913 Roosevelt Highway, Hilton
Visited May 26, 2010
Written by Tyler
The Dakota Grill sits close to the road, right on the border of Hamlin and Parma, near an X-shaped intersection. The building looks relatively plain – with a gray exterior – from the outside, but the opposite is true on the inside.
There is a small dining room to the left when you enter, a full bar with TVs in the middle, another dining area to the right of the bar, plus an outdoor patio.
The walls are adorned with many random slices of ‘Americana,’ as Greg described it. Though it seems to be marketed somewhat toward Western and biker types, there really is no one central theme to the Dakota.
Like the Arlington, the Dakota is the closest thing to upscale dining in Hilton, but is still very casual. There are many finer dishes available, including the popular Wednesday ‘Surf & Turf’ special ($16.95), chicken, pasta, steak, seafood and Friday fish fry.
But on our college-student budget, we order from the bar menu, which features many burgers and chicken sandwiches that have become popular take-out options in my house.
The Dakota offers some of the best chicken sandwiches around, and I opted for the Black Jack Cajun Chicken ($5.75) on this visit. The chicken was grilled to perfection, but it’s the seasoning that makes this particular sandwich.
The breast was blackened by a spicy Cajun seasoning – so much so that it looked like it had been completely burnt. Obviously, it hadn’t, and the sweet mustard it was topped in complemented its kick well, making it a delicious concoction.
Greg opted for the Dakota Burger – which was topped with bacon, lettuce, tomato, cheese, Thousand Island dressing and sweet Dakota Sauce – with a side of fries.
Greg was pleased with the burger (cooked medium), saying the key to it was texture.
It was very well cooked; a tad crispy on the outside but pink halfway through and quite tender,” Greg said. “The literal handful of toppings (was) more than enough, and made the burger a tad messy, but delicious.
“I thoroughly enjoyed their combination of the Dakota Sauce with the Thousand Island dressing. The Dakota Sauce was smooth and sweet, while the Thousand Island provided a small kick on the front side.”
Greg added his burger – the most expensive on the menu at $4.95 – was one of the best values around, though his fries (which he described as average) cost extra.
The service was average in terms of promptness, but informative and friendly. We were also pleased by the complimentary bread and butter. Greg described his experience as “pleasant, perhaps even a tad charming.”
The Dakota is a pleasant stop for somewhat upscale, yet casual dining. If you aren’t in to the expensive stuff, the burgers and chicken sandwiches are difficult to be disappointed by. The restaurant and bar put just the right amount of liveliness in to a relatively quiet area.
Service/Atmosphere: Not the quickest, though friendly and you get free bread. The atmosphere is great; it feels like a roadside bar and grill should.
Food: I’m not sure on how the items on the actual dinner menu are, but those on the bar menu are consistently delicious.
Value: As Greg alluded to, the sandwiches are a great value. The portion sizes aren’t big because the items we bought didn’t come with sides, but those can be added for a reasonable price.
Overall: The setting makes it unique, and the Dakota as a whole is nicer than its outside appearance suggests. The entire meal may not blow you away, but the main course (from our experience) always pleases.