After a long day of chain-sawing and clearing debris from the last ice storm, Laura and I decided to treat ourselves to one of our favorite Greenville restaurants. I figured it was also high time this place got a review here.
The Stax restaurant empire was founded by brothers George and Frank Stathakis, and consists of six very different eating establishments. The original Stax Diner on Poinsett is a breakfast/meat-n-three tradition in Greenville. The level of sophisication in menu and price increase upward, from the two Stax Omega locations, then Stax Grill, and finally reaching the pinacle with Stax Peppermill. We have tried all locations but Peppermill. Stax Grill is about at the upper range of our dining budget.
Stax Seafood Grill was opened in 1990 simply as "Stax Grill", and focused on both steaks and seafood. In the past couple of years, the focus has shifted toward seafood, hence the slight name change.
The decor is very traditional restaurant/lounge, with an open kitchen and grill area in view of the main eating area. There is a small bar at the front, and a private room is available. The rich wood tones and feel will especially appeal to those that grew up in the Rat Pack era. While busy, Stax Grill has never felt frenetic, and is a good place for a relaxed meal or business luncheon.
All of the Stax locations have very extensive menus, and this one is no exception. Even though seafood is emphasized, there is still a wide selection of steaks available. Some of the entre’s feature touches of Greek cuisine, but that style does not dominate the list of selections. I was quite impressed with the list of side items available for entre’s. This seems to have been expanded since our last visit. Prices range from $5 – $8 for appetizers and entres run from about $15 – $30.
The service was outstanding. Food arrived quickly, but we never felt rushed. The waitress was knowledgable, and was not overly attentive.
We started with sauteed mushrooms for an appetizer. These arrived almost immediately after we placed the order, and were just about the highlight of the meal. Button mushrooms were served in an au jus sauce, and had a delicious saltiness that complimented the bread that accompanied them. This was followed by salads, and between the two, we could have made a complete meal.
For entre’s, Laura ordered Salmon, as the catch of the day, and I ordered the special. Tonight this was an 8-ounce filet mignon stuffed with crab meat and portobella mushrooms, topped with Hollandaise sauce. For sides, Laura got a traditional baked potato, and I opted for jalapeno grits. The grits were nothing short of phenomenal. Laura, who normally doesn’t care for them, tried a bite and pronounced them delicious. In addition to bits of jalapeno were shredded parmesan cheese. I could have sworn I tasted a bit of crab meat in them, but the waitress assured me otherwise.
The filet itself was tender and delicious – a bit rarer than I order, but still good. The stuffing, however, was a different matter. The crab tasted rather crabby, as if it had been lingering a bit too long. I found myself finishing the meat and mushrooms and eating around the other stuffing. Laura’s salmon was also a disappointment. Hers was fishy and past its prime, which was very disappointing for something advertised as their "fresh catch." She made it through about half of hers. I am hoping that this is just a fluke, because we have had some wonderful seafood on previous visits. I’m just glad I didn’t order the scallops tonight as I had originally planned.
Despite the less-than-fresh seafood, it was a good meal. Our good experiences with Stax Seafood Grill outweigh our disappointments by a very wide margin. We both highly recommend it as a nicer place to take folks for a good meal.