WTGW 8/9/17: Brewster’s Tavern, Munroe Falls

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Once upon a time we visited a place called Brewsters, tucked back just off Rt 91 in Twinsburg. This is not the same place. But oddly this Brewsters (with no website, just a Facebook page) is also on Rt 91, just further south, a few towns away. I wonder if they’re friends. Or if people in that area just are really, really unoriginal with names.

This Brewsters is also just down the road from Lemongrass Grill, which is another place I had semi-forgotten about but that seriously begs a revisit from us. It was also my backup plan if this Brewsters had looked a little sketch from the moment we entered the parking lot.

Fortunately we didn’t have to worry. While it didn’t end up at the top of our must-revisit list, Brewsters is one of those places that I could see us stopping in at if we happened to be in the area and wanted to grab a quick bite or a drink. We joked that if we lived in the house next door – whose side windows face the open kitchen door – we would likely just yell our orders over every evening. And weigh 400lbs, but that’s a whole other story.

This place is very small – in fact, it reminded me immediately of my last pick, Manchester Tavern. Is it bad that all my picks are starting to resemble one another? I may need to get off of the bar and grill train.

In any case, like Manchester Tavern, the place is sort of split between two areas – at the front, a bar area with seats around it and a small area for high top tables, and at the back a secluded dining room that no one seems to ever actually use. In between are the kitchen, restrooms – and in the case of Brewsters, a series of doors we aren’t really certain on the purpose of.

It’s like they’re trying to make wood paneling out of doors

Ted even tried on our way out to open all three of them. They were locked. Secrets build walls, people. Also, don’t tempt drunk people to procure their own lock pickers.

Once again our lives resemble this show

There’s also a door that leads out to the parking lot and patio, as well as a totally separate door about 5 feet to the side of it that leads also to the patio … and parking lot. I mean, it’s a small patio. Two doors is a bit overkill. But compared to the three on the opposite wall inside that lead to nowhere, I guess it works.

Anyway.

While we’re noticing doors, Shane was quick to point out that at least the men’s room was very clearly marked. I think this will begin to be a part of the rating curve after last week.

No camouflage here

There was a decent mix of crafts and domestics on draft. Shane got his usual Bud Lite, I had the Fat Head’s Bumbleberry, and Ted went with something called Truth. Take that as you will.

All beers arrived in glasses so cold they had ice forming on the side. Another plus on Shane’s list.

Now that’s a cold beer

Once again we flabbergasted (or maybe just annoyed?) a server with the amount of food three people can order and attempt to fit on one small table. We’re getting good at this. I think as we kept adding more and more to our order she was mentally contemplating the ratio of the number of sheets remaining on her pad of paper versus what remained on the menu that we may still want to shovel down our throats.

The aftermath. Sometimes we bite off more than we can chew

Shane and I started out with breaded mushrooms – which, honestly, arrived seemingly missing a few pieces. There just didn’t seem to be as many in the basket as I had anticipated or imagined in my head that there would be. But they did arrive straight from that oven strategically placed on the surface of the sun, so score for us I guess. And of course I let hunger cloud my judgement in reaching for one a mere two minutes after they were set on the table in front of me. I’d like to say I learned my lesson and won’t do that again … but we all know that’s not true. Stay tuned next week for another exciting episode of “what will idiot Steph scald the roof of her mouth with this week.”

Even worse, that pain wasn’t even for something amazing. The mushrooms were just OK. My main gripe was with the breading, which I was glad was not as hard as last week’s adventure with cauliflower, but conversely it seemed a little on the mushy side. It’s like we’re stuck in some Goldilocks and the Three Bears vortex of fried vegetables. Fingers crossed that next week will be the “just right” we’ve been waiting for.

Too few and too soft

I got the Big Daddy Wrap, which is basically two burger patties inside a wrap – not chopped up, mind you, but just laid on the wrap and rolled up, which seemed odd – along with lettuce, tomato, cheese, pickles and sauce. I’m a sucker for these kind of warps, and I’m happy to say this one didn’t disappoint. It was very filling – like I was physically uncomfortable after eating the whole thing – and the flavor was delicious. It was messy, but most good things are, right?

