Roll out the barrel? More like roll US out of the barrel!

I was at my physical therapist (seeing because I hurt my back golfing!!) who by the way is awesome so far. TOP Physical Therapy – Total Orthopedic Performance – Ross Walker. They are at 15 & Ryan. Everyone is really nice and it seems to be helping. Getting old sucks. Anywho, I was there and we were chatting about the blog and they recommended we try Tap and Barrel at 23 & Old Van Dyke. I was told the food was surprisingly good and the beer selection ample.

Good beer and food? We will be the judge of that! On a Friday night when we were deciding where to go for dinner, whether we go somewhere familiar or somewhere new, we decided we wanted something new for fodder for the blog, so this seemed like the perfect place.

It is an easy drive from our house, and the restaurant looked new when we arrived. In fact, Brown Iron Brewhouse is down the street and when we went there, I do not remember this place so it must be fairly new. (Read the Brown Iron review HERE). The place inside did not disappoint. Clean, new, great ambiance and a great patio. It was a blazing 90 degrees that day and we had been in the pool all day so opted for some nice air conditioning.

The beer menu was indeed ample. They had a few porters that looked interesting, but heavy and too high apv for my tastes today. I always want to order an IPA but I am just not a fan. They always have the coolest names! They had an APA, Green Zebra which sounded fun and I so much wanted to try the Juice Bigalow Hop Gigalo, but no, I opted for a simple Alaskan Amber. Why can’t porters and ales have fun names too? Like Alaskan Moose Juice Amber? I digress. The Alaskan Amber is a nice light beer, but puncher than a standard ale. It is darker, rich and malty with just a hint of hop. APV is 5.3%. It is a well balanced easy sipping beer for summer.

My oh so handsome Omar jumped right into the Porters. Starting with Heavy Seas: Black Beards Breakfast, a whopping 10% apv, this porter is aged in bourbon barrels and brewed with Chesapeake Bay Dark Sumatra Coffee. Dark and strong. He had a second beer, a Ballast Point Victory at Sea. Bold with a hint of sweetness, this beer combined vanilla and coffee with caramel undertones. another 10% APV.

To eat, we felt it necessary to over order so we could give a good solid review. You are welcome. Omar ordered wings, with half honey-habanero and half their “famous” Faygo root beer maple. The wingers were large, cooked well, and good flavor. The honey-habanero had a sneaky kick that lingered. The Faygo root beer maple was good, not great. A bit sweet and hard to pull out the root beer or the maple flavors.

Per our waitress Kayla’s suggestion, I ordered the Reuban sandwich, fries and a side of French Onion Soup (yes I was sharing with Omar). The soup was interesting. Topped with what appeared to be stuffing mix, topped with cheese, fried onions and scallions. I thought it would not work, but you know, it did! The soup was boiling hot, steaming with onions, a good beefy broth and those weird toppings on top really paired well.

We split the sandwich, which was made with Wigley’s Corned Beef and you could really tell. The rye bread was crispy, it just needed a bit more thousand Island. The fries however, were a disappointment. They were the batter fried fries that as you all know I hate. They were called “house fries” but very average. I wish we opted for the “homemade onion rings”.

A near perfect experience, except for the fries, but I was too stuffed to eat them anyway. A great night out and a great suggestion! I was told to go back and try the chicken and waffles, and we probably will!

This Restaurant Almost Turned Me Into a River Crab!

While dining at Morton’s and the manager Matt talked us into purchasing the Landry’s Card (you can read all about HERE) he suggested one of the places we should try is the River Crab in Saint Clair. We were deciding what to do the next night and dining outside on the water sounded like a perfect idea. He raved about the food and said he and his wife frequent quite often. He even said “register your card now and use your welcome $25 off there tomorrow.” Well folks if you are going to do this, you have to register your card a full 24 hours in advance until the email goes out and your account is updated. We had to go the next night sans coupon!

