Copper Grill at Brookwood Mall has become Plaza III Steakhouse, and a lot more than the name has changed. Gone are all the flamboyant (and sometimes tacky) things that made Copper Grill seem like something from Vegas or Disney -- the twinkly-star ceiling, the huge menus with the garish color photos, the spiels about rare olive oils or imported desserts, the Rat Pack soundtrack, the leopard-print upholstery, the flaming rosemary branch that accompanied the rack of lamb on its journey to your table, the pushy service.
In their place is a very classic, very basic, Midwestern-style steakhouse. In addition to a facelift, the restaurant has a completely new menu, emphasizing USDA Prime beef for prime rib and steaks, which you can order with a choice of sauces, or get in classic preparations such as Steak Oscar and Steak au Poivre. You can still get huge, live lobsters flown in from Maine each day. Sides, which in classic steak house style you order separately and are large enough for two, include things like steamed asparagus, sauteed mushrooms, creamed or plain spinach, and seven different potato sides, from Idaho baked to white cheddar potatoes. Salads are basic -- classic Caesar, spinach salad, iceberg wedge, house salad featuring ranch dressing. The wine list is heavy on California selections.
We plan to go back for a second visit and give you a full review, but our initial take was that while we don't miss a lot of the tackiness of Copper Grill, we do miss some of that pizzazz. As our waiter (who had been there seven years and did an excellent job) commented, with Copper Grill, "it was all about the show." Plaza III is good, but for our tastes, both the atmosphere and the food were a bit bland. If you're into very simple, basic food, and places like Highlands are too weird for you, then Plaza III may be just the ticket.