“How Am I Doin’?” Great, because the hottest spot in downtown Gilbert recently invited me and a guest to try several new menu items. New culinary director Dustin Cooke made the tasting “Free and Easy” for us (although we left a nice tip) and the only thing that could make our night better if it were “Somewhere On A Beach.” We have to imagine the folks who turned it down have to be asking themselves “What Was I Thinkin’?”
Yes, this short foodie blog will work in as many Dierks Bentley hit song titles or song lyrics as we can come up with while ranking the new menu items we sampled.
1. 10 Hour Brisket Sandwich
Ever since I ate this, it’s been on my brain. The brisket is one of the more tender meats we’ve ever had. Its nicely coated in a tangy and tasty whiskey barbecue sauce and strewn with coleslaw and pickled red onions (the latter makes for the best bite). We were not shocked to hear this sandwich is the most popular item on the menu.
2. Sweet Chili Cauliflower
A solid starter dish that could honestly be ranked 1B if we had the Brisket at 1A. Served over a bed of “sweet surrender” (actually it was herbed goat cheese), you will want the cornbread–crusted cauliflower to “Come A Little Closer” with every bite. The sweet marinade helps control the heat of the beer chile glaze for a perfectly balanced appetizer that won’t fill you up.
3. Bourbon Glazed Wings
If you thought we were gonna settle down after the first two courses, I’ve got news for you: we still got a lot of eating left to do. OK, not quite the way Dierks sang his 2005 hit “Lot of Leavin’ Left to Do,” but nonetheless we had to dip into these whiskey honey hot sauced wings served up with the house blue cheese dressing. Meaty, crispy and not heavily glazed, these wings have some heat, but overall are not too spicy.
4. Maple Almond Salmon
When my salmon needs a chef’s touch, you light it up – with a pan sear, that is. The finishing sear gives this dish good texture to blend with sliced almonds on top and a maple reduction for a bit of sweetness.
5. Grilled Chicken Ranch Sandwich
According to Bentley’s 2009 release “Feel That Fire,” “she needs to feel that fire.” She’ll feel it when she bites into the spicy marinated chicken topped with jalapeno slaw underneath a big fat onion ring. And just when you need to “Settle for A Slowdown,” the house buttermilk ranch helps the mouth cool off.
Whiskey Row also added a braised cheesesteak, truffled mushroom burger and a Cajun Caesar salad to the menu last month, but we already had more than enough food at this point and did not sample those items (although we were brought out the BBQ chicken salad, which we both took a few bites from). We’ll be back for more but until then… “free and easy down the road I go.”