Best Of MenuPages Reviews: Bars & Grills

We may not do reviews at MenuPages, but our legions of users are all over that. Here are five of interest.

We wanted to put “Bar(s) & Grill(s)” in the title to make sure it was clear we were talking about more than one bar and grill, rather than bars and grills as separate and unique entities. But you probably figured it out anyway.

Union Park | “Chicagoan” | Great place for a bite, beer, and a game | 2/12:

Mon.-Wed. food specials are a reeeeal good deal. When I used to live in Chicago, I used to come at least once a week. I think Tuesday was 1/2 off sandwiches, and the prime rib sandwich was extra delicious, for only $4 or something, too. I agree that for the 1/2 off appetizers, the spinach-artichoke dip and quesadillas are the way to go. The nachos are gigantic but the toppings are like plastic on top and you’ll have plain nachos about a quarter the way through. But it’s so cheap, even if you get ‘em, you won’t be mad. Great place, hope they still do the great specials.

Half-price specials for food are great. Because it doesn’t matter how bad the food is - simply knowing you would have had to pay twice as much on another night will suffice to make it palatable.

Holiday Grill & Bar | “Joe” | Glad I Stopped By | 2/15:

I was in a hurry and ran in for a quick bite. Very satisfied. They were freindly, fast and very good. I tried their Cornbeef on rye with onion rings and a small side of macaroni-n-cheese.
That mac-n-cheese was exellent. I will definitely be back, maybe for a beer next time.

This raised an eyebrow on our shill detector, but it’s probably for real. It would be too clever to misspell “friendly” and “excellent.” This meal could use a Caesar salad to start, though.

Billy Goat Grill | “Fat Doc” | The Last Bar in the World | 2/17:

This may be the world’s last true bar. No pretenses. Not a place to take the kids who have seen the SNL bits on nostalgia DVDs. Maybe the other Billy Goat locations are different, but this one is a little cave with booths still populated by journalists and other folk who work up above on Michigan Ave. lots with bad booze problems. The smoking ban hasn’t changed the place much, as it always smelled overpoweringly of grill suet. So climb down from the bright sunlight into dark, have a drink or two, and maybe a slider and chips, and revel in the world’s last bar.

Wow. We’re sold. It is interesting to consider that the various Billy Goats have different personalities, but this sounds like the one for us. We loved the phrase “grill suet” and wanted to see if we could find a more precise definition than continuously-rendered beef fat, but this review is the only use of the sequence on the Internet. Just as well! We own it now.

Local Option/Local Shack | “Anonymous” | Don’t Judge a Book By Its Cover! | 2/17:

This place is amazing. Doesn’t look like much from the outside, but the food does amazing things for your insides. Fries could be the best in the city. Burgers are huge, and the crab cakes are dreamy. One of my all time favorites in a city of great food.

No one ever said a bar & grill couldn’t also be Cajun or Creole or what have you. You want crab cakes at a bar? Here, crab cakes at a bar. Go nuts.

The Kerryman | “Anonymous” | “Extra cheesy, cold, sour shepherds pie” | 2/18:

If you’re into a not so authentic soupy, cold, sour shepherds pie topped with lots of parmesan cheese, this place is for you!
I ordered for pick up during lunch and was very disappointed. Surprisingly, the food was ready quickly.
When I took my first bite of the pie, it was cold and had a sweet/sour after taste. A cold mound of mash was in the center of the dish and was surrounded by a mot of soupy, cold ground beef and small pieces of vegetables that looked like they came straight from a can. I also ordered a quesadilla appetizer filled with “irish” salted bacon, salted spinach and authentic “irish” queso (extra salty).
If you are looking for an irish restaurant downtown, this should not be your first pick.

Too bad to end on a down note, but if the shoe fits…

[Photo: the ur-Bar & Grill, Chata Ortega’s in West Texas, Noel Kerns/flickr]


Best Of MenuPages Reviews: Bars & Grills