The restaurant is quite far. A good almost hour drive up I-94. It is located on the Saint Clair River with great views of Canada and the occasional freighter. It was an unusually hot day for Michigan, in the high 90’s and lots of humidity. We were a bit disappointed to find out they closed the outdoor dining because it was too hot for the staff. They did however, find us a seat near a large picture window looking over the river. There was a table right next to the window, which we requested but they said they were bringing another group of 4 right down to sit there. We were disappointed to not only see no one being sat for a long time, but then a couple finally sat there. It was odd that we were told no. That was our first inkling that things were a bit off.

I ordered a blood orange bullet sour, their own version. I had some hopes it would be similar to a whiskey sour, I dared not hope it would be close to the one at Eddie Vs. The drink was odd, It was very cirtusy as I probably should have expected, less sour than it should be but then what was that odd taste making my drink taste like Christmas? It was an odd addition of cinnamon in a drink it clearly didn’t belong.

Omar ordered a “New Fashioned” which was their take on a Old Fashioned. Omar said it was pretty good. A far better drink than my weird Christmas Sour. My second drink I ordered just a whiskey sour and asked them to not add any spices. It was better, but still lacking that world class cocktail taste we have grown so accustomed to at Eddie V’s. We really are getting spoiled.

For dinner, Omar ordered an “East Meets West” appetizer consisting of Seared Ahi Tuna and a Tuna Tartare, with a crispy slaw and wasabi cream. The appetizer was delicious and fresh. The flavors worked well together and it was just the right proportion. The bread is fantastic. Warm poppy rolls and flat multi grain crackers. They bring you butter and a really yummy salmon pate for dipping. Frankly I could have just ate bread all night. Omar also got the New England Clam Chowder. He actually ordered Manhattan, but they brought the wrong soup out and he just ate it anyway. The soup was flavorful and ample amount of clams. Besides my weird drinks, the night was going pretty well but that when the main course happened (insert ominous music here)…

Omar ordered Surf and Turf, A 6oz filet, lobster tail; maître d’ butter, smashed redskin potatoes, asparagus. His filet was over cooked. He asked for rare –  even mooing and it came medium rare. The way I like it! The lobster was overcooked, but had good flavor. The potatoes were ok, nothing special at all. Needed more punch of something, maybe fresh chives? The asparagus was way overcooked. Limp and tasteless.

I ordered a filet Oscar Style (with a Bernaise sauce and lump crab) along with the smashed potatoes, mixed veggies and a Ceasar salad. The salad was ok, ample in size but lacking that punch I like in a cesar and no hint whatsoever of anchovy. It was fairly bland, but fresh. My filet was also very overcooked. More like a medium well. Way too done for my liking. The bernaise sauce was not good at all. It had a very odd flavor. The crab was clearly canned crab, not very flavorful. The bernaise was not good. Perhaps too much tarragon? It was a huge disappointment. The potatoes I talked about and the mixed veggies had green beans where the stems were still left on. Gordon Ramsey would be appalled!

We skipped dessert and any other drinks. Overall, we liked the ambiance, and wanted so much to like the food. The entrees disappointed us, but the apps and bread were amazing. We would go again, but only if we are in the area. I don’t think we would drive an hour to go again. If you are in  the area, you can try it for yourself, just be wary about making an hour drive to go there.


Happy Hour – Well, Happy Hour and a Half

Omar and I decided to try Morton’s this week for their happy hour, just to shake things up a bit. They have their “power hour” from 5-6:30 p.m. They have a variety of well cocktails and beers at reduced prices and a selection of bar bites. The place was not very busy. Unlike Eddie V’s that has their bar packed on most nights, and lots of action, Morton’s seemed very slow. We were there until probably 7, and the main restaurant didn’t even fill up. A huge difference from Eddie V’s. I wonder if the competition down that strip is affecting business, or if it just happened to be a slow night, or the fact the entire parking lot is a construction zone?