This is how you wrap up deliciousness

I also got a basket of fries, which were totally unnecesary considering the size of the wrap and also the fact that we had an app as well. Can we just talk for a moment about how to some degree it should be the server’s job to potentially warn us against these things? Like maybe she could warn me that the wrap is really like eating two thin burger patties in one sitting, and maybe I should take my hunger vision off for a minute and contemplate what that really means? Or, when I specifically ask if the wrap comes with anything as a side, she could mention that no, because you won’t need all that food, sweetie? Just a thought. I mean, do a girl a solid here. Unless you want to be in charge of rolling me out one of the myriad of doors later.

These were pointless

Also, so I ask if the sandwich comes with anything and she says no … so I order a basket of fries from the app menu. It’s $2.95, whatever. Well later, upon further inspection of the menu, I see that you can add a side of fries to any wrap or burger for like $1.50. So, OK, that slipped your mind when I asked? Like why have me order a whole separate basket, when you could say hey, pigalicious, maybe you just want the side for $1.50 (and about 4 billion calories) less?

Right.

Moving on.

Shane got the Blue Bacon Burger. I’ll give you three guesses what was on that, and if you don’t say bacon or bleu cheese then you should probably just leave this blog right now and never come back. He said it was very good. So in case you lost your “Shane’s Scale of Deliciousness” decoder ring, that means he really liked it. To translate, Shane’s rating system has three levels: good, very good, or Top 5. So this was a step above the usual, but not so good that it made his ubiquitous Top 5.

There’s a burger under that bun, I swear

He also said that even though they hadn’t asked how he wanted it cooked (usually a telltale sign that either it’s a frozen patty and will be very thin – which this wasn’t – or that they just cook everything medium well to avoid having to put anything back on the grill for those that freak out at the sight of red meat) – but it was still done just how he likes it.

He also got 10 of the boneless wings, which were on special (along with a side of fries) for $6.95. He chose cajun as the seasoning. He said they were OK, nothing special.

Looks similar to last week’s breaded cauliflower

His food twin Ted was only going to get five of the regular wings, but once he heard Shane was getting 10 he couldn’t be outdone and had to change his order. He got 10 of the sweet spicy chili, which he said were OK but didn’t have a lot in the way of spice. The sweet was there, but it appears that the spice missed its Uber on the way to the party. He actually thought maybe they would be better off being renamed “sweet and sticky” wings, since by the end of the meal he ended up with bits of napkin stuck to his hands after vigorous attempts to remove the sauce from his fingers. He had to go wash his hands so as not to glue himself to the table.

Sweet not spicy

Good thing that restroom was clearly marked. I mean, you don’t want hands like that touching all those random doorknobs around the place.

Sadly, the twinsies broke tradition of matching food orders this week, as Ted bypassed the burger in favor of a Cajun Chicken Wrap – saying just that he’d been eating a lot of burgers lately and needed something different. Understandable.

That almost looks healthy. Almost

He said it was good, but just like me he was a bit mystified about the lack of a side – or even the offer from the server to add anything on to the sandwich. Clearly someone needs to train her on the art of upselling. I mean, hello, we’re already ordering ALL THE FOOD, you think $1.50 for a side of fries is going to scare us off? Please.

Let’s look at that table again. Do you think you have to twist our arms to order food here?

At some point in the meal the cook appeared from the kitchen and walked over by our table, then through the door on the wall right next to us. Yet another mystery door in this place. Which we noticed was adorned with a sign advertising Ted’s beer.

Turns out it was just the walk-in cooler, but it sounds better to say that the “door to truth” comes with a cool draft as it closes, no?

Cold hard truth

Brewster’s is a decent little (emphasis on little) place. Ted said that he thought it would make a great lunch spot as opposed to dinner. He cited the fact that you have to add on sides to the burgers and wraps, and how you have to order multiple things just to get a full meal … which apparently in his world would be less annoying at an earlier meal of the day. OK.

