaigrette. With two crab cakes on the salad, every forkful
contained crab meat and greens. You can’t go wrong with a salad that is large
enough and decadent enough to serve as a meal, and you sure can’t go wrong with sweet lumps of crab. A win, win with the addition of cilantro and lime.
The other salad item ordered was a wood grilled Salmon filet (no added oils) served over mixed greens, blue cheese crumbles, sugar roasted pecans, dried cranberries, green apples and raspberry chipotle vinaigrette. Sweet, smoky, tart, and cheesy, this salad had it all and then some. So many contrasting flavors and textures, like the creamy blue cheese against the tart dried cranberries excited the taste buds, it was a whole lot of party inside the mouth, which always makes you feel like you are not deprived of ‘food fun’.
If salmon is not your thing, substitute a wood-grilled Tenderloin instead or order the Chile Rubbed Delmonico, seasoned with chile peppers. Asked for it sliced thin for the salad. Succulent and savory makes these salad choices easy.
Firebirds Wood Fired Grill is located at 1 Towne Centre Blvd. in Fredericksburg, Tell them you are there for the light and healthy choices you read about in Fredericksburg Patch.