This past weekend Daniel B. put on a mini Tour de Mozzarella Sticks & Melba Sauce. Read his post for thoughtfulness and insight, picks from each location and some minimal commentary are below:
TJ’s Cafe was the first stop of the day. 2 orders of sticks (3 pieces per order) came out to a little over $15 with tax. These were big honkin’ slabs and not sticks, with an almost-too-perfect not-at-all-greasy crust. Crisp, like a fish stick, almost.
The mozzarella was some of the most flavorful and melty of the bunch. The melba was enjoyable, but I may have added a squeeze of lime to it to a little contrast.
FWIW, we also ran into Todd as we were heading out, who was a very genuine guy and mentioned how they really try to stay consistent with their recipes for their customers, down to maintaining the same brands in their recipes. Albany John & I had talked about consistency (and inconsistencies) in dishes and foods earlier in the day, so it was nice to hear the importance of consistency talked about by a local restaurant owner.
Next up was Ralph’s Tavern just up the road on Central Ave. These were my favorite mozzarella sticks of the tour – salty and greasy in just the right way, with just a whisper of a breading between stick and eater.
Next up was the Across the Street Pub, which I’d never been to before – it’s the 2nd floor. These were some of the least pleasant of the bunch, which means they were still passable, but you can find them in your grocer’s freezer section. These were the only pre-made sticks of the tour. Kind of a bummer at $6.50. At least they were small.
Graney’s was next. The last time I was in here was after watching a local rugby game years ago, and there wasn’t much eating going on then. These win for largest sticks of the tour. I forget how much these were, but it was reasonable.
So much melty-ness! The final stop was Beff’s, which also featured some rather large mozzarella sticks. They had the best raspberry sauce of the bunch – it had a citrus/lime note in it to keep the raspberry sauce from being too cloyingly sweet. The breading was fairly thick and crunchy.
They also brought out some of the marinara sauce, but I found it to be tinny & unpleasant.
Overall, this was a fun quickie-tour. It was by no means comprehensive, but we covered some good ground, and I’m pleased that so many of these places made their sticks in their own kitchens. I found a few new taverns to visit. I am thinking I will have to stop in to TJ’s Cafe and Ralph’s for some of their other fare as well.