Posted: April 27th, 2012 | Author: KN | Filed under: American, Casual/Pub Food, Choate Bridge Pub, Ipswich, Seafood | Tags: Beer, burgers, free popcorn, pit barbeque | No Comments »
After spending hours doing yardwork on Saturday, we were in the mood for relaxation: laughing over a few beers, hearty sustenance, and a laid-back atmosphere. We found ourselves at the Choate Bridge Pub in Ipswich, which filled the bill perfectly.
Long a favorite hangout for Ipswich locals, the pub is named for the adjacent historic bridge, one of the oldest stone-arch bridges in the country.
The restaurant’s configuration, divided between a bar and dining room is a bit odd to navigate, with three entrances but no obvious hostess station to inquire about seating. The large bar was packed and pretty loud, so we opted for the dining room. The atmosphere is typically pubby, with friendly waitresses, wooden booths, menus printed on the paper placemats, and specials scrawled on a chalkboard.
Taking advantage of the free popcorn machine, we munched fresh, hot popcorn while sipping our drinks and perusing the menu. We started off with a buffalo calamari appetizer special that was fine but unspectacular ($11.95). The squid weren’t particularly tender, but this at least helped them from being overwhelmed by the buffalo sauce, and the portion was plenty for four people.
For entrees, two of our party decided on the haddock special, ($11.95) which was a deep-fried bonanza that included both onion rings and fries. The fish portions were generous and the fillets were tender, fresh, and lightly breaded.
I opted for the deluxe pub burger ordered medium rare ($8.95 accompanied by french fries. For $7.50, the regular pub burger comes with chips). It was served on an onion roll with lettuce, tomato, and pickles and done perfectly—a tasty grilled char on the outside but lightly pink and juicy in the middle. Really, it was a damn good burger I would order again without question.
Aside from burgers, Choate Bridge is known for their pit barbeque plates, and the last member of our group went for the lamb tips plate served with choice of starch and vegetable/salad ($14.95). The meat was tender and flavorful, grilled with a house-made sauce and once again, the portion quite generous.
If you’re headed back from the beach this summer and looking for a change from the ubiquitous clam shacks, try stopping into Choate Bridge to see what they’ve got on the grill. It’s not fancy, but neither are the prices or their attitude.
Choate Bridge Pub
3 South Main Street, Ipswich
Posted: July 21st, 2009 | Author: KN | Filed under: Casual/Pub Food, Lime Rickey's, Marblehead, Seafood | Tags: Beach Food, burgers, Devereaux Beach, fried clams, fries, Lime Rickey's, lobster roll, Marblehead Restaurants | 7 Comments »
When I was a kid, my mother would herd my siblings and all our friends to the beach on many a summer’s day, but plead as we might, she would never let us buy lunch there. Instead, we would grudgingly eat our limp tuna sandwiches, into which grains of sand invariably found their way, adding grit to every bite. The reason for this torture? Mom would repeat it like a mantra, “Buying food at the beach is too expensive. What do you think I am, made of money?”
Not surprisingly, all these years later, beach food is still expensive. Most beach shacks have a captive audience—unless you bring your own food, they’re the only game around, so their prices don’t have to be competitive.
We accept this; we only wish that Lime Rickey’s at Devereux Beach made us feel better about it. Unfortunately, the quality of the food that we have tasted is less than stellar, and the service, by what appears to be bored college kids, is lackluster at best.
The fried foods are priced similarly to those at the clam shacks in Essex and Ipswich, (clam plate is $18, shrimp plate is $16), but the quality doesn’t come close. The breading is heavy and over-fried, and the only selection that it doesn’t overpower is the scrod, making the fish and chips ($12) a reasonable choice.
The lobster roll is decent, if a bit frou-frou. (Call us purists, but tarragon doesn’t belong in lobster salad.) And at $16 each, these guys clearly haven’t heard that the boat prices have plummeted lately.
The burger is a smallish, previously frozen, overcooked patty, ($5) but the fries (small $3.25, large $4.75) are the coated-to-be-crispy kind and are tasty. For the same money, you could have stopped at Five Guys in Vinnin Square on your way to the beach and gotten a larger, much better tasting burger and much larger fries.
The ice cream, however, is excellent. It’s Richardson’s and is priced similarly to the other places you’ll find it in town, from $1.90 for a single scoop up to $3.90 for a triple.
Aside from the location, which can’t be beat, Lime Rickey’s does have two things going for it. The first is variety; they offer salads, wraps, hummus plates, and a few specialty sandwiches ($5 to $8) in addition to the more traditional beach fare. The second is free live music Friday and Saturday nights in August, and live music at the beach anywhere on the North Shore is pretty hard to come by.
Yes, we’re a bit nostalgic for the days when a hot dog and a Hoodsie could be had for a dollar and a quarter, but the truth is, there are so many excellent North Shore eateries to patronize, the next time we hit Devereux, we’re packing lunch.
105 Ocean Ave, Marblehead
Posted: June 5th, 2009 | Author: KN | Filed under: Swampscott, The Lunch Counter | Tags: burgers, Five Guys Burgers and Fries, fries, Swampscott Restaurants | 9 Comments »
Even before the hype of President Obama’s recent Five Guys run, Lunch Guy was looking forward to trying out the franchise’s new branch, which opened this past Monday in Vinnin Square, because he’s a sucker for a good burger.
After navigating the full parking lot, the long order line, the mysterious menu board, and the even longer pick up line, Lunch Guy finally grabbed a seat in the small, noisy restaurant to enjoy his burger and fries. The first surprise was that the Cheeseburger ($5) was actually two stacked burgers. The Little Cheeseburger ($4) is a single. While they charge extra for bacon or cheese, all other sides are free.
The burger itself was quite tasty, quality fresh ground beef in real patties, grilled and assembled with precision by the cast of thousands crammed in behind the counter. It’s the sort of thing you’d expect to be served in a pub, not a storefront burger joint.
Despite only Coke and Sprite being shown on the menu, the free-refill fountain drinks ($2) offered a range of sodas. The fries ($2.79 small, $4 large), advertised as hand cut daily and cooked in no-cholesterol peanut oil, were not Lunch Guy’s favorite. While certainly fresh tasting, they were closer to the boardwalk style, and he prefers them crispy.
Lunch Guy says the paradox is that it’s a sit-down burger experience in a fast-food environment, and the bottom line is that even though he enjoyed the burger, Five Guys isn’t likely to become a regular habit for him. He has a limited time for lunch and wants to relax while eating. With all the time spent waiting in line, (eight minutes from door to order, 10 to 15 to receive the order) he’s not going to have too much left to eat, and relaxing is out of the question with the noise and surging lunchtime crowd. The craziness and crowds should subside once the novelty wears off, but Lunch Guy leaves us with this tip: call in your order ahead or try grabbing lunch after 1:00, when the crowds have abated a bit.
Five Guys Burgers and Fries
980 Paradise Rd., Swampscott