Whitman news since 1896

Whitman Wire

Whitman news since 1896

Whitman Wire

Whitman news since 1896

Whitman Wire


Restaurant review: Destination Grill

by Leah Bloomberg

Walla Walla’s Destination Grill at the Depot, formerly The Depot, has been under new management since July 17 of last year, claiming to have a refurbished menu, a remodeled interior and a classier ambiance. A few members of the Pioneer staff decided to see what all the fuss was about.

With a reservation at 7:15 p.m. on a casual Friday night, we were seated in the newly decked out dining car of what used to be a train. You would not know it by eating in it, however. You would make many comments about the supposed location, including “Really, it’s a train? It’s so comfortable and snazzy.”

Without a reservation, you might end up in the regular dining area, which would be alright, too. But really, shoot for the stars here.

With menu in hand, you can forgive your previous confusion about the setting by ordering from a selection of local reds and whites (if you are over 21), many of which are only available at the restaurant itself. If you are not of age, you might start instead with one of the moderately priced ($6-$9) appetizers, like the Calamari ($6), fried but not rubbery, and served with spicy cocktail and aioli sauces.

Next, still feeling hungry, you might decide upon one of the many dishes of American fare (steak, seafood, chicken, salads and pasta), all comfortably priced from $12-$29. The Stuffed Chicken ($17), complete with mushroom stuffing and mashed potatoes, was reported to be a good choice.

The “Chop Chop” Salad ($9), available, as are all the salads, in a small or dinner portion (a difference of $2 between the smaller and bigger portions), came with cucumber spears, tomato and bacon, topped with a basil ranch dressing, all of which was delectably fresh and crisp.

All the dishes were served on square, contemporary-style plates complete with pleasing, clean, and artistic presentation of sauces.

The real treat, however, was dessert: a home-made Apple Bread Pudding. Their dessert menu changes, too, with the season. This spring they will feature Strawberry Shortcake, for example. The Bread Pudding was dense and sweet, topped with baked apples and a cinnamon whipped cream; a perfect rich and flavorful meal-ender.

The wines are not the only local spirit about the place. Destination Grill has local photographers’ work hanging on all the walls, all for sale. A favorite artist is Candace Rose, whose playful but tasteful photographs greet you as you walk in the door.

Questionable, however, was the drinking-fountain vase, oddly placed next to the front door, and oddly disconcerting, as well: literally a drinking fountain with a small glass vase on its shallow top. Feng shui no-no, I am sure.

The only other complaint is about the service, which, if our waitress was any indication, is lacking in knowledge of both the menu and wine choices; however, they are perfectly willing to seek out answers to your questions, however obscure or pertinent.

Vegans and vegetarians may have a rough time of it. I, a vegan, had to order the Daily Vegetarian Soup, and french fries because they do not make plain baked potatoes, just twice-baked potatoes with cheddar and sour cream toppings. None of the salads are vegan, as all have cheese or a cream-based dressing.

If you have the gall, implore that they accommodate you, and you might get lucky. However, the Daily Vegetarian Soup was actually rather fabulous: the mushrooms not too soggy, the rice not too firm, and the broth not overpowering.

The best part of the meal was a chat with Manager and Co-Owner Shawn, who brought us bread, asked us about the meal, and made sure our food was tops. He made frequent visits to all of the tables. As he said, “we take care of all of our guests all the time.”

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