You may have noticed how some restaurants like to decorate their interiors with some sort of vague theme in mind. I have to admit, sometimes it’s done really well and you get a coherent effect that appropriately sets the atmosphere, like the antiques in the Cracker Barrel or the music memorabilia in Fuddruckers. And then sometimes they fail in such a spectacular manner that the only conceivable explanation is that some poor schmuck was sent to a series of yardsales with $20 and told to fill a truck with random junk. Well, that poor schmuck succeeded and that restaurant is TGI Friday’s, but the restaurant I’m reviewing falls into another category. This restaurant created a theme so monumental, so colossally all-encompassing, that when you walk into the restaurant it literally kicks you in the face.
To say that the Recovery Sports Grill was sports-themed would be a fantastic understatement. There is literally not a single surface that does not scream “SPORTS” at the top of its lungs. The entire restaurant has giant flat-screen TVs around the ceiling at every angle, and each table is strategically positioned so that you have a direct view of multiple screens.
Each table then has a “squawk box” that can be set to the different TVs so you can hear the one you want on demand. Portions of the ceiling that don’t have a TV instead have jerseys, flags, pictures, or posters, all devoted to sports. They even had a decent collection of RPI sports memorabilia. The only other way I can imagine getting the same effect of 360 degrees of sports would be to sit on the field with a burger and logistically, that would be a challenge. Honestly, if you’re a hard-core sports fan, don’t even bother finishing the review, because this is the place you will want to be. I should also mention that during NFL games, pitchers are only $10. But for those of you that still aren’t convinced, what follows will be the superfluous review of the food.
In all actuality, I expected that the food would be terrible. Most places that focus so intensely on a theme rarely take time to consider the food, and I can’t really blame them. If you design a place such that everyone comes to watch sports, they sure aren’t going to complain because the french fries are a little soggy. (They weren’t, I’m just saying.)
The menu was more or less what I expected, mostly appetizer-like food and a selection of grill items. They had sandwiches, paninis, burgers, pizza, chicken wings, steaks, and a few seafood dishes. You could custom order combinations of different wing flavors, which is noteworthy, and there were even a few good salads to chose from. They even had a vegetarian panini ($10), which was an eclectic mix of artichoke, tomato, spinach, mushrooms, pesto, and mozzarella—all grilled together and served piping hot.
In a sort of unusual take on barbeque, they had pulled pork sliders in miniature buns topped with coleslaw ($9). The sauce was much sweeter than I expected and the coleslaw gave it an odd crispy texture that I wasn’t really expecting, but they were very fresh and were served with a heaping portion of sweet potato fries. Despite the fact that they weren’t particularly sweet, I would still highly recommend them. They were salted to perfection and their texture was flawless, which added tremendously to their already unique flavor.
Looking for something more characteristic of a grill, but wanting to still be original, I sampled the pepper jack burger ($9). They certainly weren’t stingy—I was given a burger of excellent proportions topped with sautéed jalapeños, pepper jack cheese, and a zesty chipotle/ranch sauce. It wasn’t nearly as spicy as I expected, but the burger was of good quality and the flavors meshed well. The fries were evenly spiced and packed some flavor.
All in all, I was pleasantly surprised with this place. Despite the fact that they could have gotten away with practically anything food-wise, they still put effort into the meals. They also gave us ample time to ourselves, so that if we were there to watch the game, we could stay practically as long as we liked and weren’t going to get kicked out. Actually, the most surprising and disappointing part of the restaurant was the lack of RPI students. It seems that the campus still hasn’t caught on to how awesome it is, and I’m thinking it’s time for that to change. So fly, my pretties; descend upon them and bask in the glory of sports.