It's been a while since I've spent time in a sports bar and grill, so my anticipated venture came with a bit of apprehension. I love sports, but the sports bar and grill scene is not my usual fare.
Dirty's newest location at RiverWalk (next to the movie theatre) has only been open less than one month, and the newness is very evident -- clean floor, tables, bar, booths and pool tables. This place is very large, with tall ceilings and expansive sitting areas to make it very comfortable.
My friend and I entered Dirty's early evening one Saturday evening, actually before IDs were being checked at the door. (Soon after 8pm, a large fellow with the word "security" written across the back of his t-shirt stamped our hands to be sure we were marked "of age" as others were now being checked for IDs at the door.)
We sat at a bar facing a large wall, which had two wooden-framed whiteboards serving as screens, with an NHL hockey game and an ESPN basketball game projected on them in full view of all.
Hands-on sports included two pool tables, foosball tables, arcade games and board games. In one corner a stage was set up for bands. Many other TVs were stationed around Dirty's, some set to non-sports evening programming.
Sports is definitely on the menu in a big way here!
The place was moderately packed with customers, some enjoying the company of each other, some cheering for their particular teams, seemingly oblivious to others seated around them.
Once settled in, we reviewed the menu, with beer being first our first objective. It's a well-balanced list of great imports (Red Stripe, Negro Modelo, Modelo Especial, Peroni, Harp, Tecate, Pacifico), and domestics and drafts. I chose Bare Knuckle Stout, an Anheuser-Busch Companies, Inc. product ($2.50) and my friend chose a Harp ($3.50). Both were good selections.
Selecting dinner from Dirty's food menu was next on the line-up. Appetizers, Salads, Sandwiches, Platters and Sweets were the options, which we found to be usual fare for a bar. There was even a kids' menu of Pint-Size Cheeseburgers ($4.95), Chicken Finger Basket ($4.95) and Corn Dogs ($4.95).
We chose two selections from the Appetizers -- Fried Pickle Spears ($7.95) and Jalapeno Poppers ($5.95). Other selections included Chips and Salsa, Fried Cheese Sticks, Onion Petals, Buffalo Cheese Fries, Chicken Wings, Nachos, Spinach-Artichoke Dip and Dirty's Sampler Platter, all priced at under $9.99.
Both appetizers came to our bar hot, right from the kitchen. The Pickle Spears were my favorite -- hot, lightly breaded and served with buttermilk ranch dressing. The pickles lost some of their crispness, but maintained the dill flavor. The Poppers were classic poppers -- jalapenos stuffed with soft cream cheese, breaded and deep fried.
For our dinner selections, I took our server's recommendation from the Sandwich selections -- the Club Wrap ($6.95), while my friend went with the Flatiron ($14.99) from the Platters options. (His first choice, the Ribeye Steak was already out.)
The Club Wrap was filled with thinly sliced ham, smoked turkey, Applewood smoked bacon, herb cream cheese, lettuce, tomato and red onion. I chose the jalapeno-cheddar wrap over the herb-garlic wrap to hold this sandwich together.
Sandwiches come with a choice of one side--Buffalo Fries, Waffle Fries, Chips, Potato Salad, Fruit Salad or Broccoli Salad. I chose the latter.
The Wrap was most enjoyable -- different from other wraps I have had that were tightly wrapped. This one was loosely filled with the ingredients and was more manageable for me to eat. I could taste the individual ingredients with each bite. It was good. The salad was okay -- a bit too sweet for me with the raisins and nuts.
My friend's Flat Iron was his first with this particular cut of beef. A little research from gourmetsleuth.com found that this steak's name was coined by Chris R. Calkins, a scientist at the University of Nebraska who says "I am the scientist who led the project that characterized beef muscles and led to the development of the flat iron steak.
"It was developed through a cooperative effort with a national meat processor and a local restaurant chain. The name is an old industry term that has proven to have a lot of charisma with consumers. We have been unable to trace the source of the name.
"In its current use, it refers to a particular piece of meat cut in a specific way. This new form in no way resembles 'an old flat iron' in shape - or in taste. It's one of the two most tender muscles in the beef carcass and has a rich, succulent flavor that most consumers appreciate."
This steak is gaining in popularity across restaurants in America. The beef cut is actually a top blade steak derived from the tender top blade roast. The roast is separated into two pieces by cutting horizontally through the center to remove the heavy connective tissue.
My friend and I both found the shape and look of this steak to be the most unusual we have ever seen. It had a shape somewhat akin to a small flat iron my grandma used to use, and while we found the taste to be rich and very good, the texture had much to be desired.
This platter meal came with a choice of two sides--Broccoli Salad, Potato Salad, Fruit Salad, Baked Beans, Garlic-Mashed potatoes, Creamed Corn, Loaded Baked Potato or Waffle Fries. He enjoyed the Creamed Corn and Waffle Fries, both quite ordinary, yet good choices with this steak.
Dirty's menu has a good variety to please most palates -- Roast Beef, Grilled Cuban, Reuben and The Philly are other sandwich selections; Slow Roasted Beef Brisket, Smothered Chicken Breast, Dirty's BBQ Ribs and Blackened Salmon are a few of the Platters. There is also a Build Your Own Burger section which seems to be quite popular with this bar crowd.
Dirty's was filling up about the time we were leaving, around 9pm. It was an enjoyable evening.
Dirty's Sports Bar & Grill
RiverWalk Crossing, Ste. 175
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