is an upscale chain restaurant located in Centreville on Trinity Parkway. Complete with rich dark wood booths, a large, fully stocked bar, a friendly wait staff, and an extensive list of menu items, Copper Canyon Grill knows how to meet the expectations of date night-goers and families alike. And if you know how to sidestep some culinary land mines, you can have quite a nice experience there, without the long wait typical of some popular Centreville-area restaurants.
We started with an appetizer I’d never heard of, Shrimp Cargot. It consisted of large, fresh shrimp prepared escargot-style with garlic butter, topped with broiled Havarti cheese and accompanied by a dense and crusty French baguette. The cheese was hot, bubbly and delicious. Where this dish falters, however, is in the use of pre-chopped garlic. The distinct taste of garlic-from-a-jar disappointed me. We would have gladly waited the extra two minutes it would have taken the chef to peel open a fresh garlic clove instead. That one change would have transformed this $11 appetizer from a “hmm” to a “wow.”
Copper Canyon Grill touts wood-fired rotisserie chicken as its specialty, so I selected an entrée that featured both rotisserie chicken as well as St. Louis-style ribs. The chicken was prepared with a wonderful spice rub that was perfectly salty and savory, with just the right amount of pepper and herbs. The rub added flavor and toothy crunch to the skin, without being over bearing. The only downfall to my generous half-chicken serving, however, was slightly dry meat. Since this dish is pricey at $24, a smarter way to try the rotisserie chicken is to add it to one of Copper Canyon’s more reasonably priced salads for a small upcharge.
The ribs were the stars of my entrée. They were perfectly moist, tender, and had crispy bacon-like edges. The St. Louis-style sauce was the perfect combination of sweet and tangy, with just the right amount of mouth puckering vinegar that left you wanting more. The only disappointment was the fact that they only served four ribs with my entree.
As for my sides, I substituted redskin mashed potatoes for fries. The potatoes had way too much pepper, and sported an odd gray color. I also opted for the honey glazed carrots instead of cole slaw. The carrots were a good choice; the mashed potatoes were not. But I have to give the waiter credit for not flinching when I asked to make substitutions.
My companion ordered the Sesame Seared Ahi Tuna Salad, which featured a generous portion of seared and sliced black sesame seed-encrusted Ahi filet over mixed greens, cherry tomatoes, shredded carrots, spiced pecans, pickled ginger and goat cheese. Large, super-crunchy and buttery cornbread croutons added a delicious touch to this dish, which was perfectly dressed in a wonderful house-made Adobe dressing. The goat cheese was an unnecessary addition, and ours tasted like it had been in the refrigerator too long. Despite that, it was an outstanding salad.
Pineapple Upside Down Cake is another item not often seen on restaurant menus. Topped with vanilla bean ice cream and a fabulous Jim Beam-spiked bourbon sauce and tons of crushed pineapple, this dessert was super hot, sweet, fresh, and more than enough for two.
Copper Canyon Grill offers daily soup choices, and sandwiches and burgers that start at $10. Entrees range from $14 to $28. But don’t let the pricey entrees deter you. There are lots of more reasonable options to choose from to keep everyone happy, and a few super stars that will keep you coming back.