My blog started out as a place to post my thoughts on my recipes and beers I've tried but I've had a couple of people say that I should start posting reviews on restaurants I visit as well. Who am I to argue with what others want me to do with my blog? :) To be honest, this is really going to be similar to the reviews I was posting onto Facebook before but with pictures and more structure. So without further ado (whatever the heck an "ado" is), here is my first restaurant review blog post:
Date Visited: 07/11/2012
Overall Rating: 7/10
When we first walked up to and into the Sidebar & Grill, I honestly wasn't that impressed. There was one guy at the bar and one table with a few patrons but other than that the place was dead. The guy behind the bar didn't greet us (or even look that happy to see us) and we had to wander around and find a place to sit. I know what you're thinking, "let's never go to this place" but don't let the beginning of my review keep you from visiting the Sidebar... keep reading.
The first thing I look at when going to a new restaurant or bar is the beer list. While not extensive, there was a pretty decent range of beers from breweries in the Northwest as well as a couple imports (I went with a Dogfish Head 90 Minute IPA).
In order of appearance, here are my thoughts on each food item:
BBQ Chicken Quesadilla ($7.50): Without a doubt, the best quesadilla I have ever eaten in my entire life...anywhere. Roasted chicken, mozzarella, grilled onions, BBQ sauce and a side of chipotle dipping sauce. I would honestly return to the Sidebar for this alone.
Thai Chicken Wrap ($9): First of all, this thing was monstrous and beautiful. I wish I had taken a picture because my descriptions are not going to be able to do it justice. Grilled chicken, romaine lettuce, stir-fry veggies and cashews grilled in a Thai peanut sauce; all wrapped in a flour tortilla. Other than the quesadilla, this was my favorite item tonight (although the others I was with were not as impressed as I was).
Double Jeopardy Ruben Sandwich ($9): Corned beef & pastrami, fresh sauerkraut, Ruben sauce, Swiss & provolone cheeses all piled on marbled rye bread. I don't think that I am able to give this a totally fair review because I didn't eat it as soon as it hit the table so the bread was a bit soggy (equaling less enjoyable). Besides the bread (which is normally my favorite part of a Ruben) the sandwich was good. It didn't need the pastrami or provolone, I think that it would have stood it's own without adulterating the perfection of the rube. The sauerkraut was amazing though; I think he grilled it before putting it on the sandwich.
The Fries: The beer battered fries were good but not great. They had perfect crunch but had a fishy taste from the oil they were cooked in. But, that's ok because when I come here again I'm ordering double sweet potato fries. These fries were also cooked to the perfect crispiness and had a touch of maple syrup drizzled on them. I've tried a lot of sweet potato fries from a lot of places and most of them are not so much about the fries themselves but about the sauce served with them. The Sidebar's required no dipping sauce, extra salt or any other additions as they were a close to perfect as a pub can get.
Service: 4/10 - The service was lacking overall personality and we had to wave the waitress down to order a second drink (no offer of water either).
Prices: 8/10 - I would have given the prices a 9 (there's always room for improvement) but to be honest I think that for the amount of food we received, we were undercharged. The serving sizes were a bit to large.
Environment: 7/10 - Much nicer looking on the inside than the out. Also very clean, especially for a bar. And sadly, there was only 1 bathroom (no stalls).
Food: 9/10 Besides the ridiculously large portions, the food was stellar. So good in fact, as we were leaving I mentioned to my wife, "who needs good service when the food is that good?!"
Beer: 7/10 - The beer wasn't as cold as it should have been even though they had a good selection.
Overall Average: 7/10 - I'll have to go again to make sure that any of these scores weren't a fluke but if they aren't, the Sidebar & Grill just slid it's way into my top 5 favorite eateries in Spokane. Let me know if you wanna go sometime!