It surprised me when I read that McKinley’s Grille’s Chef David Teig prepares his menus using a selection of farm-to-table produce grown on-site at McKinley’s own farm. What is even more surprising is that McKinley’s Grille is situated inside a hotel — Sheraton Pomona!
I was visiting friends in the area and we decided to stop by for a leisurely lunch. It was a nice day and not scorching enough for me to say no to sitting outside for our meal. The menu offered some small starters which was perfect to sample various items without filling up too quickly.
Ahi Tuna Sahimi ($4) looked strange the minute it was placed on the table. The tuna had a strange color and texture but it tasted okay. The tuna was ‘crusted’ with shichimi (togarashi) drizzled with a passion fruit vinaigrette.
I love scallops and Japanese Lantern Scallops ($4) caught my eye. These are small scallops the size of a small cherry tomato. They are flavorful and I was glad the citrus ponzu was reduced to a rich flavor instead of left au naturel. I could’ve eaten two plates of these.
House cured olives ($2) is a perfect accompaniment if you’re having cocktails and I was sad it was too early for me to indulge in one. The feta added a saltier, but tastier dimension to the olives, while farm herbs added a touch of zing. Think I might re-create this at home!
Unfortunately, the Jicama and Cilantro Salad with prickly pear vinaigrette ($2) was rancid. I had taken a bite and the odor permeated my mouth so quickly I couldn’t spit it out in time. Such a shame because I love jicama and I could tell if it had been fresh, it would’ve been refreshingly delicious.
The Short Rib Dip ($13) is served on a baguette and stuffed with richly braised meaty short rib. The caramelized onions were abundant but too sweet, and the au jus too brothy and lackluster. However, the house-made horseradish dressing swooped in to save the day and brought it all together with just one small dollop.
I love fish and chips and the version here uses Pacific Ling Cod ($13), a nice mild white fish.
The vandouvan aioli (vandouvan, or vadouvan is an Indian-inspired French spice with curry and masala flavors) is lovely but I preferred it with my friends’ fries (I got salad instead) instead of the fish.
I requested tartare sauce because I just like to eat fish and chips the traditional way (maybe I should’ve asked for malt vinegar).
The atmosphere is relaxed and the food good. Just the fact that they grow everything makes it enough for me to want to come back for more. Next time you’re out this way, make it a point to stop in and see for yourself how fresh everything is. You won’t regret it.
601 W McKinley Avenue
Pomona, CA 91768