Prompted by the Metroland Restaurant Review, we went to Tops American Grill in Rotterdam the other day. The Metroland review is far more thorough (he's a professional and I'm a rank amateur, after all), and I generally agree that it's a good place to eat.
Our experience was not quite as good as Mr. Nilsson's. There was some unspecified problem in the kitchen that delayed our food - not a good thing when you have small children with you. Our waitress seemed a bit distracted but was pleasant.
My French Onion soup was good. Maybe a little too much cheese, but that's hard to complain about and is really my cholesterol fears talking. Also it was made with salad croutons instead of a more robust bread, but it was still delicious. Speaking of bread, the bread that came out first was also very nice.
I also ordered a Tuscan bean bruschetta. This was one of the delayed items, and it wasn't great. The bread was a bit overcooked (okay, burned), and the flavors just didn't quite work. I think it had a goat cheese on it and somehow that didn't fit. Could have been a kitchen problem though.
My entree was half great and half mediocre. I had a 5-ounce tenderloin with shrimp scampi and grilled asparagus. The steak was really fantastic. It was so tender I literally was cutting it with my fork. Great flavor with an appropriately small amount of sauce (marsala wine based?). The asparagus was fair, but I expect better from a restaurant. I do better on my own grill. And the shrimp was mediocre. I did eat it, so I'm not saying it was foul or anything like that, but I expected something more. I suspect again this was a kitchen problem. It came out on a skewer which would suggest grilling, but it did not taste or feel like it had been grilled, or perhaps not long enough. I also had a side of sauteed greens that was just okay.
My wife had a roast turkey platter, a hold-over from the restaurant's diner history. She did not seem to like it and did not eat much of it, but that may have been the kids distracting her. I tried it and wasn't impressed - seemed a bit better than something from a school lunch cafeteria - but I'm not a roast turkey guy.
We split a cheesecake and it was good, not great, but I would say better than average and better than a lot of places in the area. As Metroland noted, there is a very broad selection of desserts.
As I write it this review seems more negative than I remember the experience. We will likely go back, as we both liked it. There are some intangible positives -- a pleasant atmosphere, family feeling, sense that many of the customers know and like each other, well designed interior ... something like that.