My husband and I were looking for a place to enjoy a nice dinner in celebration of our 36th wedding anniversary. We live in southern Illinois which has many places to choose from, but we tend to go to the same places every year and chose instead to try a place we had yet to visit.
I put out a request for suggestions from locals on my EVERYTHING IN MODERATION facebook page as well as my husband's personal page, and we found many great reviews/suggestions on many places we have yet to try.
So, I decided to begin reviewing some new places as well as places we already love.
I'm starting with our dining experience at Flame.
Flame Grill-Bar located at 501 E. Walnut St. in Carbondale, Il., opened in 2012 and has quickly become one of the most popular fine dining places in our area. It is easy to find and there is plenty of parking.
Upon entrance, we were greeted by our server who led us to a comfortable booth in an artsy, eclectic, yet classy dining room. Dim lighting and light music playing in the background created the perfect backdrop for a romantic dinner.
The dining area was very clean, and patrons were dressed nicely, but casually.
Our server wasn't the friendliest- not very engaging- but was efficient. I do try to keep in mind that servers are individuals with unique personalities and also I have no idea what they are going through personally at the time we chose to come and dine, so with that in mind, our service was fine. She promptly took our orders and returned routinely for refills and to meet any other needs we had.
We did not have to wait long for any courses of our meal.
Our appetizer choice was the Classic Bruschetta and it was just delicious! The presentation was beautiful and unique. The price was $7.99 and there was plenty for both of us to enjoy.
The perfect blend of flavors-- tomatoes, gorgonzola cheese crumbles, garlic, and balsamic vinegar to spoon onto the warm, crusty bread.
The entrees we chose were both steaks, but prepared differently. I ordered the 12 oz. Grand Steer Top Sirloin.
It was perfectly grilled with a crunchy outer sear while remaining tender and juicy inside--medium rare, just the way I like it. I enjoyed the salty, but delicious seasoning and a generous serving size. My entree came with choice of potato and choice of salad or soup. I chose a Caesar Salad which was very good. Homemade croutons were a nice addition. The dressing was tasty and bold, so little was needed. I chose mashed potatoes as my side and was surprisingly disappointed. I LOVE mashed potatoes and just assumed they would also be great. I only ate a few bites of them. Something was off. Something more butter or salt couldn't remedy. My husband felt the same about his. I would recommend ordering the baked potato instead. My entree was $20.99 which included my steak, potatoes, and salad. It would have also included bread/butter (which I hear is delicious) but you must ask for it on the side-- no extra charge.
My husband ordered the Sirloin and Shrimp Asiago Steak. It was a 12 oz. grilled steak topped with grilled shrimp covered in a creamy Asiago cream sauce with grated Parmesan. He did not care for it. But I think it is just a taste preference, and no reflection on the chef. He took a chance on an unfamiliar combination of Asiago and seafood, and it so happened he didn't like that combo. He felt the cheese overpowered the dish. But again, just his preference, someone else may love that combination. His entree was $27.99 and also included a salad and potatoes. Bread would have also been included.
We were both too full for dessert and drank water and tea, so I can't review desserts or drink choices.
We visited on a Tuesday evening and it was busy enough for a weeknight. Reservations are not required, but I would suggest making them on a weekend or with larger parties. There is ample seating, however, always best to be prepared.
Dress was casual. You could come dressed up or casually dressed and would fit in nicely. This is a nice place to dine for a special occasion. Hours of operation are 11am-9pm Monday-Thursday. Friday and Saturday hours are 11am-10 pm. Closed on Sundays.
I give it 4 out of 5 stars.
Atmosphere and bruschetta are worth a re-visit. Great steak. Good menu selections. Also different specials throughout the week.
Check out their website, or find them on facebook here.
Enjoy! ~Everything in Moderation.