Chain: Grand Lux Cafe.
Company description: "Cooked Low and Slow Until Perfectly Tender. Served with Mashed Potatoes, Vegetables and Horseradish Sauce."
Calories: With only 13 locations, Grand Lux has not hit the minimum the government requires to provide nutritional info. Suffice it to say, this meal isn't on your Weight Watchers plan, although the menu has plenty of healthy options.
Location: Cherry Hill Mall.
Order time: Reasonable; service was attentive.
Review: Grand Lux Cafe, from the folks who brought you the Cheesecake Factory, is new to our area. Its first local location is in the glorious chain-restaurant strip at the Cherry Hill Mall. The space is beautiful, big and airy, with an open kitchen. The versatile international menu and vibe are more upscale than at CF.
The pot roast was so tender you could eat it with a plastic spoon, although GLC provides real silverware. It was delicious, and the mashed potatoes had a rich, creamy, homemade taste.
The Gang tried the Seared Rare Ahi Tuna appetizer ($13.95). The fresh (not frozen) fish was tender, but we would have preferred it with a pepper crust instead of wrapped in nori. It comes with three small, Asian-inspired salads — a good lunch for a light eater. We also tried and enjoyed the Margherita Rustic Pizza ($11.95, good to split as an app, or as a meal for one).
Grand Lux bakes on the premises — try the rolls — and "The Best" Carrot Cake ($7.50, but a slab for two) may not be the best, but it satisfies.
Summary: Grand Lux comes in lower than steak-house prices, but it's definitely at the high end of the chain universe. Dinner for two with a drink could run anywhere from $50 to $80, depending on apps and desserts. The value is good (if you don't leave with leftovers, you probably ate too much). The place feels like a special occasion — good for an expense-account lunch or a nice night out.