But regardless, it’s one of those nice neighborhood bars, where you know the people from the houses and streets nearby stop in to grab a quick bite or watch a game with friends. FYI, that pretty much makes it the template for a place I would like to have appear at the end of our street or in our immediate neighborhood. Just putting that out in the universe.

Which, while that wouldn’t be easy on our waistlines, it would be relatively easy on our wallets, considering our experience tonight. Mine and Shane’s bill was $41, which included a burger, a wrap, a side of fries, a basket of 10 wings with fries, an app, two bud lite drafts and one craft beer draft. Not too shabby. I mean, Shane and Ted were both quick to point out that it was no $7.00 10oz steak special like last week … but then again few places can rival that frugality in our book. Don’t be surprised if Shane’s weekly picks now rotate between revisits to The Dougout, Caddyshack Inn and a random pizza parlor. Mark my words.

Picked by: Steph
Next pick: Ted

Ted

Shane

Steph

WTGW 12/16/15: Lemongrass Grill Thai Restaurant and Bar, Monroe Falls

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Here goes Ted, trying to make us more ethnic again.

Apparently this place used to be a cupcake place. Ted came in one day trying to buy cupcakes a few months back, and was immediately disappointed because clearly there were no cupcakes anymore. But then he was happy because he realized they had food and a bar and so it could become a WTGW pick. We’re a simple group to please.

Speaking of the bar – it’s kind of the first thing you see when you walk into Lemongrass. It’s where Amanda and Jerrid were waiting for us when we first walked in. And where Ted got handed a beer from the owner (I think? Or maybe just some random guy from the back room? We don’t ask or judge) just for stopping and looking at the beer list on the wall on his way to the table. So score for him, I guess.

And while we’re on the subject – because, well, let’s be honest, how many of these reviews actually don’t start out talking about alcohol, right? – be warned that the drinks at Lemongrass are poured rather generously. And that the server could likely be your bartender, as we experienced. Shane and I both went for the “girly drink” section of the menu, but what we were treated with was something more suited to sailors. The menu is basically like 15 variations on a Long Island, but with prettier names. They should all just be called “a mix of 10 liquors” and you just point to the one that sounds least offensive to your tastes. I mean, the server actually told us that someone passed out in the bathroom after drinking one of the kind of drink that Shane ordered (the Scorpion). I’m not sure if that’s something to be proud of or something that maybe should make you send your bartender off for some additional training.

It looks so innocent

It looks so innocent

Amanda smartly stuck to a rum and coke – or, more appropriately, rum with a bit of coke flavor. Jerrid had something called the Man-Hat-San (bourbon and some sort of cherry drink). Ted stuck to a myriad of beers whose names I can’t even begin to recall, but I know one of them had the work “sucks” in it. That’s a different marketing tactic.

As usual, we filled the table with appetizers – because, well, us. Shane and I got the Thai spring rolls and crab rangoon. Ted got the meat skewers – reminiscent of the time he ordered meat lollipops from The Merchant, but different. Amanda and Jerrid got the Lemongrass Bundle – which is basically the fancy Thai way of saying “sampler platter.” It included meat skewers, shrimp, crab rangoon, and something that they thought (and then later asked the server and it was confirmed) had a peanut butter sauce on it. That’s, well, weird. Even by our tastes.

Peanut butter does not belong on chicken. Just saying.

Peanut butter does not belong on chicken. Just saying.

There were two when this plate arrived. Someone got grabby.

There were two when this plate arrived. Someone got grabby.

Oh wait, there's the other egg roll. In front of Shane. Weird.

Oh wait, there’s the other egg roll. In front of Shane. Weird.

As you can probably already anticipate, the meat skewers were a big hit. The guys all agreed those were very tasty.

There’s a joke in there somewhere. I’ll let you all find it.

Everyone loved the meat. Hee hee

Everyone loved the meat. Hee hee

The crab rangoon was good, but the cheese sauce inside was different from any other time I’ve had that particular food anywhere else. It was almost a sweeter, creamier version. I mean, I’m not kicking these ones to the curb or anything, but they were definitely different.

