Deano’s sports a good menu for game nights

01/30/2014 3:11 PM

01/30/2014 3:12 PM

When all the basketball teams in your state have outstanding years simultaneously, the need for an outstanding place to watch the game while enjoying beer, burgers and fan fellowship becomes pretty important.

Deano’s Grill & Tapworks came along at just the right time.

The new sports bar opened in October, the end-cap of a strip center at 9747 E. 21st St. The space formerly held Louie’s Grill and Bar.

It’s developing a reputation as a good gathering spot for Shocker fans, especially now that it’s the weekly broadcast spot for the Monday-night radio shows hosted by WSU men’s basketball coach Gregg Marshall and women’s basketball coach Jody Adams. (Deano’s staff report that Coach Marshall’s dish of choice is a pizza topped with sausage, red onions, jalapenos and banana peppers.) The bar has shown every one of this season’s men’s Shockers games in the nicely decorated dining room, which is outfitted with so many big screens, no seat lacks a view of the big game.

The comfortable bar also has great service and it has pretty good food, though it’s a bit inconsistent. The menu is certainly interesting and features lots of little German-food touches.

•  ON THE MENU: Deano’s has all the dishes you expect from your local sports bar, including burgers, wings, nachos, salads, chicken tenders and sandwiches. There’s also a steak, endless build-your-own pizza options and several fried appetizers.

The restaurant’s chef has a soft spot for German fare and has populated the menu with some interesting dishes from Deutschland, including a sausage plate featuring house-made bratwurst, spaetzle and braised sauerkraut. Bready, fresh-baked pretzels are available as a side item, and the restaurant also serves a bierock made with pizza dough.

•  DON’T MISS DISHES: The dishes we ordered at Deano’s that were good were excessively good. But not all of them were.

Among our favorite dishes was the barbecue ribs ($17), a full slab served with a side of slaw and an order of fries. The ribs were meaty and moist and slathered with a sweet sauce. Best of all, the meat was fall-off-the-bone tender. The homemade slaw wasn’t too sweet and had a perfect vinegar bite. A note about Deano’s fries, though: I’ve never seen anything quite like them. It’s almost as though they were spiral cut, extra thick, then deep fried. I prefer a more traditional cut, but all the people at my table were big fans of these French fry saucers, and I have to admit, they packed a lot of potato flavor.

Another successful dish was the fish and chips ($14), which came with two large, beer-battered filets of cod that were snow-white and flaky on the inside and not at all greasy on the outside. They were extra good with the whole-grain mustard-spiked tartar sauce served on the side. The chips, of course, were those giant potato hunks.

We heard before we went that Deano’s had an excellent Reuben, and that was definitely true. This one was so good because of the way the corn beef was served. It wasn’t hunky or chewy but rather slow-cooked and served sort of shredded, making the corned beef less overpowering and allowing the other flavors in the sandwich shine through, too. The sandwich, served on rye bread, also was topped with subtle sauerkraut, Swiss cheese and a house-made dressing. Even though it seemed like unwise carb excess, we chose the the bready pretzel sticks as our side and we weren’t sorry. They’re served warm with a dusting of salt and are wonderful.

We had some less impressive dishes, too. It’s a matter of personal preference, but I’m not crazy about Deano’s wings, which are very large and include both the drumette and the middle section together. (Typically, these two portions are separated before serving.) The wings are fried and served with the sauce on the side but are disappointingly bland.

We also weren’t crazy about the chicken fried steak ($13). The portion was big, but the steak was gristly in the center and the corn we ordered on the side was oddly chewy and sweet – and not in a good way. And the chipotle chicken nachos ($9) we ordered before the meal were served on thin chips with a stingy amount of melted queso. Despite being topped with grilled chicken, olives, black beans and corn, they were pretty blah, and we didn’t detect any chipotle flavor.

The burger ($9 with a side) was a typical bar burger – not memorable but also not bad. And we were amused by an unusual dessert we ordered called the Swiss roll ($6). It looked and tasted exactly like the chocolate-creme-pinwheel Little Debbie Swiss rolls your mom put in your lunch box, only it was bigger and was topped with whipped cream and fruit coulis. The kids in our party loved it.

•  AMBIANCE: Deano’s looks great inside. The bar has been redone with white half-circle booths and a mix of tall and short tables. The floors are stained concrete, the walls have exposed brick and the dim lighting makes the multiple television sets easy to watch. The night we visited was Shocker game night, and there was not a single seat in the house that didn’t have a prime view of the game.
•  PRICE RANGE: A little high for the type of food served but not totally out of bounds. Sandwiches, served with a side, are $9 to $10. Pizzas are 12 inches and cost $8 to $11. Appetizers average about $8. Entrees range from $12 to $18.
•  SERVICE: Very good. Even though the bar was crowded with Shocker fans when we visited, an endless stream of friendly servers and managers appeared at our table to attend to our needs. And we never felt rushed out the door, which was good because we wanted to linger and watch the Shockers win.

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