Omar started with his classic gin martini, up, with 3 anchovy stuffed olives and I with my standard Cosmo. Omar was disappointed with his Martini, just because the happy hour gin was not to his liking. I was unhappy because they served my Cosmo in a weird glass that reminded Omar and I of a pudding cup. I like a nice martini glass, and an iced cold Cosmo.

We decided to split some things off the menu, Omar starting with his oysters on the half shell (good, but he likes Eddie V’s better), and we split a chopped salad, Parmesan Matchstick fries and a filet trio. The salad was great. Fresh, with bacon, avocado, tomato and other tasty things all tossed in a light Dijon dressing. The bartender was nice enough to ask ingredient by ingredient if I wanted anything omitted as she said “there is a lot of stuff in here”. The filet trio was 3 small filets atop toast points paired with three toppings, blue cheese, which I made Omar eat, A spiced peppercorn which was tasty but very peppery and a Bearnaise which I enjoyed the most of the three. The bartender forgot our fries, and I had to remind her. They came out last, but where crispy, hot and did not disappoint. She also brought out some of Morton’s bread, which is basically like a ginormous onion roll. Omar loves the bread. Me, meh, I could take it or leave it.

The manager Matt, came over and introduced us to both the Landry’s select club and their famous State Street Manhattan. The Landry’s club is cool. Costs $25 to join, but you immediately get a $25 coupon off another visit, and you get $25 for every $250 you spend. Let me tell you its pretty easy to do that, even during happy hour. You also get $25 off for your birthday.

The State Street Manhattan is famous at Mortons. It’s made with Redwood Empire Whiskey and Carpano Antica Vermouth, infused with maraschino cherries and orange peel, and placed in a cold brew distiller to deepen the flavor. Topped with a slice of New York strip, glazed with sugar and spices (served cold). It takes over an hour to brew a batch, so thankfully they have some ready to go as a new batch is brewing. I have to admit, it was the best Manhattan I have ever had, but still too boozy for me to drink a whole one. As much as I like whiskey, that drink would do me in!!

Overall, we give Mortons a thumbs up. We enjoyed the food, and the staff, but it just didn’t have the happening vibe that Eddie V’s does. We will go back, we have coupons to use after all!!

Beer up on a Roof

Just because Sedona has one of the largest beer selections around, I have to talk about the beer again. I recently went back to Sedona Taphouse and sat on their new rooftop area. Ladies be careful, the roof has a soft floor that is totally unexpected. If you are in high heels as I was, be wary. You walk along, on hard tile when squish! You feel like you are walking on a gymnastics mat. I almost twisted an ankle, but luckily I averted a really embarrassing accident.

I met my business development group there, we have a happy hour meeting 2x a month and alternate between Big Beaver corridor locations. I ordered a flight of beers, why would you not? A beer is like $8 and so is a flight. A no brainer for me since I like variety.

My flight and reviews:

Scotch Barrel-Aged S’more Stout – a Stout-Imperial/Double by Perrin Brewing Company. A whopping 10.8% apv. This beer is brewed with real marshmallows, graham crackers and chocolate, aged in scotch barrels to they say “impart a slightly smokey, fresh toasted over a campfire flavor.” To me, this beer was less like a s’more and more like drinking a campfire. The smokey flavor was over powering and just crushed any hints of marshmallow, graham or chocolate. It was similar in flavor to Bonfire Brown by Saugatuk Brewing Company, another beer I was not a fan of.

Neapolitan Milk Stout (Nitro) – A Stout-Mike/Sweet with 6% apv. by Saugatuk Brewing Company. Now this beer I love and have tried before at Ale Mary’s in Royal Oak. You can read that full review HERE. This beer is like Neapolitan Ice Cream in a glass. You can taste the subtle flavors of strawberry, vanilla and chocolate. Drinking it, I felt like Violet Beauregard in Charlie and the Chocolate Factory eating her full meal gum, “here comes dessert, it is a blueberry pie…”

Passionfruit Mango Fruitsicle – a Fruit Beer by Odd Side Ales with 4.5% apv. One of the lighter beers on my flight, this beer weaved subtle overtones of passionfruit and mango making it a fun, easy sipping beer for a hot summers night. The fruit did not overwhelm the beer or make it feel more like a sour beer, but was just enough to make a crazy refreshing beer.

