Raise the bar
Serving breakfast, lunch and dinner in a cozy dining space with a menu that mixes comfort food and bar bites, the Lakeside Bar & Grill seems more a neighborhood cafe than a saloon with food. The service was friendly, and salads and appetizers were out quick.
An appetizer combo ($9.95) was comprised of classic bar food—hot wings, mozzarella sticks, loaded potato skins and onion rings. The cheese sticks were pretty standard, the rings were good and fresh, and the wings were pretty much perfect. Everyone else seemed to enjoy the potato skins, but I found them to be a little dry. Next time I’ll stick with rings and wings.
Our dinner salads included a nice mix of greens and housemade dressings—simple and satisfying. The day’s soup was pozole—a traditional Mexican dish made with hominy. One of my dining companions chose to order a bowl ($6.25) with chicken in lieu of an entree. The broth was not too spicy with a great blend of flavors, combined with plenty of meat, hominy, veggies and tortilla strips. Based on how good the pozole was, I’d really like to try more of their rotating line-up of housemade soups.
My wife’s order of lemon chicken ($13.25) included capers—something she dislikes—which weren’t listed on the menu. However, the pair of charbroiled boneless chicken breasts was lightly browned and surprisingly moist, expertly prepared with a marinade of olive oil, lemon and black pepper—served with a mix of fresh, steamed vegetables. She ended up really enjoying the dish despite the unexpected addition of pickled berries.
Meatloaf is one of those things that seems simple but offers a lot of room for expression. In this instance ($12.25), generous slices of baked ground chuck and veggies were served on a pile of garlic mashed potatoes, topped with an herb demi glace and steamed vegetables. The hearty gravy worked well with the subtle seasonings in the loaf, though the spuds didn’t appear to actually contain garlic. I liked the flavors, though it could have used a little more time under the heat.
Rounding out the entrees was a plate of fettuccine topped with burgundy mushroom beef stroganoff ($13.25). The meat was cut into half-inch pieces and was pretty tender despite a good deal of char, but the sauce is what made this dish stand apart. There are as many ways to make stroganoff as there are meatloaf, and this variant reminded me more of beef burgundy than classic stroganoff. It was good on its own; stirring in the traditional dollop of sour cream sent it over the top. Tangy, savory and complex, with plenty of meat and ’shrooms and a spice combo that hinted of thyme and perhaps mace. If anything, the only flaw would be that the pasta was a little overcooked. The garlic bread served with this dish was fragrant and delicious dipped in that robust sauce.
A shared slice of mud pie ($6.25) drizzled with chocolate sauce completed our meal with fudgey, coffee decadence. And I’m definitely planning to return and sample breakfasts and burgers, not to mention the Friday night prime rib special.