Wednesday, September 10, 2008
Manderes - Beer and More
I've mentioned before that I don't drink. Basically, I'm allergic to alcohol. So Manderes is not a place that I would ever go into on my own. But I have also confessed that I can be bribed to take my Meetup group to a restaurant. I was invited to bring my group by one of the owners. The menu was online and looked decent enough food-wise, so I figured, why not?
Manderes is located in Folsom on East Bidwell at the older end of the strip. It's in a stand-alone building with very limited parking. If you are going with a group then carpooling with a designated driver will definitely make sense to both be safe and to not worry about the parking. They serve over 130 different beers from all over the world. They do have wines as well.
We arrived on a night that they were holding a beer tasting. The theme of the night was Beers of the British Isles. For $18.50 you got to taste six ounces of nine different beers and also got an appetizer plate in the middle. Most of our group felt that was too much beer for them. It would be a good idea to share a tasting.
I was there for the food. The menu was a basic restaurant menu covering soups, salads, entrees, and pastas. We started with a couple of appetizers, the onion rings and the asparagus spears. The asparagus spears were fantastic. Lightly battered and fried and served with a buttermilk ranch. The serving was large and everyone raved about them. They were cooked to perfection. The onion rings were also large, but they seemed greasy in comparison with the asparagus.
I ordered the New York steak - aged, with a dry rub of a Montreal pepper and served with mashed potatoes and a seasoned vegetable. Again the serving was large. The steak was perfectly cooked, not too much fat, and had a very flavorful pepper crust. I am a saltaholic and usually like salt on my steaks, but realized quickly that this steak needed no help. The potatoes were nothing special. The vegetables were seasoned with lots of garlic butter, but they were slightly over cooked. I like them to have that little bit of crispness. Still, I enjoyed the meal overall.
A couple of people had the clam chowder, which was thick and chunky. Laura, in particular, said it was "to die for". Jeni ordered the pastrami sandwich and raved about it. Laura, who doesn't like pastrami, had a bite of it and also proclaimed it as outstanding.
Meanwhile the beer tasting continued. Not surprisingly, the bar was loud! It was very difficult to hold conversations. The bartender had quite a time competing with everyone in order to be able to explain each new pour. From what I observed, the tasting included a great variety of beers, some on the unusual end. Some people only made it through half the beers. When the tasting appetizer came out it appeared to actually be a full serving of the kabob entree, so not a bad deal.
I was pleasantly surprised by our visit to Manderes. Dave, the owner, came to take our pictures to add to his website as we were busy doing the same. The service was friendly, the facility attractive and comfortable, and the food good. I recommend it for even for us non-drinkers.