Blood Orange Honey – A Pale Wheat Ale – American by Cheboygan Brewing Company with 5.7% apv.  Another light summer beer on my flight, this beer is infused with wildflower honey, blood orange zest and blood orange puree. A smooth beer with a sweet finish, has strong citrus aroma and a perfect mix in the beer making it another great summer beer.

Read our other reviews on Sedona for a full review of food and atmosphere. Overall a great place to go. My only complaint is the forced valet and lack of parking. Otherwise a solid choice for an evening out for you fellow beer lovers.

Booze at Coney Island – Whaaaat?

Omar and I decided to look for some trivia on a Sunday night that we were looking for something to do. We found a live game being played at “Jimmy’s Tavern” on Van Dyke in Warren, I know the location, but did not remember a bar there. Well come to find out that is because the bar is behind, owned by and part of National Coney Island. You can order drinks at Coney Island or Coney food at the bar. That’s right. Mind BLOWN! Jimmy’s also has their “tavern menu” which is supposed to be slightly more upscale than National.

This night, we didn’t plan on eating, just enjoying a beer and some trivia. The beer menu is vast, with a wide array of ales, porters, stouts and fruited beers. Omar is enjoying their PB & J’ale’y beer from Elk Brweing Company. 5% apv, It has a nutty flavor, mingled with a sweet fruited taste. Not my jam – pun intended.

I have been ordering the Erik the Red beer from Dragonmead Brewery. Also 5% apv, it is copper in color with overtones of caramel, malt and hops.

The trivia was fun, and we are happy to say we won second place in game 1 and first place in game 2. Happy to walk away with $40 in gift cards for our next trip!

The next visit was the following Sunday as we felt like playing trivia again, This time we decided to eat since we had the gift cards. I ordered the “tavern nachos” off the tavern menu and Omar ordered wings and tavern fries which are waffle fries covered with melted cheese bacon and scallions. The nachos said they were fresh made in house with melted cheese and even the coney island chili. What I received, however, was stale chips, with hamburger meat, that gross cheese goo melted over it with some black olives. They were not good and a far far cry from the menu’s description, I sent them back which is something I almost never do, but these were basically inedible. The bartender was quite surprised to see I was served the National Coney Island nachos and not the “tavern menu” nachos. She quickly apologized and the correct nachos were brought out soon after. These were worlds better, with totally different chips, real melted cheese, lettuce, tomatoes, and coney island chili, Very good, but very large. Too much for me to eat! The wings were average, and the tavern fries good, but not mind blowing.

The food is average, and the National Coney Island food is exactly what you expect. The bartenders are friendly, trivia fun and beer menu extensive. I would recommend a visit, on either side. Jimmy’s Tavern and enjoy a beer, a Hani and a baby greek salad or on the Coney Island side, enjoying a nice alcoholic beverage with your Coney Island dinner.

Didn’t go too far-a to eat at O’Mara’s

O’Mara’s in Berkley is a place that Omar and I have been meaning to go. It has been a Berkley icon for many years and has consistently good reviews. The opportunity had just never presented itself. Luckily, we seem to go to lunch a lot at work, and we decided to celebrate our owner/ceo’s birthday there.

The place was more than accommodating to the large group of almost 20 people. They had our table ready, water all around and more than happy to give us all separate bills. The waitress was friendly, attentive and knowledgeable. The lunch menu was vast, with an array of salads, sandwiches and even main courses, with interesting items such as Salmon in a beggars wallet: Atlantic salmon filet wrapped in thinly sliced potatoes and leeks, topped with a jumbo prawn and house horseradish marmalade sauce. I saw this served on the way out and it looked delicious.

