This restaurant has been open for three years now but still flies under the radar a bit. Chef-owner Candace Rinke gets creative for Restaurant Week, jettisoning her regular menu entirely and serving only a special Restaurant Week menu, giving diners plenty of choices, especially in the entrees. She also is offering four courses rather than three for $25.13 and decided to open for dinner Monday, a day that Hawthorn Grill is normally closed. The move paid off: Every table was full by 7 p.m. Monday.
Restaurant Week Menu:
$25.13 (unless otherwise noted)
Appetizers: Grilled Feta (Grilled Feta Cheese, Tomato-Watermelon Salad, Fresh Mint) or Tomato Pie (Homemade Crust, Yankee Street Market Tomatoes, cheeses and Fresh Basil) or Seviche (Shrimp and Bay Scallop with Summer Vegetables in a Lime-Cilantro Marinade) or Chilled Corn & Lobster salad (Corn, Celery, Potato and Lobster with Tarragon Oil)
Salads: House Salad or Blueberry Balad with Summer Field Greens, Blueberry Vinaigrette, Pickled Nectarines and Red Onions, Fresh Mozzarella, and Toasted Almonds
Entrees: Chicken Sausage (Homemade Sundried Tomato & Chicken Sausage with Summer Vegetable Tian), or Grilled Tilapia (with Caper-Mustard Vinaigrette, Orzo with Spinach, Cherry Tomatoes and Puttanesca Relish) or Duo of Pork (Seared Pork Belly, Roast Tenderloin of Pork, Tomato-Peach-Tarragon Salsa, and Warm Redskin Potato Salad) or Mediterranean Falafel Platter (Crispy Chickpea Fritters, Tsatsiki, Hummus, Skordalia, and Fatoosh Salad with Romaine, Cucumber, Tomato, Herbs, Feta & Toasted Pita), or Ribs and BBQ Pork ($30.13) Half Slab of Signature Ribs, BBQ Pulled Pork Shoulder, Baked Beans and House Slaw.
Dessert: Strawberry Shake (Homemade Strawberry Ice Cream Shake, Macadamia-White Chocolate Blondie) or Chocolate Covered Pretzel Cake (Pretzel Crust, Buttermilk Brownie, Chocolate Cake, Chocolate Mousse and Homemade Pretzel Ice Cream) or Grown-up Ice Cream Soda (Peach-Flavored Sparkling Wine, Grilled Peaches and Homemade Amoretti Ice Cream) or Coconut Rice Pudding with Passion Fruit “soup” and Toasted Coconut-Rice Clusters
What we thought: A creative menu with plenty of choices that take full advantage of seasonal fruits and vegetables. The Tomato pie is a slice of seasonal heaven, with a flaky crust, thick slice of ripe tomato and four cheeses, and the seviche’s summer vegetables and fruit include corn, tomatoes, green beans and nectarines, brightened by an intensely flavored, cilantro-spiked lime dressing.
The Duo of Pork offers a taste of the Dayton area’s most recent dining trend, pork belly, a boneless cut of fatty-and-very-flavorful meat that here is seared to crispness, served with two slices of pork tenderloin and a fresh and inviting tomato-peach salsa and a tangy, mustard-spiked warm potato salad. Chocolate cake lovers will not be disappointed in the Chocolate-covered pretzel cake.
It’s clear that Hawthorn Grill has embraced the spirit of Restaurant Week and is out to impress diners who haven’t visited before, because a four-course meal of this quality is a fantastic bargain for $25.13. Pacing of the four courses was a little slow on the restaurant’s busy opening night with the entirely new menu, but that’s likely to be resolved as the week progresses.
The info: 1222 E. Stroop Road, Kettering, (937) 298-2222, www.hawthorngrill.com.
Restaurant Week specials are available through Saturday night, Aug. 3. No reservations accepted during Restaurant Week. Regular hours: Open Tuesday through Friday for lunch, Tuesday through Saturday for dinner, and Sunday for brunch.