I always enjoy heading south from midtown if it means going to Riverwalk Terrace--driving along Riverside Drive is an enjoyable change of scenery for me. This time my across-the-city drive took me to investigate Ale Haus, a new restaurant that assumed the spot of JooJooBee's, another unsuccessful venture I miss.
What better place on a rainy Saturday afternoon for my companions and I to dine than Ale Haus? After all, the restaurant mimics an Irish setting, conjuring old memories of visiting pubs in Dublin, Cork and Kilkenny from years past.
Walking inside from the light rain, we were immediately seated at a table by a large window overlooking the higher-than-normal Arkansas River. While the basic structure remains the same since the closing of JooJooBee's, the colors are darker and more along the theme of an ale house.
You must have a beer at a place called Ale Haus. My friend and I each ordered a Boddingtons Pub Ale. This rich beer poured to a medium-thick foamy head that was a delight to skim and sip off the top. The immediate sweet, malty taste of the clear, gold body continued on to a creamy taste on the palate. It was a good choice.
We were amazed with the menu selections--we found an interesting combination of familiar items juxtaposed with those connecting American and Ireland. For example, a few appetizer options include Buffalo Chicken Tenders ($8.99), steamed Prince Edward Island mussels ($8.99), Reuben Egg Rolls ($7.99), pork pot stickers ($7.99), corned beef stuffed mushrooms ($7.99) and Guinness Savory Bleu Cheese Cake $9.99).
Soups included Savory Guinness Soup, Irish beef stew and Soup O'the Day. Salads sounded similar to many others I've had, a few with an interesting twist. For example, the Devonshire Shrimp Salad ($11.99) is described as a "Haus blend of assorted greens with red onions, tomatoes and gulf shrimp tossed with a malted Boddington's Ale Vinaigrette."
The Corkney Cobb Salad ($11.99), an Ale Haus signature item, is described as "a slight twist on the original with boiled eggs, black olives, bleu cheese, sweet pepper bacon, tomatoes and fried chicken tenders on top of Haus blend mixed assorted greens."
Sandwiches, another menu category, include the McCrae's Club Sandwich ($9.99), the Haus Reuben ($9.99), the Franco/Italiano ($10.99) and more. The Ale Haus Classics include Shepherd's Pie ($10.99), Guinness rotisserie chicken ($12.99), mesquite rotisserie duck ($26.99) and Haus Beef Wellington ($25.99). Other notable menu items include bone-in pork chop with sweet tomato chutney, Chicken Oscar Choron, cedar-planked salmon, center cut filet of beef, the Bushmill (a burger with Irish whiskey sautéed mushrooms, Swiss cheese and an onion ring), and the Boondock (a burger with spinach, Bermuda onions and spicy jack cheese).
My adult dining companion and I were more concerned with what the remaining menu had to offer--the Ale Haus Classics, Other Favorites, Beef and Hamburgers. Our server, who could not have been nicer and more accommodating, mentioned that, while not listed on the menu, children's items are available.
For our appetizers, we ordered the Reuben Egg Rolls and the fried calamari ($9.99). For our main course, I ordered the Haus Beef Wellington and my friend ordered the Guinness rotisserie chicken. One child ordered noodles tossed in butter and the other chicken tenders.
The Reuben Egg Rolls were a pleasant surprise--excellent is a word that immediately came to mind.
Shredded corned beef, sauerkraut and Swiss cheese were tightly wrapped in egg roll wrappers then deep-fried and served with a spicy beer mustard sauce. Even one of the little fellas enjoyed a few bites of this appetizer.
Fried calamari ($9.99) has always been a hit with my little dining companions. They took to these sliced rings of squid which had been lightly battered with white corn meal. The dipping sauce, with an evident hit of horseradish, was more popular with the adults.
The main course came soon after, but not until I tried a cup of the Savory Guinness Soup ($3.99). This is described as a full-bodied, rich cheese soup with a stout kick of Guinness. That about covers it. It was thick, creamy, and excelled in its rich taste of flavors. The Guinness beer adds a deep layer of flavor and richness to each bite.
My friend had a cup of the Irish Beef Stew ($4.99). The beef was flavorful and tender. Also notable in this stew was soft white onions, black pepper flakes, carrots and celery, all blending together in a congenial fashion.
The little ones enjoyed their buttered pasta and chicken tenders. I was impressed with my Beef Wellington, described as "center cut filet of beef with mushroom duxelle (a thick pâté of chopped mushrooms cooked with onion and thyme) and Dijon mustard wrapped in puff pastry, served with grilled asparagus and wild rice pilaf." This was a beautiful presentation of two mounds of beef. Dijon Mustard was streamed over the top of these mounds, which I enjoyed but my friend suggested that the strong taste of the mustard brought too much attention to itself, detracting from the main attraction of the beef. The meat was medium rare as I prefer, and the puff pastry added a nice taste and texture to each bite. The grilled asparagus had an excellent flavor and the rice pilaf, actually, was subbed with mixed sautéed veggies--green and yellow squash, broccoli and red onions.
My friend's Rotisserie Chicken is described as "Tender young Hens marinated with Guinness and slow roasted on our in-house rotisserie with roasted Yukon Gold mashed potatoes and Chef's Vegetables." He very much enjoyed this dish--the meat was exceptionally tender, and the crispy skin was a flavorful touch. The mashed potatoes were creamy and buttery--as Yukon should be.
We were too full for dessert, but a return visit is in order, if only to try a dessert with an Irish coffee: Cheesecake O'the Day, Spring Berry Tart, Irish Whiskey Bread Pudding, Bailey's Irish Crème Brulee and Guinness Chocolate Cake, all at $5.99.
500 Riverwalk Terrace, Ste. 135, Jenks
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