I opted for soup and salad, which is a go-to selection of mine. Partly because when I see French Onion Soup on a menu, I can’t refuse, and it is a great indicator on how good the rest of the menu is going to be. I ordered the soup paired with a Maurice Salad. A Maurice Salad is something I don’t get very often as most restaurants don’t typically have as an option. Maurice Salad originated at Hudson’s and I can remember it on the menu when I was a child. A Maurice Salad has sweet pickles hidden amongst a bed of mixed greens, hard-boiled eggs, roasted turkey, sweet ham and tangy Swiss cheese, all drenched in a creamy mayo-based dressing with vinegar, dijon mustard, and other super secret stuff. O’Mara’s dressing had what seemed like chunks of blue cheese, which doesn’t belong and I am allergic too. Otherwise, very good. The salad however needed more sweet pickles. Its funny, I usually hate sweet pickles, but they just fit and need ample supply of in a good Maurice. The turkey, ham and cheese were plentiful.

The French Onion Soup was very good. A beefy, onion infused broth with caramelized onions, baguette toast and melted Gruyere cheese (that is an awesome swiss cheese if you didn’t know).

Everyone else had nothing but good things to say about their food.

One most important thing to mention is their bread. Warm, chewy rolls, covered in poppy seeds. So good, you simply cannot get enough of it. The waitress even commented “I will bring you all more bread, we know its very popular” and it is!!

I am excited to take Omar back and go there for dinner. I think the great reviews are deserved and look forward to writing our own! If you are in the Berkley area I recommend you stop in!!

‘Cause I’m Happy… Happy Hour at Eddie V’s

I know we already did an Eddie V’s review but I feel it deserves a follow up as it has now become one of our favorite go-to places on a Friday night.  We love the bar at Eddie V’s.Bright and airy, with a glass wall that totally opens to a comfortable patio with couches and fire pits. The bar has a great atmosphere but fills up very quickly. The happy hour/lounge menu is very limited, and you cannot order from the dinner menu until 5.

The happy hour menu is more than adequate for Omar. It has both east coast and west coast oysters, served with a trio of sauces. He also enjoys the calamari, served on a bed of rice noodles with a Kung Pao style sauce. Most items on the lounge menu are served early, but not at a discounted happy hour price. I have tried some things on the “small bites” menu, like the asian filet served on small brioche buns. My go to favorites are the crab corn chowder. Smooth, creamy, with chunks of potato, corn, bacon and large lumps of crab. I am telling you I just can’t get enough of this soup. 90 degrees outside and I am still ordering soup. I also opt for a salad typically. The main dishes at Eddie V’s are mostly ala carte, expensive and small. I just feel the soup/salad and bread is a better bang for the buck. The bread is amazing. They don’t always bring it, so make sure you ask for it. Warm sourdough, served with softened butter topped with sea salt.

The drinks are far superior to any other restaurant we have been to. The bar is immaculate, with fresh fruits, herbs and garnishes. The drinks are unusual, from 24 carat gold sugar rimmed martini glasses, infused ice cubes and glasses set upside down on smoldering wood for their smoked old fashioned.

My new favorite drink is a Bullet Sour. Bullet Bourbon, sour mix, honey and filthy cherry juice. The drink is amazing, but you can only have a couple. The sour mix just gets to be too much after a while. The cosmos are amazing, fruity, light, with just the right hint of ice crystals.

The bartenders all deserve a shout out as they are all attentive and friendly. Kim, Nikki, Steve and Colin. Occasionally you will see Joe, who stands in occasionally. We have already told you about Colin in previous posts, but Kim and Nikki are both super friendly and fun and just make the evening more enjoyable.

As we stated in our last post “I Wont Tease – Our Review of Eddie V’s” this is definitely a place to go. Go early, as the the place really fills up. And go on a Friday night and look for us!

Kona Chill, er Grill

I feel quite remiss. I just noticed that we have not done a review of Kona Grill. I say remiss because Kona Grill is one of our go-to places, for Happy Hour anyway!

