Sunday, June 15, 2014

Stanley's Kitchen and Tap

All bars and grill are not created equal.  I first encountered Stanley's Kitchen and Tap at Roscoe Village Burger Fest a few years ago and I new that they made some good burgers.  I also knew where they were located was pretty much a straight shot between where I live and Lincoln Park (the park not the neighborhood that it is located in).  I went there recently with the intention of getting a good burger.  There are some very good burger joints that are actually closer but I was interested in something a little different than what I usually have.  While it was my intention to get a burger, the menu tempted me otherwise.  I walked in and after my eyes became accustomed to the dark, I was seated at the bar.  Looking around, I noticed it had a very rustic look with a wood floor, wood rafters, wood bar, and wood furniture.  It reminded me both of the inside of a barn, and a saloon out of the old west (minus the swinging doors).  There were many references as far as flags, accessories, and the menu, to Texas and Louisiana.  I also noticed a large number of bottles of Tito's Handmade Vodka (a Texas product) under the bar.  Despite these many references, I would not say that the dinner that I ordered was very Southern and my beer very definitely was not (Half Acre Akari Shogun American Wheat Ale).  I started out with a variation of a very popular Quebecois street food, poutine.  Standard poutine is made of french fries topped with cheese curds and gravy.  Stanley's Poutine is made with Tater Tots before being topped with Cheddar and Gravy.  You could also optionally add Pulled Pork which I did because, well, why wouldn't you?  I saw, after it arrived, that it may be a challenge if I was also going to have an entree and dessert.  I was hungry, but the serving size was enormous.  It also tasted very good.  It was sweet, salty, cheesy, meaty, and pretty filling.  After finishing this, I could have conceivably stopped, but there was more food to be had.
While I thought the serving size for the poutine was large, my entree was bigger.  I had to question the size of the people that they serve here.  I ordered the Bacon Laced Meatloaf, with Housemade Ketchup, Country Fried Onions, and Mashed Potatoes.  Despite the fact that this was huge, I also thought it was very good.  The meatloaf seemed to have been made from some very good meat.  It wasn't exceptionally greasy and if it weren't for the size, I would also say that it wasn't exceptionally heavy.  The bacon was thinly sliced and very good, the onions had a crispy breading and they were sweet, flavorful,  and tender inside.  The ketchup that was used on the meatloaf was pretty spicy and the mashed potatoes were smooth and very tasty.  While it would have been nice to finish this, I don't know if that would have been possible even if I hadn't eaten the poutine previously.  This went home in a box and made my dinner the next day.
I was very happy with what I had had up to this point, so I made a point to leave room for dessert.  I ended up getting something that would not be a surprise to be seen at a county fair, Deep Fried Chocolate Chip Cookies.  They were topped with Powdered Sugar and served with a Vanilla Sauce on the side.  They were served warm and were very sweet and gooey.  The cookie seemed to be light and a little crumbly and the chocolate chips melted throughout.  They were fun to eat, but they were also potentially very messy so I did have to eat carefully to prevent wearing it. 

This dinner was a heart attack on several plates.  While it was good and I did like it, it was not something that I would be eating often.  The staff was friendly and helpful and I would be happy to return.


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