By ANNE CHOVEY
Special to The Herald-Mail
I knew that Dimensions was a local caterer, but I didn’t know that it was also a full-service restaurant called Next Dimensions. A friend of mine said that she had lunch there so I told my friends Pap Ricka and Mack Aroni we should try it out.
To be honest, the restaurant looks a bit odd from the outside. It is a huge industrial-style building that looks more like a fraternal lodge (from its days as the local Moose) than a restaurant.
But the big space is available for the rental hall where up to 350 guests may be seated.
We entered through the front door and proceeded into the restaurant area. We were met immediately by the hostess who asked if we wanted to sit in a booth in the bar area or at a table in the dining room. We opted for a booth.
The bar was impressive. It was massive and dominated the area with dozens of stools lining both sides. The room was brightly lit with booths along one wall and a few tables and chairs in the middle.
In the back corner, a bit out of sight, was a pool table and we could hear the smack of balls being racked and hit.
Neon signs and other beer posters and artwork hung on the walls and flat screen TV’s were strategically placed throughout the room. Overall the impression was clean, spacious and lively.
I peeked in the dining room on my way to the restroom just to check it out. It was off to the left of the bar area and was screened off by lattice “walls.” It was full of tables and chairs and also looked cheerful and pleasant.
Our waiter came over promptly and took our drink orders. While he was getting them, we had the chance to check out the menu.
It had an impressive list of martinis, draft and bottled beer, margaritas and daiquiris. The “starters” looked yummy including many things typically served as bar food: several types of fries, nachos, wings, onion rings and quesadillas. Some items were available in full or half orders.
The menu had a variety of fajitas and salads. There were also pasta dishes many with chicken (chicken Parmigiana and chicken broccoli alfredo) or seafood (crab pasta, mussels with linguine and shrimp scampi). Dinners included a number of steaks, all sorts of chicken dishes and seafood platters.
But what caught our eye was the list of sandwiches and burgers. Pap absolutely loves the flavor of buffalo chicken but doesn’t much like the mess of eating wings.
So when he sees a buffalo chicken salad or sandwich he gets excited. Mack is the picky eater among us. His taste usually centers on fettucine alfredo, but he prefers it without anything green or even remotely resembling a vegetable, so he was happy to order a chicken quesadilla.
As for me, I knew I wanted a burger. After all the fussy little appetizers, cheese balls and sweets of the holiday season, nothing sounded better than a big juicy burger.
But which one? The Cuban: topped with honey baked ham and swiss cheese, served on a pressed corn dusted roll with dijongarlic mayo, pickle chips, shredded romaine and sliced tomato? Or maybe the Old Hickory: topped with grilled vidalia onions, hickory barbecue sauce, melted cheddar cheese, and apple wood bacon. Or the chili burger: topped with homemade chili, grilled red onion, melted cheddar cheese and pico de gallo served with a side of seasoned sour cream. All of them looked amazing but what I decided upon was the Black and Blue: a burger with blackened seasoning and crumbled blue cheese. And while I was at it, I threw in an order of onion rings.
Pap ordered a side salad, which was quickly brought out. It was crispy romaine lettuce with cucumber, carrots, purple cabbage and red onions — very colorful. It was topped with seasoned croutons and chunky blue cheese dressing.
Our waiter brought out our sandwiches and refilled our drinks. Mack had requested that there be no pico de gallo sauce on his quesadilla so our waiter explained that he had provided both a seasoned sour cream as well as a plain one on the side. The quesadilla was a wonderful gooey mess, full of melted cheese, chicken, bacon and salsa. It was spicy and good.
Pap’s buffalo chicken sandwich featured a big slab of breaded chicken drenched in the familiar bright orange buffalo sauce. It was clearly a real piece of chicken as it hung over the edge of the bun, not formed to match up perfectly. The chicken was moist with just the right amount of heat. Pap also got french fries — crisp and hot.
But everyone was jealous when they saw my burger. It was a big patty covered with the blackened seasoning and topped with a load of melted blue cheese crumbles and grilled onions. On the bottom were lettuce and tomatoes.
What a fantastic combination: spicy, sweet from the onions, salty from the cheese all with that wonderful slightly greasy beef flavor that makes up the perfect hamburger. I think I moaned with delight.
I shared it with Pap who also made moaning sounds. I managed to scarf down some of the onion rings. They were breaded with a very thick coating almost like a fried chicken batter. There were served with a seasoned dipping sauce. Different and yummy.
Our very attentive waiter came back to check on us several times and asked us about dessert, which included items such as a brownie sundae and red velvet cheesecake, but we were stuffed.
When we complemented him on the burger, he let us know that they are on special on Wednesdays, when all burgers are $5 all day long. We will definitely go back on a Wednesday. You should, too.
Anne Chovey is a pseudonym for a Herald-Mail freelance writer who reviews restaurants anonymously to avoid special treatment.
4 (out of 5)
Ambiance: 3 1/2
Address: 132 Old National Pike, south of Funkstown
Hours: Closed Mondays; 11 a.m. to 9 p.m. Sunday, Tuesdays, Wednesdays and Thursdays; 11 a.m. to 11 p.m. Friday and Saturday
Food: Traditional bar food, steaks, chicken and seafood. Very few vegetarian options
Bathrooms: Clean and large
Parking and handicapped accessibility: Large parking lot in front of the restaurant. No accessibility issues.
Reservations are not necessary.
Online: DimensionsDining.com and on Facebook