Walter Mencken 9:15 a.m., March 28
Small Bar Bites
Sure, they carry esoteric brews such as Tactical Nuclear Penguin, have 42 quality beers on tap, and barrel-age their Manhattan cocktail, but what many people don't know about Small Bar, is that their kitchen is on par with the bar.
I try to go on off nights, like a Monday, when I don't have to wait too long for a seat in the aptly named watering hole. On my latest visit, I made sure my group (David and my father) ordered up some of my favorite menu items, so that I could snap some shots and share them with you.
David began with a Brewdog Tokio (same peeps who make Tactical Nuclear Penguin), which was a viscous, and almost-too-sweet Imperial Stout. Too sweet for Dave, that is -- I loved the chocolate-raspberry-espresso finish.
Dad really enjoyed his Belhaven Scottish Pub Ale; he asked more than once for its name so he could remember to order it again.
I got my usual, the barrel-aged Manhattan.
I don't care for fried pickles at most places, they tend to be either too salty or too oily. But Small Bar does 'em Baby Bear style, by which I mean, "just right." Dad wouldn't taste it, he has something against pickles.
Of the small tacos (grilled chicken & veggies, pork chile verde, grilled chimichurri portobello mushroom, beer-battered fish), it is the firecracker carne asada we love most. The dish comes with three, but though you get to mix your flavors, we abandoned variety long ago and opt for three of the firecrackers, which in our opinion are superior in taste, texture, flavor, and spice.
I ordered Dad's fish and chips using his exact words, "Just the fish and chips, with none of that shit on top," by which he meant the remoulade. He loved the Anchor Steam beer battered cod, and dipped it in the house-made golden barbecue sauce, which is similar to a honey-mustard.
I got the chicken sliders, and gave the one with "bacon jam and ranch" to David, but kept the Coca-Cola & Guinness BBQ sauce one, and the other one, which was topped with the same golden sauce my dad had gotten on the side for his fish and chips.
We scored with a corner booth. Despite some stress going on in our lives, we couldn't help but relax as we noshed, drank, and chatted about the absurdities and wonders of the world.
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