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Restaurant Review: Westies Gastropub

Miriam Bowers Abbott Miriam Bowers Abbott Restaurant Review: Westies Gastropub
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Westies Gastropub has set up camp in a big, really big, beautiful spot at 940 S. Front Street. It made its grand debut a few weeks ago.

For all its bigness, the parking lot is teeny, so it’s easiest for drivers to to scope out a nice little spot for a vehicle on the street (or use a valet).

Once inside the establishment, a warm welcome awaits, and there’s even a little glimpse of the kitchen action through shiny windows. Based on the entryway view, the kitchen is expansive too: the restaurant has indoor dining, an outdoor-friendly multipurpose space, and a giant kitchen between the two.

RIght now, Westies is about three parts slickster and two parts diner. The slick parts: the restaurant’s gorgeous design with earth tones and turquoise; the term “gastropub”, and items on the menu such as the charcuterie plate. The diner parts: the servers are really nice and personable, and items on the menu such as fish & chips.

This is all to say, if you define gastropub as “something that will serve goat cheese truffles that have been formed in the intestinal track of a Bolivian mongoose”, this is probably not your gastropub.

But if you’re interested in some good food and a laid-back atmosphere, Westies can get the job done.

The Westies Wings ($9) are solid, and they come with the requisite celery and ranch dressing. The nice, meaty knobs of chicken leave no complaints.

The Westies Wedge ($8), meanwhile, is downright entertaining. Most wedge salads are just a fancified wedge of iceberg lettuce. This concoction surrounds the wedge with a chopped salad, so it’s way less work to eat than the typical version. In that chopped mixture is a old-fashioned combination of bacon, quartered eggs, tomatoes, a little red onion and bleu cheese all covered in a light vinaigrette. It all makes big salad: big enough to be a meal.

The House Made Chili ($6) might be the favorite item tried. Nary a single bean was found in the bowl. It offers a savory meaty mixture in a tomato base with just a little peppery heat at the end. This is all to say, the house chili is perfect.

For serious eating, the menu also has sandwiches, entrees and pizzas. The sandwich selection includes a couple of burger options as well as a sandwich built around a portabello mushroom. The draw of the day’s special was irresistible: Grilled Salmon ($12) on grilled brioche. Whatever the kitchen does with all of its hugeness, it does salmon right: delicate, with caramelized, crunchy edges, and filled with flavor.

While in the fish department, the aforementioned Fish & Chips ($14) are pub-level achievers. The batter crackles, and inside is snuggled flaky sections of cod.

The Spinach & Artichoke Pizza ($11) sort of represents the whole Westies slickster/diner mix in one simple pizza. The menu tells you exactly what it is: pizza crust topped with spinach-and-artichoke dip, a few pieces of brussels sprouts and pine nuts. The dip might be a classic, but it’s a novel idea to use it to top pizza, and it certainly works: that dip works with just about anything.

Westies opens every day at 11am. Mondays through Thursdays, it closes at 11pm. On Fridays and Saturdays, it’s open until midnight, and on Sundays, it closes at 9pm.

For more information, visit www.westiesgastropub.com.

Photos courtesy of AddVision.

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