Fork lore

The burger at Legends Grill, Sports & Spirits comes with bacon, avocado and grilled onions, in addition to standard toppings like lettuce and tomato.

The burger at Legends Grill, Sports & Spirits comes with bacon, avocado and grilled onions, in addition to standard toppings like lettuce and tomato.

PHOTO/ALLISON YOUNG

Legends Grill, Sports & Spirits is open from 9 a.m. to 10 p.m., Monday through Friday, and 8 a.m. to 10 p.m. on Saturday and Sunday. The grill closes at 9 p.m.

For years, Legends Grill, Sports & Spirits has been serving bar grub to regulars who swear by the wings and “legendary burgers.” After having it recommended so often, I thought it high time I stop in for a bite.

To begin our happy hour visit, my buddies and I ordered a variety of small plates ($6 each). Ground beef nachos included lots of melted cheddar and jack cheese, and sprinklings of meat, avocado, scallion and tomato, with sides of salsa and sour cream. A pair of tri-tip sliders with greens, pickles and goat cheese followed—one dressed in balsamic vinegar and the other in a spicy mustard. The balsamic slider had more greens and generally worked better with the cheese, but the thin-sliced beef on both was overcooked, dry, chewy and crunchy in spots.

Chicken fingers and wings (six per order) were next. The breading on the fingers was thick, hard and, frankly, unpleasant—doing nothing to help the dry chicken within. We chose to douse them in the house special “nutty sauce,” a tasty combination of sweet barbecue and hot buffalo: sauce-1, chicken-0. The wings were much better—crispy, moist and on the large side. They’re available with a variety of sauces and dry rubs, but we liked the nutty and hot buffalo sauces best.

Before moving on to entrees, we sampled hamburger and hot dog sliders ($1.50 and $2.50 each, respectively). The beef slider was basically a kid’s burger with cheddar, onion and a very well done, dry patty. The half-size grilled hot dog was a little better, topped with onion, pickle, tomato and mayonnaise.

It was finally time to give the “legendary burger” ($12.95) a shot. It’s a half-pound of fresh local chuck topped with avocado, bacon, lettuce, tomato, grilled onion, pickle, cheddar, thousand island dressing and mayo on a toasted bun. I substituted beer battered onion rings for fries. The burger itself was cooked medium and still juicy, but the sweet bun wasn’t up to the task of wrangling its contents—leading to structural failure. It was tasty but a mess.

The beef in my pal’s cheesesteak ($11.50) was juicy and tender and served with grilled mushroom, bell pepper, onion, and jack and cheddar cheeses, all piled high on a grilled French roll. Though not strictly my definition of a Philly cheesesteak, it was a satisfying sandwich, ably assisted by a big pile of crispy, seasoned fries. Similarly satisfying was a chicken fried steak ($13.95) with real mashed potatoes and steamed veggies. The meat gave way to a fork sans knife, and the gravy was loaded with sausage. It needed just a dash more salt and pepper, but that’s it.

A plate of hand-battered fish and chips ($12.95) with coleslaw and tartar sauce looked impressive at first glance, with four huge portions of fish atop a pile of fries. However, most of the bulk came from a more-than-generous dose of batter. The pieces were like beer battered doughnuts with thin, fish fillet filling. The batter and seasoning were good, but I had to really dig inside to find the dry, bland white fish inside. The slaw need a bit of salt but was creamy and tasted fresh.

Our experience was mixed, but based on the amount of smiles and laughs I saw around the room, I’d say Legends is doing something right.