Before I get into our review this week I would like to announce that today; the 14th of August is our 8th Anniversary. Yay.
I am not sure how Pat decided on this particular place. The only thing I can figure is that he saw it in his travels and thought it sounded interesting. Well it was definitely interesting. Some may say it was fascinating. It has a great lay out and could probably seat over 150 people. The bar has plenty of seating and located on one end so the other dining area can be used for family dining. It also has a big deck. Of course the deck could used some work. The whole joint could use an overall but it is clean. They offer a $6.99 lunch buffet, but we decided on ordering from the menu.
The menu is quite large and they offer several specials. The prices are excellent as well. After much deliberation Pat decided on Lasagne, which came with a side salad. Our wonderful server/ bartender went to the buffet and made it for him.
It took me nearly as long to order and I was just looking at sandwiches. The sandwiches come with no sides and are all $7.49 and most sides are $1.50. So that is just a bit cheaper that other joints. I decided on a new addition. A hand breaded cod sandwich. I also got a side of coleslaw and our server brought it out with Pat’s salad.
The slaw was homemade and pretty good. I don’t think Grandmas should be worried but it was better than most. I must admit I was not prepared for my sandwich.
I have never seen such a poorly presented sandwich. Four ounces of fish on 8 ounces of bread. The cold set consisted of one small piece of iceberg, one tomato slice and a few scraps of onion. Oh yes and a big solo of mediocre tartar sauce. I was more bemused than angry. Who could ever say that this plate was something they would admit to creating. It is all well and good to control portions. I further understand how two ounce cod loin portions seem attractive to control cost but couldn’t you find a smaller hoagie bun. If you insist on a 4 oz cod sandwich why not a round bun? Of course this is just a rhetorical question because who ever is in charge of your kitchen either doesn’t know any better or doesn’t care. Also it is doubtful they will even read this. I just chuckled and cut half of the bun in half and used that to make my sandwich. It made a nice size sandwich that way. However after all that the fish itself was pretty bland. The tomato tasted fresh though.
So Pat was the big winner. He got a double side salad and enough Lasagne to take home for a second meal for $10.49. I got a average at best sandwich, some assembly required, for $7.49. I also met a very charming lady who served us our food and drinks and made me a very nice Margarita for $5. In a Mason Jar.
Well I don’t have much to add. I can’t recommend the cod sandwich but the Lasagne is pretty good. If that cod portion had been 6 ounces or more and fit the bun like other places I would not have said a word. Except that it would probably still be bland
I am starting off my lunch review with a picture of the best part of my lunch. Pie
A delicious slice of Lemon Meringue pie for $3.50. They buy the pies from Hoosier Mama Pie Company in Chicago. The same outfit that the previous owner use. It was an excellent piece of pie. I can’t say the same for the rest of my lunch. My meat loaf dinner was $9.45 and came with soup or salad, roll and VOD as well as a plate of meat loaf and “lumpy mashed potatoes” all smother with gravy. One of the soup options was Chicken Gumbo. Well it was not what I expected.
I think you could call this many things but Gumbo isn’t one of them. I have never seen a Gumbo that didn’t have the Trinity in it. Nor have I ever had a Gumbo with macaroni added to it. Overall it had the flavor of a Campbell’s Soup. Would not do it again.
The roll was interesting. It had a slight Ciabatta chew to it which I thought was nice and they use real butter which is always good. As for the veggie. Why bother. It was straight from a bag of frozen vegetables and no attempt was made to even make them even interesting.
Now we come to the center of the plate. The meat loaf. It wasn’t bad just not really good. I would guess that it wasn’t made in-house. I based that on the compaction and the fine grind of the meat. If I am wrong then they can redeem it by using seasoning in a more bold fashion. Since they refer to their potatoes as lumpy I would guess they are made here from real potatoes. They are pretty lumpy and pretty good. The gravy was more than likely from a mix but had a decent flavor to it. I think if you want a more “scratch made ” experience you should try breakfast, which they sell all day. It is a really large menu so you could probably find something you like.
Pat has mentioned this place a few times as he sees it quite often while shopping. He and Fran went one evening and thought it was worth a visit for lunch. I trust Pat’s taste and judgement as he can be pretty finicky. However on this I was a bit apprehensive. There are 2 food sites here. Urbanspoon and Yelp. On Yelp people were complimentary of the food not too complimentary on the service. On Urbanspoon only 3 people visited the joint, one liked it and only one wrote a review of it. He didn’t even eat there. He though the place too dirty. Well as soon as I walked in I wondered what joint he was writing about.
The place is huge. They have 3 pool tables and a section for bands. They offer live music on weekends; so I can see prompt service possibly being a problem when they are rockin’. As far as the “dirty” problem I saw a joint that looked pretty clean.
We were the first customers of the day so we had the joint to ourselves for a while. The bartender was quite able. Efficient and friendly. Between serving us, other customers and doing a few bartender jobs I don’t think he stopped for a minute.
