Sweetwater Tavern – Merrifield

15 11 2010

“Always take a good look at what you’re about to eat. It’s not so important to know what it is, but it’s critical to know what it was.” – Traditional Cowboy Quote

Cowboy Mural
It’s like being in a Roy Rogers, but classier

After we attempted to come to the desert-themed Sweetwater Tavern for lunch during the week only to find the place jam-packed with hungry employees from nearby office parks, we decided to come back during the weekend. So we did, on a Sunday (the most cowboy of days). A few of my friends had been out here and told me of the gloriousness that was the Brown Butter Sauce at Sweetwater. Never one to stray away from a good sauce or gravy, I decided to mosey on down with them (Last cowboy joke, I promise.).

Even though we went in the early afternoon on a Sunday, we were seated immediately. Sweetwater is a very large establishment with what appeared to be multiple bars (with ample seating around them) equipped with flatscreens showing football games. (I sort of could watch the Colts play the Browns from my booth, not that I care about either team.) Despite being relatively close to a bar, it wasn’t exceedingly loud and we were easily able to hear each other while we conversed. The complimentary bread was also pretty solid, I definitely preferred the miniature rolls to the cheese-infused, half-slices of bread. We ordered the Fried Calamari as an appetizer (I know, this goes against everything I stand for). Calamari can really be hit or miss; here, it was most definitely a hit. It was served with some fried onion slices in this buttery red sauce (sorry for the lack of an image). The batter used to fry the calamari and onions was so light that it enabled the taste of the meat and onion to not be overpowered. It also didn’t fill you up too much, leaving you room for your entrée.

Brown Butter Sauce
Pollo a la Brasa for white people

Following in the steps of those before me I ordered the “Half Young Chicken with Brown Butter Sauce.” The mashed potatoes served on the side were excellent, especially if you like the skins left in them (I don’t really care.). They had a great consistency to them and weren’t dry at all, which is really all you need to for your mashed potatoes to be great. The corn served on the side was surprisingly good (I’m not a huge fan of corn), though it helped that I first coated the corn in Brown Butter Sauce.

Now that we’ve taken care of the side dishes, onto the chicken. The chicken is essentially Pollo a la Brasa with a crunchier skin that’s even saltier than what they serve at South of the Border. I know what you’re saying, how salty can it really be? The skin is like eating a soft pretzel where you have to knock off 75% of the salt granules to even possibly consume it. Even with all the salt, I couldn’t stop, for whatever reason, I just couldn’t. The aforementioned Brown Butter Sauce, the reason we came to Sweetwater, is a relative of chicken gravy. It’s chicken gravy’s thinner, lighter, more attractive cousin. (It also tastes sweet and nutty–an almond-like tasteHeathcliff).

This meal wasn’t anything fancy, just comfort food done very well (and at $12 for the chicken it better be). If I went back to Sweetwater, I’d definitely sample some choice beverages from their fairly extensive beer list. If I had to describe the Sweetwater Tavern in one word it would be: safe. I would be comfortable ordering any dish off the menu or any beer they offer knowing that there would be a high probability that I would enjoy it. Sweetwater is part of a group of restaurants, so that’s probably what they’re going for.

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2 responses

15 11 2010
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17 11 2010

The ozzie rolls are the best. Or however it’s spelled.

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