Kona Grill has a great patio/bar area. Not quite outdoors, it offers large windows that open fully to bring in the balmy Michigan air and the stunning views of Big Beaver Road. For the area, it is about the best you can get for drinking “al fresco”. I must say when we started going to happy hour here, we got ample drinks, large selection of appetizers ad sushi and it went until like 7 pm. Happy hour started ending earlier, menu started getting more limited and the drink sizes smaller and smaller. Happy hour now is from 3-6 p.m. Mon-Friday and after 9 p.m. Mon-Thursday. As with most happy hours you must be in the bar, which is fine because that is typically our favorite place to sit.

The menu used to be extensive, with a large variety of flatbreads and sushi. I could get California Rolls for $4 and best I have had in the area.Yeah, yeah I know all you sushi connoisseurs, California Rolls are not “real” sushi, but this girl doesn’t do the raw fish thang.

So let’s talk about the good and the great. So far I have no bad and ugly to talk about. As I said, I love the California Rolls. (Refrain from the “eye” rolls LOL). Omar loves, I mean loves the Voodoo Roll. The roll contains spicy crawfish, avocado, tuna , habanero sauce, green onion and smelt roe. For those wondering what roe is, well it’s the poor mans caviar. Fish eggs. So gross, no thank you. So you may be asking yourself, what is the difference between caviar and roe? Well according to Wikipedia, and you know if it is on the internet it must be true, “traditionally, the term caviar refers only to roe from wild sturgeon in the Caspian and Black Sea”. Basic roe however are typically from different breeds of fish, usually “flying fish” and used in sushi restaurants. Usually red or orange in color, just do not confuse with Masago which are again from a different breed of fish, smaller and brightly colored.

To sum up, fish eggs are gross in any form.

The flatbread is always pretty solid. I enjoy the margarita, with sliced tomatoes, fresh basil and a balsamic glaze reduction drizzled over the top. Edamame is simply a ridiculous item to order on the menu as far as I am concerned. I just don’t see the allure. I see many people order, so they must be good, but I refuse to pay that much for some beans. The potstickers are good, not great. As far as potstickers go, they are average. We have tried most appetizers and you can’t go wrong. I would however avoid the avocado egg rolls. Something about the hot avocado in the egg rolls is very off putting.

Drinks, Omar always gets the Saki bomber. That’s a kirin ichiban or kirin light and warm saké. I enjoy an iced cold Cosmopolitan Martini. I am so sad that the martini glasses have gotten so tiny and the Cosmos are no longer a happy hour special. So it winds up being about $4 a sip. But it is yummy!

We have ordered main courses on occasion and vary our selections, but we are always satisfied with the ambiance and the quality of the food and drinks. As you all know, we are very picky and for us to have a “go to” place it means it is reliable.

Getting a table or seat at the bar, especially a nice table near the open window is difficult during happy hour. Go early, or creepily make the rounds, stalking the tables and looking for bill payers. If you go on a Friday night, look for us. We will be the ones with the Saki Bomber and Cosmo!!

All Primed Up for Happy Hour

If it is one thing we love, its happy hour. Cheap(er) drinks, food, small bites, early eating to avoid the crowd, what can be better? I had the day off Friday and Omar and I had big plans for fun and relaxation. We had our pool opening scheduled for what we thought was the early morning. We planned on hitting Ocean Prime’s happy hour early, enjoy some drinks and snacks and continue our evening somewhere else.

As what typically happens to the the best laid plans, is something always comes along to throw a monkey wrench in the works. Today was the pool guys showing up at 3:30. Although I have to say, they are always quick and efficient. They were on their way out the door at about 5 and so were we.

Ocean Prime has a nice happy hour, but just in their bar area (as most do). They have a lovely patio with couches and tables, but was a bit cold that day. They have an indoor lounge area, cozy, elegant, with a grand piano for entertainment. Today we had a young man playing guitar and singling classics like Bill Withers that seemed to old for his young soul, but was very enjoyable. He was very talented.

