Crab cakes

Crab cakes are among the many menu items at Cassell’s Grille in Mount Holly Springs.

Stephanie Kalina-Metzger, For The Sentinel

Residents who live outside of Mount Holly Springs may not be familiar with Cassell’s Grille located at 5 W Pine St. I, myself, was unaware of the place until I was turned away at another restaurant for failing to make reservations. Stumped for alternatives, I sought the assistance of Yelp.

When I called the grill that Saturday night, I was informed that they would hold a table for two if we were in the vicinity, so off we went.

The gentleman, whom I later learned is the owner (his wife works as the cook), welcomed us. He led us past the bar where locals chatted and sipped cocktails and seated us in an adjacent dining room where we began perusing the extensive menu, which is divided into several sections.

Burger lovers will be glad to learn that Cassell’s offers 14 varieties of “specialty” burgers, from a pizza burger topped with provolone cheese and marinara sauce, to a Reuben burger with sauerkraut, Swiss cheese and thousand island dressing. Additional toppings like avocado and egg can also be added.

Those in the mood for lighter fare can choose from among nine salads, from the steakhouse favorite “Wedge” salad, to the classic Caesar and the California Cobb.

The “Sandwich Board” lists a whopping 17 handhelds, from the salmon B.L.T., to a Cuban pork sandwich and a Yuengling battered fish sandwich. There are more than 10 riffs on the humble chicken, which can be further tailored to individual tastes, with roll choices like brioche, pretzel and Ciabatta.

My hungry dining companion initially didn’t make it past the first page of starters, which included 15 options, from calamari, to sliders, pot stickers and wings, replete with at least a dozen different sauces. In the end, the hot garlic wings won out. The itemization for the menu item mentioned celery and bleu cheese—so do note you’ll pay extra for them as an “add on.”

While my dining partner worked on the hot, glistening, garlic-studded wings, I sipped on an ice-cold Moscow Mule ($5.75). Of course, I had to sample the wings, not once, but twice. I found them to be juicy and flavorful, with a well-balanced sauce—neither too vinegary, nor too hot, with just enough tingle to tantalize the taste buds.

I should also add that I enjoyed the Moscow Mule so thoroughly that I made it a point to ask about the brand of ginger beer used in crafting the concoction. The waitress informed me that the refreshing libation with the playful “bite” is brewed locally at the Appalachian Brewing Company.

For my entrée, I chose the crab cakes ($20.65) from the “Sea Side” part of the menu, which also included scrod, scallops, salmon, shrimp, fish and chips and a clam strip platter.

He opted for the Queen Cut Prime Rib ($24.95) from the “Butcher Block” section. Other choices tailored to the carnivore include New York Strip, pork chops and chicken parmesan, to name just a few.

Those with a pasta preference have choices as well, from dishes like linguine with clam sauce, to penne olio and pasta puttanesca.

Our entrees seemed to be timed perfectly so that we felt neither rushed, nor abandoned. We were impressed with how well the staff managed the busy crowd, and the owner even pitched in, serving coffee and helping the staff with additional tasks.

We were pleased with our entrees, as well. The prime rib was flavorful and a good portion for the price, and my broiled crab cakes were nicely seasoned, with a bit of a kick.

Our green beans, topped with shredded cheese, appeared to be fresh from the market and were done just right. Lastly, I would be remiss in failing to mention the delicious, moist, hunk of cornbread that each patron receives. As if that’s not enough, it’s served alongside a yeasty, hot roll. After all, it’s all about choices at Cassell’s Grille.

If you have yet to visit to this family friendly establishment, it might be worth a road trip to the charming Mount Holly Springs. My advice: save yourself some time and take a peek at the menu on the internet beforehand. Decisions, decisions.

Next Up: Lunch at Mechanicsburg’s York Street Grille.

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