Ted’s Montana Grill

by Susan on April 15, 2008

[Food:3/5]

As we walked under the bright lights of Broadway towards our dinner reservation at Ted’s Montana Grill, I was having some pangs of regret. What self-respecting New Yorker journeys to a chain restaurant in midtown on a Saturday night? The excursion was sparked by our friend’s rave reviews of Ted’s bison burger. If the recommendation had come from anyone else, it would have been dismissed, but this particular foodie pal has a stellar track record. He could not be ignored.

Ted Montana’s is Ted Turner’s innovation. His mission is to serve high-quality, American comfort food in eco-friendly restaurants. The first Ted’s opened in 2002 and now, with over fifty venues nationwide, he’s clearly on to something. The focus of the menu (printed on recycled paper, of course) is 100-percent all natural bison and beef. Though an entire page is dedicated to the bison burgers, the steaks, chicken, and fish options are also appealing. There is a daily blue-plate special and Saturday night discounts on specific wines from the Captain’s list.

Aside from red and white checked tablecloths, there isn’t much ambience in the vast dining room. It seems Turner spent more time making his restaurants eco-friendly rather than photo-friendly; the trade-off was well worth it. Recyclable products (including paper straws and reusable glass bottles) have made Ted Montana’s 99% plastic free.

Though tempted by many of the entrees (Beer Can Chicken and Pecan Crusted Trout to name a couple), we had come for the bison. Leaner than beef, bison has less fat and cholesterol. It also has a distinct flavor; a much earthier taste than beef.

The number of toppings offered for the Bison Burgers was overwhelming. Ted’s has fashioned itself as an “American grill” and we thought it appropriate to pass on the trendier fixings such as avocado and jalapeno in favor of grilled onions and American cheese. We also ordered the evening’s blue-plate special, Bison Short Ribs.

The burger exceeded expectations. It was juicy. It was flavorful. It was better than so many beef burgers I’ve had in this city. The flavor was so rich I didn’t even think to reach for the ketchup (one of my burger stand-bys). Despite its hearty size, it wasn’t a feat to bite through the bison patty and soft, “floated” bun (Ted-speak for buttered and toasted).

The tender short ribs were slathered in a deep, mahogany-colored sauce that didn’t overpower the meat’s wonderful taste. The short ribs seemed to excel, rather than suffer, from the bison’s reduced fat content. The bison peeled away from the bone with an easy pull of the fork tongs. Every bite of dense meat melted in your mouth.

Side dishes were mediocre at best. Hand-cut fries and salt-and-pepper onion rings were disappointments. Country-style green beans bordered on terrible. A bland and tiny roll masqueraded as a biscuit.

Ted’s offers undeniable value. The array of side dishes can be swapped and traded at no extra charge. Soups and salads decrease in price when ordered with an entrée. Our crisp iceberg wedge, drizzled with blue cheese crumbles and dressing, ended up costing just a few dollars.

In a city where beef and high prices prevail, a short subway ride to the plains of Montana was a welcome respite.

Ted’s Montana Grill
www.tedsmontanagrill.com
110 West 51st Street
New York, NY 10020
212.245.5220

{ 1 comment… read it below or add one }

nycdc April 16, 2008 at 1:20 pm

the trendy toppings are great, too. as are the (free!) pickles w/ their big corriander(?) seeds. i’m a fan of the ambience, which feels laid back and casual but clean and nice to me, and the service has been really friendly every time i’ve gone. but the star of the show is always the bison burger.

Leave a Comment

Previous post:

Next post: