Sunday, February 15, 2015

Antler's Pub & Grill in Clare, Iowa

Clare is a town just north and west of Ft. Dodge that was settled by Irish people a long time ago. I know this because of a framed newspaper article hung on the wall at Antlers Pub & Grill, which appears to be the only bar or restaurant in the town. A recent IPPA best tenderloin contest listed Antlers Pub as a runner up.

Location:120 W. Front St in Clare, Webster County, Iowa.

Directions: If you are coming from Ft. Dodge., go north on Highway 169 until you reach county road C66 which leads to Clare.

Online at: facebook page is HERE.

The Tenderloin: This was served on a nicely toasted undersized bun that had a good bit of chewiness on its crust. The crisp breading had a nice darker brown color with a good amount of seasoning. The loin meat had a bit of a pink color and had a ton of juice inside. This reminded me of a tenderloin I ate in Dakota City with so much juiciness. Overall 8.5 out of ten.

Price: $7.95 with a side, I went with the homemade chips.

Also on the menu: Its bar food starting with burgers and fried stuff. There was chex mix in bowls at the bar when I stopped by.

Service: Small town bar service, nothing to complain about, just three people working the bar and kitchen.

Ambiance: I hope you like mounted animal heads, because there are about twenty of them, and tons of deer antlers. The interior has some nice exposed woodwork and televisions showing sports.

Final Thoughts: I still haven't found a great tenderloin in Ft. Dodge, but Clare is just a short drive up the road. I am still interested to know if the Palmer House in nearby Palmer is still open for business.

Sunday, February 1, 2015

Culver's in Des Moines, Iowa

"Welcome to Delicious" is written somewhere on the menu and other places inside each Culver's franchise. The chain from Wisconsin entered the Central Iowa marked a little over ten years ago, and there are four locations in Greater Des Moines.

Location: 5941 SE 14th St in Des Moines

Directions: If you don't want to brave the traffic on SE 14th St, they have franchises all over the midwest.

Online at: website is HERE.

The Tenderloin: The shape resembles the loin shape I've become familial with over the years, with a little finger of meat sticking out at one corner. The breading is consistent, thin and crunchy, and very deeply tasteless. The white pork meat is clearly from one single cut of pork from with clearly visible grain, but it isn't tender at all and is significantly dryer than anything you can pick up from a cafe that makes the sandwich themselves. Served on a buttered toasted bun. Overall 4.0 out of ten.

Price: $7.09 for the combo but they talked me into a $0.25 upcharge for "deluxe condiments" like mayo and onion.

Also on the menu: Huge fast food menu based on butterburgers, frozen custard desserts, and diner classics like patty melt or cheese curds or even fried fish.

The "Original" Butterburger
The Original Butterburger SnackPack: this is part of their under five dollar value menu with fries and a drink. The burger gets a good seared surface from the hot grill, and that is about all I can say about it. Served with a slice of cheddar underneath.

Service: Its order at the counter and they bring the food to your table.

Ambiance: I suppose its brighter and more open than other fast food places, with booths and tables for seating.

Final Thoughts: I get asked often about the various fast food franchise tenderloins. I assume the Culver's tenderloin is exactly the same at every franchise, and I guess they would have the same supply chain for their ingredients. It really isn't special, but its gives some scale and comparison to the other tenderloins and are more widely available.

Culver's on Urbanspoon