Here’s the Beef

Diningf_MalonesMalone’s in Scotts Valley offers gargantuan burgers and outlandishly fresh salads
In 1980 Scotts Valley had fewer than 7,000 residents, and small planes still landed on the runways of its airport. During that year three decades ago, Malone’s Grande Grille first opened its doors, serving the biggest burgers you’d ever laid eyes on.

More recently, I was surprised by how full the restaurant was for a weekday lunch, with many well-dressed patrons apparently taking breaks from local businesses.

Too chilly to sit on the expansive patio, we took a seat in the elegant dining room. Every staff member was as helpful and as friendly as could be, and the iced tea glasses were never less than half full.

Large, thin, oval rings of Killer Calamari ($8.95) with crisply fried tentacles were a tasty appetizer. The creamy aioli mayonnaise dip was lightly flavored with smoky chipotle jalapeños.

With a menu boasting “Signature – Almost a Pound Burgers,” I had to try one. The enormous Cobb Burger ($11.50) was fortunately cut in two. Each half of the rectangular, toasted ciabatta roll was the size of a normal sandwich. Inside, the three-quarter pound patty of finely ground beef was fully cooked as requested, and, although well done, was still moist. It was joined by a touch of garlic mayonnaise, lettuce, tomato, red onion, avocado, bacon and blue cheese.

The Chicken Club ($11.95), served on the same soft roll, included grilled chicken and bacon with buffalo mozzarella and basil-lemon aioli. Both sandwiches were served with a choice of soup, salad, or steak fries. The mixed garden greens side salad, with carrot and marinated beans, was streaked with thick balsamic vinaigrette.

Malone’s also offers dinner-sized salads such as a grilled skirt steak with blue cheese and onion strings. The Oriental Chicken Salad ($12.50) featured slices of grilled chicken breast on a bed of refreshingly ice cold, crisp romaine lettuce, slivers of yellow and red bell peppers and bean sprouts, sprinkled with sesame seeds, minced peanuts, and crunchy, fried squares of wonton wrappers. The tasty dressing, traditionally tart and lightly sweetened, had a toasty sesame flavor.

If you prefer meat and potatoes, Malone’s offers numerous sizes of prime steaks to choose from, fish of the day which recently featured peppered and seared ahi, and a selection of pastas including skirt steak and fettuccini with Gorgonzola cream sauce ($18.95).

Malone’s hosts numerous special events. The weekly Wine Down Wednesdays ($10), from 5 to 7 p.m., includes live music on the patio and unlimited tasting from the featured winery. When the weather cools down, the party moves inside by the glowing fireplace.

When my daughter turned 21 this year, she was most excited about singing karaoke, which normally is offered only in bars. But on Monday nights at Malone’s, singing is a family affair.  From 5:30 to 8:30 p.m., kids (5 and older) can join the folks in releasing their inner rock stars. Adult karaoke is offered in the bar on Saturday nights from 9 p.m.

Malone’s Grande Grille, 4402 Scotts Valley Drive, Scotts Valley, 438-2244. Full bar. Serving lunch weekdays all day from 11 a.m., and on weekends 11:30 a.m. to 2:30 p.m. Dinner is served Monday through Thursday from 4 p.m. and Friday and Saturday from 5 p.m. Visit malonesgrille.com. Send comments on this article to [email protected] or visit goodtimessantacruz.com.

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