IF YOU GO
• Where: Brass Hat Bar & Grill, 2345 Shallowford Village Drive (Four Points by Sheraton hotel)
• Phone: 423-834-9500
• Website: www.fourpoints.com/chattanooga
• Hours: 6-10 a.m. Monday-Friday and 6-11 a.m. Saturday-Sunday (breakfast); 5-10 p.m. Sunday-Thursday and 5-11 p.m. Friday-Saturday (dinner)
• Price range: Dinner entrees, $11 (fish and chips)-$24 Alaska halibut
• Alcohol: Full bar
Restaurants connected to hotels can be popular in Chattanooga.
One that comes to mind is Porter's Steakhouse inside the historic Sheraton Read House Hotel downtown.
A less expensive -- yet still upscale -- dining experience can be had across town at the Brass Hat Bar & Grill inside the Four Points by Sheraton hotel near Hamilton Place mall.
Only breakfast and dinner -- not lunch -- are served at the Brass Hat Bar & Grill. The menu is described as American-style with global flair. Everything is prepared by hand, with seafood flown in twice a week from Alaska.
Breakfast is $10 and under, with the highlight being The Four Points Breakfast ($10) that includes two eggs, bacon, ham or sausage, seasoned potatoes, toast with butter and jam, and juice, tea or Rainforest Alliance Certified gourmet coffee. Other items include a stack of three buttermilk pancakes ($7), oatmeal ($4), cereal ($3) and two eggs ($3).
The most expensive main course for dinner was Alaska halibut ($24). Other menu items include flown-in Alaska salmon ($15), made-to-order trottole pasta ($12) and chicken Marsala ($12). Fish and chips ($11) is the least expensive main course. Starters ranged from the soup of the day ($4) to chicken fingers ($9). Salads include salmon salad ($13) to grilled chicken Caesar salad ($11), Cobb salad ($11) and strawberry blue salad ($11), a mix of fresh spinach leaves, strawberries, roasted pecans, red onions and blue cheese crumbles. Sandwiches range from a portabella veggie burger ($8) to the grilled-to-order ribeye steak sandwich ($11).
We went for dinner and started with the caprese salad ($7), which is fresh tomatoes, basil leaves and fresh mozzarella cheese with a balsamic reduction. The salad was tasty, and the presentation was dramatic, with all the ingredients lined up on a square white plate with the balsamic reduction drizzled over. The other starter was bruschetta ($5), which was five pieces of crostini, or small pieces of toast, topped with tomato relish and shredded parmesan cheese.
The main course was the chef's Fish of the Day salmon ($15) with a side of asparagus and fries. Cooked in butter, the salmon was delicious. The fries were made from whole potatoes, and the asparagus was just right.
Since we hit happy hour, a glass of house pinot grigio wine ($2.50) was half-price and a bargain.
Dessert was delicious. We had cheesecake chimichangas -- flour tortillas wrapped around cheesecake and deep-fried. The tortilla crust was light and flaky, and the cheesecake was tasty and still had a bit of chill since it had been frozen before hitting the deep fryer.
The service was friendly and professional. Executive chef and food and beverage director Chris Bilbra handled all the wait-staff duties the night we were there. Since he runs the restaurant, he knows the menu inside and out.
The restaurant ties in with the hotel lobby, and most of the other diners were eating alone, with their noses buried in laptop computers. So it has a hotel feel. It's got a hip vibe, though, with huge photos on the walls shot in Chattanooga, including old trains and the historic Volunteer State Life building downtown. The five flat-screen TVs were tuned to different channels; three showed a pro baseball game. There's seating for 42 inside and 20 outside on a patio.
The food and the service were great and it was fun, as a Chattanooga resident, to have an excuse to pop into a hotel and have dinner. The Brass Hat Bar & Grill isn't run-of-the-mill hotel food. It's definitely worth a visit -- and return trips.
Contact Tim Omarzu at email@example.com or 423-757-6651.