Monday, September 7, 2009

(Not So) Small Plates at Walker's Grill

A couple hours in a mall can take the life-force out of the most strong willed of shoppers. Our little afternoon in Billings was no exception. No matter how good the coffee was at Off the Leaf, a few hours toiling away in a middle-America shopping mall had reduced us to lifeless blobs drooling in our idling in our car, and soaking up its air conditioning. Forced with the decision of driving two hours back to Bozeman - or - catching an early dinner in Billings, we chose to eat right there and then.

Walker's Grill has been a favorite of mine since the mid 1990s. Located in the heart of downtown Billings, I dare say the restaurant has an almost "urban" feel to it. Our table by the window produced views of buildings, traffic, fire trucks, and salty street folk. How exotic!

I am happy to report that the food at Walker's continues to shine as much as the much as the polished surroundings of the dining room and bar. Since moving into its present space a few years ago, Walkers also offers a nice selection of small plates, which of course, we ignore almost completely. We started the evening off with an assortment of olives and a glass of Gruet Blanc de Noirs sparkler and a crisp CA Sauvignon Blanc respectively. 

The true stars on this night were the warm spinach salad with candied bacon (again: candied. bacon.), white beans, and sliced almonds. The candied bacon had a great balance of savory/sweet/fat and the warm dressing brought it all together. If you put a fried or poached egg on that salad I would eat it every day. In fact, our waited claimed that he had sworn off the spinach salads for now, having just kicked a once-a-day habit.

Jen's pasta special of fresh fettucine, clams, and mussels in a light tomato broth looked and tasted fresh and lovely. 

We forgo dessert, acknowledging that the torpor that comes with it would not serve us well on our trip back to the Bozone.

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