Beer belly

Beware the delicious, frothy beer. One too many may convince you that you’re stomach is twice as big as it really is.

Beware the delicious, frothy beer. One too many may convince you that you’re stomach is twice as big as it really is.

Photo By David Calvert

Alcohol and food. It’s a beautiful relationship. There’s nothing quite like a great meal accompanied by the right wine or frosty pint of beer. A great thing about alcohol is that, when binge-drinking, you lose all inhibitions and simply follow your baser instincts to whatever pleasurable pursuits, often eating.

Famous Murphy’s Grill and Oyster Bar provides a dark and cozy atmosphere with culinary options above and beyond standard pub fare. It’s basically a quiet, low-lit bar with full access to the kitchen of one of Reno’s favorite restaurants.

The four of us, Paul, Ali, Danielle and I, started out with drinks, sampling from Famous Murphy’s wide selection of wines and beers. We quickly moved on to the baked brie appetizer ($7.95), served with almonds, fruit and French bread. The cheese was mild but tasty. My one complaint would be that the fruit was less-than-ripe.

When it came to the main course, Ali went for a staple of the pub diet, a cheeseburger ($6.50). The burger was served with a minimum of accoutrements, but the patty was big and juicy enough to make for a great burger. Paul had the chicken Caesar salad ($9.95), which was definitely large enough to be a meal unto itself. Paul claimed that it was a little “zombie-fied"—that is, run-of-the-mill, like it was made without conscious thought—but I thought it was quite good and that the only zombie in the building must have been Paul.

Danielle struggled to find something appealing and vegetarian and settled for the vegetarian ciao down ($10.95). It was a strange hybrid dish of Chinese-styled stir-fried vegetables over Italian penne noodles. The Grill and Oyster Bar has its own menu, but you’re welcome to order from the main restaurant’s dinner menu, which is where Danielle found her strange selection.

I had the Cajun barbecued prawns ($13.95): fresh, enormous prawns blackened with Cajun spices and swimming in barbecue sauce. It was not as spicy as I had hoped and not quite filling enough, but still really, really, good.

We were having a great time, laughing and joking more comfortably than one usually can in a classy restaurant. The atmosphere at The Grill and Oyster Bar is great, except for the music—everything from Barry Manilow to Evanescence. Yeach.

We all had desserts. Paul and Danielle both had hot fudge sundaes ($4.95), and Ali had chocolate mousse cake ($4.95). I ordered the macadamia nut mud pie ($5.95).

Our waitress, quite friendly though somewhat beleaguered by our antics, looked skeptical: “Would you like to just order a half slice? The regular slice is really big—it would be enough for all four of you …”

“No, no, no,” I pshawed, “I can handle it, trust me.” I had been drinking steadily throughout the course of the meal, so was now all alcohol-induced braggadocio.

When she brought my pie, I thought I had momentarily lost my perception of proportion. The mud pie was roughly the size of a swamp thing.

“Whoa,” I said. “That’s a big piece of pie.”

“She told you so, son,” said Paul.

I made a valiant effort, almost finished, but at the last minute, my gluttonous drive gave out on me. The last bite sat unscathed. When I’ve had a drink or two, my eyes can indeed be bigger than my stomach.