Jerrid got the Pad See Ew with shrimp. Which judging from the picture on the website is kind of like Moo Goo Gai Pan at a Chinese place. And honestly, isn’t it all really just some combination of rice, meat and veggies? Exactly. Regardless, he didn’t seem to complain. He ate all of it, so if it sucked that’s a new way of dealing with it, I guess.

That plate would kill Shane

That plate would kill Shane

Ted got the monsoon chicken with jasmine rice. Yummy noises and clean plate award on this side of the table, too.

That rice didn't come with the big chunk taken out of the top of it, honest.

That rice didn’t come with the big chunk taken out of the top of it, honest.

I got the Drunken stir fry with chicken and brown rice. Now, we all know the little chili pepper icon next to any dish on the menu means “watch out, it’s spicy.” Well this entree had two, which I took to mean “beware, this is stuff only crazy people eat.” Not really. In fact, I’m glad the waitress brought out the additional plastic cup of “hot oil” that she said we could add to make the dishes spicier.

Drunken = spicy. There's a joke in there somewhere.

Drunken = spicy. There’s a joke in there somewhere.

Although, fair warning – that hot oil stuff should have like 100 chili pepper icons next to it. Because, damn. Let’s just say a little bit goes a long way. And when I say little I mean like microscopic. And it sneaks up on you. Ask Amanda, who drizzled a tiny bit on her meal and claimed it wasn’t bad … until a few minutes later when it finally kicked in and nearly took her breath away. I’m somewhat surprised trying to douse it with the amount of alcohol in our drinks didn’t just set the entire table on fire.

So there’s that.

Amanda got the Pad Thai. She was looking at a few other options but decided to play it safe. And she was not disappointed. We should also note that both she and I took half of our meals home. As with most Asian restaurants, they serve very large portions here. Clearly, they don’t mess around.

No peanut allergies here

No peanut allergies in this group

Shane had the pineapple chicken fried rice, along with the meat skewers. Yes, that was his third appetizer order of the evening.He joked about just ordering his entire meal directly from the appetizer menu – which, honestly, if some of them hadn’t included shrimp he very well may have done.

Vegetables, fruit and protein. That's a well balanced meal.

Vegetables, fruit and protein. That’s a well balanced meal.

So, back to alcohol – because, really, doesn’t it always come back to that with this group? – when I went to order my second drink I wasn’t sure what I wanted. Because, well, I wasn’t sure what the lesser was of all the liver killers I was facing on the drink menu. Sensing my conflict, the server asked if I wanted her to surprise me. Because that’s never dangerous, especially in a place that already seems to just throw an entire bottle of liquor in a glass and call it a drink, right? She asked if I liked cherry, I haltingly said yes …. and I’m happy to report that the drink I got was definitely that. Although what exactly gave it that flavor remains to be determined. I’m not sure if it was stronger than my first drink or not, but when I asked what was in it, she would only say it was “like five different vodkas … and then some other stuff.” Like what, roofies? That’s a dangerous game to play with the customers, lady. I almost felt like her goal was to get everyone smashed before they left. Again, playing with fire, no? Do we like calling cabs and cleaning out restroom stalls for our guests? I’m not sure I understand what the end goal is here.

All in all a good place, and it was definitely nice to change things up a bit by getting away from the burgers and fries places we’ve been visiting lately and branch out to something different. Although I think all of our livers might disagree.

Ted

Ted

Shane

Shane

Amanda

Amanda

Jerrid

Jerrid

Steph

Steph

CAPSULE

Picked by:  Ted

Drinks:  Don’t be fooled by the paper umbrellas and fruit on skewers. These boat drinks will sink your battleship if you try to drink them too fast. 
Food:
As with most Asian places, beware of huge portions. And misrepresented chili pepper icons. But it was definitely all tasty.
Service: It was a little cumbersome having the server also mix our drinks – and when the meals came out it was one at a time, not a big tray with everyone’s orders. But she was attentive and pleasant. Or maybe she was just in a running bet with the guys in the back as to which of us would fall over first from the strong drinks.
Overall: There’s not really a ton of Thai places in the area, so I don’t have much to compare this one to – but we would likely go back if we were in the mood for that type of food again.

Next Pick: Shane