When Pat was there last week he and Fran shared an appetizer; Sausage Pie. It’s Italian sausage, salami cubes and cheese with a bread crust, top and bottom. Like a deep dish pizza with a top. The resultant pieces are approximately three inches square and 2 inches thick. They come with sauce on the side and you can get 4 pieces for $4.95 or 8 for $8.95. Pat insisted on the larger order. He intended to “pig out on the pie and get a side salad for his entrée.
Yeah; we started eating before we took the shot. Just visualize 4 more pieces in the empty spaces.
They call this a side salad. $2.95. It’s sort a’ big. I got one just like it with my entrée. But; before I go there let us review the Sausage Pie. It was very good. Lovely taste and texture. A nice fennel flavor from the Italian sausage, melding nicely with the cheese,and a hunk of salami, every now and then. As I understand ,it is someone’s Grandma’s recipe. Very good job.
On the menu featured on their website the offer house made lasagna. And they offer it as a half, for $6.95 or a whole for $12.95. Well I wanted a half portion; but they don’t do that any more. So I ordered a full size. I only ate 2 pieces of my pie, half my salad and I was staring at a rather large piece of pasta, meat, cheese and red sauce. With some help from Pat I was only able to eat maybe one-third of the portion. But what I ate was quite good. The ricotta had a nice herb seasoning that fit the sausage and sauce quite well. This dish was superior to several that I have had at authentic Italian restaurants. My only question when I saw the dish was why so much marinara? It was pretty tasty, but most joints like to show off the browned cheese top. Well, when I got home with the left overs I learned why.
After I got home my better half ate the left overs. And she discovered that approximately half of the lasagna was burned on the top. The half farthest away from me. It wasn’t burned so badly as to render it inedible; but it was pretty dark. In either event it should not have been served. I have theories as to how it could have happened; but they are all moot. The kitchen guy screwed up. Our’s was his first ticket. It wasn’t like he was being slammed and in the weeds. It was his first ticket. Don’t get me wrong I don’t think this makes him a rotten cook or this a rotten joint. He just screwed up. His sausage pie was very good as was the first half of the lasagna. He just should not have sold that ticket. But will that stop me from going back. NO. They offer prime rib on Friday and Saturday nights. And they have ribeye on the menu. And I have a thing for steak and beer.
Pat and I stopped here last week for beers. We were both taken by the friendliness of the crowd at the bar and Mary our bartender. We also enjoyed that draft beers were only $3.50, microbrews included. The menu was inviting and the prices are more than reasonable. Also, Mary seemed genuinely excited about the food. No one should ever underestimate the power of “a happy server face”.
Since Thursday, our normal lunch date was also July 4, we decided to go on Wednesday. Mary. Wasn’t working but Jen, our bartender was equally friendly and gracious. On their appetizer menu they have several half orders as well as full orders. Which I think is a great idea. Quite often appetizer portions are so large, people have an appetizer as an entrée. Which, from a business standpoint lowers your ticket averages. With that in mind we decided to split a half order of battered and fried mushrooms. They were excellent. A crisp fried batter full of flavor was a great foil to the softness of the fried mushroom. We had homemade bleu cheese dressing as a dipping sauce. That was probably the wrong move. Not that the dressing wasn’t very good. It was just too thick to dip the mushrooms in. I think ranch dressing or the cocktail sauce that was offered would’ve been a better choice.
One of their specials for that day was homemade lasagna. It came with soup or salad and garlic toast for $7.25. Since only onion powder was used in making the sauce for the lasagna, Pat felt it was safe to order.
I ordered strictly off the menu. Something I’ve never had before. A grilled chicken club. that is like a conventional club, 86 turkey, and substitute grilled chicken. I hesitated ordering it because a lot of kitchen guys don’t like making them. If you are busy it doesn’t take too many club orders to put you in the weeds. mine came on some beautiful marbled rye bread. It was an excellent sandwich, and fun to eat. Since it was a triple-decker , you could break it down into smaller flavor profiles. There is just something about the sweetness of fresh tomato and mayonnaise paired up with salty bacon and ham that is delicious. and replacing deli turkey with the tender grilled chicken breast is a no-brainer. And their homemade blue cheese dressing is a great dip for the copious quantity of ruffles that come with the sandwich. I couldn’t eat all of my sandwich so I took it home for my better half. She promptly declared it was the best sandwich I ever brought home.
So ladies and gentlemen, that was our experience at the Keystone Sports Review. not only is the food good;the prices right and the service great, but to me it was a pleasure to watch such a well-run business. I think it is more than worth a trip. Oh one last thing. The Dr Mc Gillicuddy Pat referred to was Mentholated Schnapps. That was also one of their specials,$ 2 /shot. We each had one as an aperitif. It settled his stomach and gave him fresh breath. I ‘m sure his better half appreciated that.https://kosherhamandcheese.com/?p=1771&preview=true