When I was invited to enjoy lunch at Ted’s Montana Grill and enjoy lunch on them, you know I couldn’t wait to bring Little Miss and check out their Bolingbrook location.
I’ll admit that I’ve never been to a Ted’s Montana Grill before our lunch, but from the moment I sat down and opened the menu, I knew I would love my meal. The hard part was going to be deciding what to eat. Though the focus is on bison, there is plenty more on the menu for those who don’t have quite the adventurous palate to dive in.
Fortunately, the waitstaff are well trained, and our waitress was able to point out several customer favorites to help narrow down the options once she set down the house-made pickle chunks that Little Miss immediately dove into. Crunchy, crisp and oh so fresh, they are the perfect example of the philosophy of Ted’s Montana Grill. There are no microwaves in the restaurant, and food doesn’t arrive prepackaged. It is all done at the restaurant, just like I do in my own kitchen.
With Little Miss’s dairy allergy, I appreciated the the waitstaff know exactly how to handle it to ensure that the lunch she enjoys is perfect for her. In fact, Ted’s Montana Grill was voted the best gluten free restaurant by About.com, so I know our experience wasn’t isolated. In fact, you can prep before you go by playing with the interactive allergen menu to see exactly what items contain your specific allergens. You can choose from eggs, fish, gluten, milk, peanuts, shellfish, soy, tree nuts, and wheat – and any combination thereof – which is far more expansive than just about any restaurant I’ve visited.
Little Miss is young enough to still eat off the kids menu. The sides there are buttered carrots and French fries. To accommodate her allergy, we were able to easily substitute another side for her. She chose the kale salad (an adult side salad with roasted corn, Anaheim pepper, vine-ripened tomato, fresh herbs, and vinaigrette), which may not be what every 10 year old would choose, but she adored it, and the bite I snuck was wonderfully flavorful, as well. It was lightly sweet to combine with the savory nature of the kale, herbs, and tomato, and it’s definitely one that I would consider ordering the next time around. Even better, Ted’s Montana Grill did not add an extra charge to our bill for making that substitution.
The rest of her meal was as easy to choose as the kale salad. Though Ted’s Montana Grill offers the traditional fare like chicken nuggets and mac and cheese, they (to my delight) pair it with more unique options that mimic the adult menu. There is steak and bison sliders, as well as the salmon that Little Miss chose. She was even able to choose how she wanted her salmon cooked, and our waitress gave a very patient explanation of what that means and what the chef recommends so she felt like she was really in charge.
Her plate was empty when we left. The waitress joked halfway through about how much she was going to eat, but I could tell that she loved the food so much there wouldn’t be a smidge left. She did let me try a bite of her salmon, and it was cooked perfectly. We asked for it medium, and it was beautifully crispy on the outside and moist and flaky inside without being overly seasoned. While her kids menu choice for lunch was $10 and more than I would pay on an every day basis, this was a perfect treat for her, and the portions made it a great value.
The kids meals also come with a drink in addition to the side, and I only wish we’d known cherry lemonade was an option (we were too hungry to inquire) as the regular lemonade that she and I both ordered was fresh and fantastic. This didn’t come from a spout or a mix. It was “real” lemonade, and it showed. There are free refills, and the attentive waitstaff brought me a new lemonade before I had finished my first. Part of the fun for both of us – and another unique aspect of Ted’s Montana Grill – is that the straws are paper straws rather than plastic. I prefer the taste through a paper straw, and it goes perfectly with the sustainability focus of the restaurant, as well.
My own meal was harder to choose, but I was told that on a Monday, I absolutely had to order the baked potato soup. It was a classic and available only on Mondays (each day has one soup available as the soup of the day and I definitely need to make it back on a Friday for their New England Clam Chowder). When it’s potato soup, you don’t have to twist my arm hard. This was a loaded baked potato soup and incredibly thick and rich. You could almost have eaten it with a fork, and the bacon, chives, and cheese were the perfect complement to this hearty cup. The cup portion is not tiny. A bowl – for me at least – would definitely have been sufficient for an entire meal.
For my entree, I chose the Canyon Creek bison burger. It was a tough choice as all their burger options sounded unique and fun. The waitress encouraged me to try this one, as how often do you have fresh jalapenos and blackberry jam in addition to a fried egg and bacon on your cheeseburger? I was a little nervous about the flavor combination, but it is amazing how the sweet and salty work together. That said, having enjoyed the soup prior to my burger, there was so much food that I was not able to finish it. Fresh food and flavors are somehow much more filling and satisfying than processed items.
All the burgers can be made as the bison burger that is hand mounded and cooked under a dome to ensure that they retain the juicy nature you want in a really good burger. If you want a traditional burger, you can also choose a beef burger or a grilled chicken breast. There is even a house made veggie burger for those who don’t eat meat. As extensive as the menu is, I didn’t try anything that wasn’t amazing. There is definitely something here for everyone, which is emphasized by the fact that even at 2:30pm we still saw group after group coming in to eat lunch at Ted’s Montana Grill consisting of everything from a grandma and her grandkids to a group for a business lunch to several women friends and so much more.
As I said, the burger and soup filled me up. I didn’t plan ahead properly and never got a chance to try dessert, but the next time I go, dessert I will make sure to order dessert. The apple pecan crisp sounded amazing, with caramel sauce and an oatmeal pecan crust, topped with ice cream. And that was only the first item. That said, I might have to go for one of the adult milkshakes. The salted caramel is made with Häagen-Dazs® ice cream, Jack Daniel’s, salted caramel, whipped cream. I can only imagine that bliss.