I recently visited the Blue Snapper Grill (formerly Vhooda) in Middleburg Hts., OH. with my seven-year-old daughter. It was a girls’ night out, since Daddy was working and my son was attending a football function. I have wanted to visit Blue Snapper since it changed from Vhooda in February 2009.
From what I had heard, the owners of Vhooda changed the name, menu and atmosphere to appeal to a greater number of customers. Vhooda was known as a high end, expensive, “special occasion” place that did not encourage frequent visits from local patrons. The intention of the revamped Blue Snapper was to offer a more casual atmosphere with more of a “neighborhood bar and grill” feel.
We arrived early (before 6 p.m.) and were seated immediately. There was a growing crowd on the outdoor patio, enjoying the unseasonably warm Cleveland Fall temperatures, but my daughter wanted to sit inside.
Not much has changed inside from the old Vhooda. The large, arch-shaped aquarium is still there, as is the carved stone foyer that gives visitors the feeling they are entering into a Mayan temple (the name Vhooda was derived from the Mayan god of feast). However, the restaurant seemed a bit brighter than I remember.
The walls were adorned with what appeared to be Mardi Gras masks and tropical themed decorations such as surfboards and fishing nets. Perhaps the decorators were trying to reach out to a younger crowd, but some of the wall hangings seemed out of place.
Similar to Vhooda, the menu is somewhat limited, with three or four choices in each category (beef, chicken, seafood, sandwiches). The children’s selections include standard fare such as chicken tenders, grilled cheese, and burgers.
We started our meal with the Thai Steak Skewers appetizer. Grilled flank steak with peanut sauce and grilled pineapple were stacked beautifully like pick-up sticks. A wonderful presentation and generous portion (5 skewers) were somewhat dampened by the toughness of the meat that my daughter had trouble chewing. For $9.95, I would have liked to enjoy more of the starter than taking it home in a to-go box for Daddy.
Other appetizers range from queso and chips for $5.99 to lobster Rockefeller for $11.99.
For our main course, my daughter ordered (no surprise) chicken tenders and fries. Again, she received a generous portion of breaded chicken with a heaping serving of french fries, of which she declared the former “amazing!” Quite a compliment from a capon connoisseur. The price of $3.99 for all children’s entrees will please any parent.
I opted for a lighter entrée, since we had ordered the beef appetizer. I chose the Bob Marley wrap, a flour tortilla rolled with blackened shrimp, mango salsa (my favorite), lettuce and red raspberry vinaigrette. While the taste was fantastic, it was a bit light on the shrimp. I counted only three shrimp, which were cut lengthwise, I imagine, to give the illusion of six. I was given my choice of French fries, sweet potato fries or greens as my side dish. I selected the greens which were served with balsamic vinaigrette. The dressing was delicious, although it fought with the raspberry vinaigrette on the wrap. Carrying the raspberry vinaigrette over to the greens would have been a better complement. This dish was priced at $9.99.
Other entrées include pasta, poultry, salmon and, of course, snapper. Prices range from $9.99 for a vegetable stir-fry to $21.99 for surf and turf.
For dessert, we were excited to try the house special, Lucifer Cake, a gluttonous concoction of devil’s food cake (four layers), loaded with chocolate, fudge, whipped cream and chocolate puddled around the plate. It is more than enough for two, although my daughter had no trouble finishing it once I reached my limit. Priced at $6.99, this dessert is sure to please the inner chocoholic.
Our server checked on us occasionally, although she spent most of her time on the patio which, by this time, was bustling. Visiting on a Thursday, we were in and out within an hour. We were able to use a Vhooda coupon for a free entrée with the purchase of another entrée, up to an $8.99 value.
Overall, it was a nice treat for a girls’ night out, but not a place we would visit as a family more than once a year. The atmosphere and menu attempt to stay true to the South American influence of the original Vhooda, although it is more Margaritaville, is better suited to adults and couples.
The Blue Snapper Grill is located at 18590 Bagley Road in Middleburg Hts., Ohio. Reservations are not required, but recommended, by calling (440) 234-1001. They are open from 11:00 a.m. until 2:00 a.m. Monday through Saturday, and 11:30 a.m. until 12:00 a.m. on Sundays.
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Blue Snapper Grill
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