We enjoyed the music and ordered a couple drinks. A “Bubble and Berry” for me, and Omar ordered a classic Old Fashioned. The Bubble and Berry was muddled berries and fruit, champagne and a bit of dry ice for that smokey exotic fun. I expected a burst of sugary sweet syrup, but was pleasantly surprised for a delicious drink that was not too sweet at all. Our awesome waiter John, really recommenced a cucumber gimlet. I am not a fan of muddled cucumber so I passed. He was so sure I would like it, he brought me a small drink to try and I have to say, it was nice and light. A great pool side cocktail (mental note taken!)

Omar’s Old Fashioned was made perfect, in a nice high ball glass and a sphere cube of ice. So good in fact, I ordered one for my second beverage!!

Omar ordered the oysters (not on the happy hour menu) and Tuna Tartare. I was having a hard time deciding and John again said to try the lamb lollipops (best in the area). I am not a fan of lamb unless it is ground and mixed with many spices. I ordered the chop chop salad with a club dressing, and french onion soup.

Omar said the oysters although small, had nice flavor. But the Tuna Tartare was exceptional. Fresh tuna, atop a bed of avocado and soft noodles. My salad was really good and the dressing light. Kind of their play on a antipasto, it was hearty and really filling. The french onion soup was good, not great. The soup itself was a bit underwhelming and needed a punch of beef and onion flavor. Didn’t stop me from eating the whole bowl I should mention. And that darn John, awesome as he was brought out a lamb lollipop to prove how good they were. I must say even though not a fan, it was the least gamey lamb I had in a long time.

What a nice experience. The lounge is comfortable, and entertainment, food and drinks top notch. Was a bit pricey for happy hour I must say but we did order much of the food off the main dinner menu. Definitely worth going again. Especially on a nice summer night where we can enjoy the outdoor patio.

Feeling Jolly at the Jolly Pumpkin

We went to lunch at the (newer) Jolly Pumpkin in Royal Oak for lunch. Sad, I know, going to a brewery on lunch when we can’t enjoy the beer, but I have to say the food was good. Jolly Pumpkin is a chain brewery with locations across Michigan and in Chicago.

They have unusual offerings such as Baked Feta, popcorn cauliflower and interesting salads. As I am on this new eating healthy “thing” I opted for the Farro and Brussels salad. For those that do not know Farro is a combination of various grains of species of wheat. It tastes “puffed” almost like you would imagine a sugar smack from childhood. I like to say if brown rice and barley had a baby, it might be Farro. It is an interesting flavor and texture, and does well hot, or chilled in salad.

This salad was a heaping mound of shaved Brussel Sprouts, chopped Kale, Farro, dried cranberries, feta cheese, roasted almonds with a whole grain mustard vinaigrette. I added chicken since I wanted some protein. The salad was good and filling as I could only eat about half. My only complaint, the price. Adding the chicken, sticking with water to drink and adding tip put me at almost $20 for lunch. Pricey when you didn’t even get a beverage.

I was going to order the turkey melt and I wanted those tiny pomme fritte fries that I love, but I abstained. Others around me ordered, so I snagged a fry. The Parmesan truffle fries were amazing. Hot, just the right amount of crisp and salt. Buttery Parmesan and just a hint of truffle. The turkey melt looked and was described as delicious, with smoked gouda, arugala, tomatoes and a dried cranberry mayo. All melted into the most perfect looking crisp farmers bread. Ugg. Yeah my salad was great blah blah.

I found our waiter to be very underwhelming. Zero personality. One of our guests didn’t get her salad due to them forgetting to order it. No real apologies, at least not from him. There was another waitress who was working hard to make up for his inadequacies.

I would go back, but next time at night when I can drink. The beer menu however looked very heavy with sour beers and IPA’s. Even the neighboring restaurant in the basement (where Bastone Brewery now solely resides) is not laden with stouts or porters.

So go, be Jolly. Drink beer. Grab a burger. A great place to nosh if in Royal Oak.