I love to review restaurant’s. I feel qualified to review because-I eat. The truth is that a review is pretty subjective but I always try to be reasonable and take all factors into account. Last week-end, Lisa and I had such a great, smack-to-the-head experience the I really won’t pretend to be objective, we just plain had fun. I like a day trip and something good to eat. I got both last Sunday at Erickson’s Smokehouse Bar and Grill in Fertile.
First thing I noticed when we pulled up was the large smoker attached to the restaurant. This was a real, stainless-steel structure used to provide smoke for the various meats. Its’ importance was apparent as it was on full display.
The building had that cool 70’s supper-club feel. The bar was more modern but the dining room was just like your Grandparents left it which was really cool. There was a lovely rib and chicken buffet but Lisa and I asked for menu. Lisa picked a brisket sandwich while I went for the pulled pork. Lisa had sweet potato fries while I went with buffalo chips which are like real thick potato chips.
Okay, when our meals arrived there was so much food I almost got a little anxious. It was awesome. My pulled pork appeared as though someone with really huge hands had lovingly laid handfuls of pork on the bun. More meat had fallen off the bun onto the plate than I would normally expect in a meal. I like generous portions as I trust generous people. Lisa’s brisket was so tender and good that she fell silent. I’m serious, not a word. The meals were both presented smoke-first; no sauce on the meat. There were portions of sauce served on the side but when you come to a smokehouse, you come for the smoke. Price for two meals was inexpensive enough that I assumed they had forgotten our beverages but they were included.
The older I get, the more I look at all elements of a meal as they play into how I enjoy the meal. Our smoked sandwiches were better than excellent-they were unexpected. The building helped create an experience I will remember and my date was sweet and happy with how she spent her Sunday. To truly experience a smokehouse is something a lot of people never see and this experience was married to some real delicious nostalgia.
We also toured Fertile a bit before we left town. We both were impressed with the variety of homes and how well they were kept. The fairgrounds was truly impressive with the large buildings and a pretty setting. It reminded me of doing reports for the Fosston radio station back in the eighties during the fair when Marie Osmond appeared in the grandstand. It was a really nice time after our meal.
There is something going on right now in food service. Bars and restaurants are serving remarkable food in unique locations or in buildings that wear their age with pride. It all just seems more legitimate and real to me; it also tastes good. Erickson’s Smokehouse Bar and Grill is an excellent example of a new tradition. Go enjoy it.