Strap on your cowboy boots everyone because Ted's Montana Grill has officially invaded Philadelphia. The mastermind behind this carnivore kingdom is billionaire businessman Ted Turner. The restaurant's open air dining room is a cross between an upscale saloon and an elaborate hunting lodge. As is the case with most generic steakhouses, prices are relatively reasonable with entrees ranging from $12-$24. The overall novelty of the decor, coupled with the solid prices, helps excuse the servers' occasional complacency.
Ted's Montana Grill boasts a deceptively large menu. That being said, there were only four appetizer choices. I opted for the grilled shrimp on sourdough bread and lemon butter ($8), and the "salt-n-pepper" onion rings with horseradish sauce ($5). The fundamental flaw with both dishes was their lack of flavor. The shrimp were grilled to perfection; however, the lemon butter proved uninteresting. The onion rings clearly lacked the generous amounts of salt-n-pepper the dish's title promised, though they did contain gigantic onion slices. The horseradish sauce ended up being the saving grace for the onion rings as well as the shrimp.
Without question, the entree selections provided more exotic offerings than the appetizer choices. I ventured off the ranch and experimented with the 14oz. Delmonico bison rib eye served with roasted asparagus and sweet potatoes ($23). Ignoring the fact that a quarter of the meat was fat, the bison itself was extremely juicy and surprisingly tender. The roasted asparagus benefited from its close proximity to the ribeye. However, the sweet potatoes disappointed -- they had enough butter to guarantee bypass surgery. The barbeque bison short ribs came with garlic mashed potatoes and country-style green beans ($14). The meat was anointed with an understated barbeque sauce that helped showcase the flavor of the pulled meat, and the garlic mashed potatoes effectively complemented the bison ribs. However, the kitchen apparently forgot to cook the green beans, as they tasted bland and raw.
Dessert selection was limited to ice creams and shakes with one exception: the Kahlua Fudge Brownie with ice cream, finished with a warm Kahlua sauce ($5). Besides being insanely filling, the cold contrast of the vanilla ice cream helped offset the extreme richness of the fudge brownie. This definitely helped bring home the heartiness motif of Ted's Montana Grill. If you're in Center City and you don't have a reservation, head on over to Ted's. However, be sure to loosen your belt buckle several notches before entering Philadelphia's bison sanctuary.