This year, for the Thanksgiving holiday, my family decided to “rough it” in the good ‘ole Smoky Mountains and bunk up in a cabin right outside of Gatlinburg, Tennessee. My brother and his wife incessantly raved about this nice restaurant in town, Cherokee Grill. My brother swore they made the perfect steak, so we just had to give it a shot! Cherokee Grill is your typical American grill/steakhouse. You will find anything from stuffed mushrooms for an appetizer to a good ‘ole fashioned cheeseburger for lunch or dinner.
My mother and I decided that we were going to tag team the menu and try the recommendation of our server, David. She decided on the Cherokee Grill Burger - topped with sautéed onions, peppers, mushrooms and cheddar cheese with a side of the highly recommended Baked Macaroni & Spinach with Spicy Cheese ($10.95). I wanted to see if they indeed had the “perfect steak” so, I ordered the 7oz Filet Mignon - seasoned & hardwood grilled with a side of steamed broccoli and the Macaroni & Spinach with Spicy Cheese ($22.95).
The burger was cooked to order, medium. It was juicy, but not as flavorful as it sounded in the description. The sautéed onions, peppers, and mushrooms were sparingly topped on top of the burger; my mother would’ve definitely appreciated a little more. She thought their version of Mac n’ cheese was “cute” and she rated it “good.” I would have to agree with my mother. The macaroni came piping hot, as did the broccoli (which is always a plus), but I could’ve used more spice in the spicy cheese – maybe add jalapeños! Or use Pepper Jack Cheese! Or add some cayenne pepper…something! But, eh, it was decent.
I ordered my steak medium. The center was cooked to perfection; however, the outer edge of the steak was more on the “well” side. It would’ve been nice to have a consistently cooked steak. It tasted good, was decently-seasoned…but I still needed A1 to give it the extra “umph” that I needed. Definitely not a perfect steak, but it was good. I’d get it again.
Our waiter was an older gentleman who was very efficient and attentive without being bothersome. My father is a picky and very specific customer. My father made a few mistakes in ordering his salad (forgot to 86 the cheese and bacon) and his loaded baked potato (everything on the side). The waiter seemed very understanding and didn’t show any frustration. We are a tough crowd when we are all together (we’re good tippers!!), and David handled it well.
From most angles of the restaurant, you have a nice view of the open kitchen and the bar. The décor is classic and dark, just like you would expect at a steak house in the mountains – but with no random animal heads as decoration!
It was super-crowded, and they do not take reservations. My sister-in-law called ahead of time in order to have a 45min or less wait, but by the time we grabbed a glass of wine from the bar and peeled off a few layers (it snowed!) we were being seated. Traffic was nuts in Gatlinburg that Saturday! We were lucky to find parking on site, but you may want to be prepared to park a few blocks down just in case.
(I think my expectations were a bit high, but it was still yummy)