Grub Scout: Shiloh Brew & Chew in Maryville raises the stakes for carnivores

A reader's e-mail brought my attention to a new place in Maryville called Shiloh Brew & Chew, a family restaurant that specializes in steaks and also offers sudsy beverages for the over-21 crowd. The Grub Spouse and I headed that way last weekend to check things out.

Quite a few tables in the main dining area were occupied on our arrival, and a second dining room in the back was hosting a birthday party. A separate bar/lounge area is located off the front room near the entrance. We saw no employees at first, but soon a server made his way to the front and offered us our pick of seating. We chose one of several booths in the front room, which boasts a cowboy/Western motif.

Steaks are the main focus at Shiloh. FYI, if you care to take their Big Ol' Steak challenge, you can try downing an 80-ounce steak, salad, two sides and a roll in under an hour. If you do, you get a free meal, a T-shirt and your photo on their wall of fame. The Spouse and I passed.

The more doable options include a 4-, 8- or 12-ounce sirloin, their signature 18-ounce bone-in rib-eye Cowboy Steak and a six-ounce filet mignon. Prices for these range from $8.99 to $26.99. I landed in the middle by picking the regular 12-ounce rib-eye ($20.99). Like all entrees, this comes with two sides, a salad and rolls. I chose a baked potato and steamed broccoli as my sides and blue cheese as my salad dressing.

The Spouse wanted something non-steaky and considered the other entrees, including grilled chicken breasts, salmon and white fish. The Spouse ordered the Porkcicles — two 4-ounce pork loins served on wild rice — and added carrots and pinto beans as sides.

Brew & Chew's menu has kids' selections as well as several familiar fried appetizers, soups, sandwiches and burgers, any of which might work well as a lunchtime meal. They also serve breakfast.

Our server was very friendly and accommodating, and delivered each course in a timely but not rushed manner. The salads could have had a better veggie-to-lettuce ratio, but my blue cheese dressing was excellent. We also snacked on some decent mini corn muffins while waiting on our entrees.

Overall, the entrees were a mixed bag. The Porksicles get their name not because they're made of frozen pork but because the meat resides on the end of the bone, vaguely suggesting a Popsicle. In fact, the tender, juicy meat was fall-off-the-bone good and flavorful. I don't care for cooked carrots, but The Spouse liked them, and we both agreed the pinto beans were quite good.

The steak was an average effort. It wasn't terrible, but for the same price and cut, I've had much, much better. The seasoning was not remarkable, and the meat was a hint on the dry side. The baked potato was typical, and the broccoli lost its steam quickly. The rolls were warm but still had that distinctive freezer taste.

We decided to try their signature dessert, the deep-fried brownies for a closer. It sounded great on paper, but I thought the execution was marginal. The fried-batter shells were hard to cut through, and the insides were really more cake than brownie. The square of ice cream in the middle was too frozen and difficult to cut through with a spoon. Our dessert experience was fair eating but a dish-clanging mess.

While there are elements of Shiloh's Brew & Chew that I think some patrons might find appealing, I think I'll continue looking for other pastures in which to stake my claim — or claim my steak.

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Shiloh Brew & Chew

Food: 3.5

Service: 4

Atmosphere: 3.5

Overall: 3.5

Address: 1805 E. Lamar Alexander Parkway, Maryville

Phone: 865-233-7307

Hours: 7 a.m. to 10 p.m. Mondays through Sundays

Beer service only

Kids' menu

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Bottom Line: This new Blount County eatery offers a beefy lineup of Black Angus steaks and other family-friendly fare.

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