The Pub, Lexington, Kentucky
Restaurant: The Pub, Lexington, Kentucky
It’s tradition. Wake up early, hit up some stores in the area, grab the first Starbucks Peppermint Mocha of the season, grab something fast for breakfast while out, and head to Lexington, Kentucky. Hit up the big mall there. Work up an appetite. Eat at The Pub.
The Pub has a few locations in Ohio, Kentucky and Florida. In fact, there is one in Louisville, Kentucky…just across the river from me. But traditionally speaking, the go-to restaurant on Black Friday for my roommate and I for the past three years has been The Pub in Lexington. Why mess with a good thing?
A little background on The Pub…this isn’t an Irish pub in any way. This small chain is British pub all the way. The waitresses and waiters wear kilts and a variety of t-shirts for the restaurant itself. The menu is British based, but with an American flair. They recently added a Gastropub Plates section to their menu. And traditional pub grub definitely permeates the pages throughout, with the last half of the menu dedicated strictly to their beers, lagers, ales, wines, mixed drinks, etc.
This was my second year navigating their menu as a vegetarian. That’s really not difficult. It’s navigating the menu as a gluten-intolerant vegetarian that makes it tricky. So, normally my decision would be easy, I had to really pour over the menu before deciding on what I was going to eat. Thankfully, my roommate knew what she was getting and could help me out a little. While she got her pub go-to of fish and chips ($13.50), I ordered the Spinach Chopped Salad (no bacon) ($7.95)with a side of the fries ($1.95).
Our fantastic waitress, Ashely, asked if I wanted to substitute any other meat on the salad, and I explained I was a vegetarian, so she laughed and said that she would make sure no meat touched my plate. I thanked her and she went to put the order in.
Our food arrived after a little wait. That meant it was cooked and made to order and not just slapped down on a plate and put together. My roomie flipped open the ketchup bottle, loaded up her plate and went to town on her fish and chips.
My salad looked fantastic. The Spinach Salad is a bed of chopped fresh spinach with hard boiled egg, onion, and dried cranberries, tossed in a maple-balsamic dressing. It normally comes with the addition of peppered bacon, but my vegetarianism nixed that addition and they were more than happy to comply. The hard boiled egg was a great addition to the salad, adding a bit of texture and flavor to it. The cranberries were on the proper level of sweet, pairing SO well with the mild spinach and the tender bite of the onion. And the salad was only lightly dressed, so it wasn’t swimming in a pool of dressing, which is always preferred in my book.
One bite, and I knew this salad was the right way to go. It was fantastic. Each bite had a different level of flavor, different textures, and kept the palate interested. It wasn’t just another salad. It had unique flavor combinations, and I found myself wanting to make sure I got a little of everything in each forkful.
As for the side of steak fries…well…that was a nice surprise indeed. First of all, I should mention that steak fries are my least favorite type of fries out there. They are too potato-y in texture and way too soft for my liking. Granted, they are the healthiest (yes…healthy fries) type of french fry to enjoy, but I like a bit of a crisp crunch to mine. That being said, I gave it a go and found that when not overly seasoned and when fried just right, steak fries can be good. They were the highlight of my roommate’s fish and chips meal, and they definitely were a nice addition to mine. Just the right amount of salt, a gentle sprinkling of black pepper…and even a bit of a crisp outside to them. Still potato-y in the center, but it was not soft and soggy as some tend to get. I savored them down to the last one.
Navigating menus as a gluten-intolerant vegetarian isn’t always easy. A lot of times, one of the salads gets my attention. I’m okay with that if it’s a fantastic, new, exciting flavor for me. The Pub offered up the right level of flavor, a unique mix, and a delicious dressing, with a side of fantastic fries. I totally can’t wait to go back next year and do it all over again.
The Pub's Spinach Chopped Salad (sans bacon) w/ a side of fries