Lake Forest Bar & Grill: There's a deal at every meal
Lake Forest Bar & Grill offers a friendly atmosphere and a menu that offers something for everyone. They also have some specially price items that help customers save money.
Special to The Seattle Times
|Chicken Mac and Cheese||$13.99|
|Blackened Salmon Caesar||$15.99|
|Surf & Turf||$16.99|
Lake Forest Bar & GrillAmerican
17535 Ballinger Way N.E., Lake Forest Park
Reservations: Accepted for parties of six or more (except on Wednesday night).
Hours: 11 a.m.-midnight Mondays-Thursdays; 11 a.m.-1 a.m. Fridays; 9 a.m.-1 a.m. Saturdays; 9 a.m.-11 p.m. Sundays; happy hour 3-6 p.m. and 9 p.m.-close daily.
Prices: $$ (Dinner starters $4.99-$10.99; mains $9.99-$16.99; lunch $7.99-$14.99; breakfast $6.99-$10.99.)
Drinks: Full bar; several local and other brews on tap or by the bottle; modest but serviceable wine list.
Parking: Free in lot.
Who should go: Relaxed neighborhood gathering place where all ages will feel at home.
Credit cards: All major.
Access: No obstacles.
If you show up at Lake Forest Bar & Grill for breakfast, lunch and dinner in the same week, as I did recently, it's nothing out of the ordinary. My guess is a good many of their customers do the same on a regular basis.
What brings them back? A warm welcome, a comfortable setting, cheerful attention at the table, fresh food, abundant portions and, not least, a deal at every meal.
Between 9 and 11 a.m. Saturday and Sunday, they take advantage of the "Big Deal." Everything on the breakfast menu is $5.95. That saves two bucks on wickedly wonderful buttermilk pancakes, crunchy with bacon bits and gilded with vanilla butter and maple syrup.
And that's $4 off the nicely executed shrimp-and-potato-cake variation on eggs Benedict. It's constructed with respectable Hollandaise and carefully poached eggs, neither of which could undermine the crisp shell of the shrimp-studded mashed-potato patty.
Pocket your savings or put it toward the salt-crusted signature Bloody Mary made with pepper vodka and "secret ingredients" that I suspect includes pepperoncini juice. (But must they call it "Luke's Morning BM?")
"That looks good," said the woman in the next booth eyeing my eye-opener. Strangers strike up spontaneous conversations a lot here. She and her sister are partial to happy hour; they share a sandwich and salad and call it dinner.
At lunch, $7.99 buys a duo of your choosing: half a sandwich, a salad, a soup or a side. You won't regret pairing the thick, herby seafood chowder or creamy tomato-basil soup with a Caesar salad shingled with Parmesan shavings and tossed with a light, bright dressing. (Or not tossed; servers ask if you want it on the side.)
I was quite happy with a $10.99 turkey club ordered from the regular lunch menu. Provolone, bacon, ripe avocado, red onion, lettuce and tomato augment the Foster Farms lunch meat. It's all stacked high on a toasted ciabatta bun, slick with basil mayonnaise, and it comes with a heap of exemplary "fast food" fries.
Spend a little more and get a pair of fish tacos, morsels of mahi mahi tucked into soft flour tortillas along with zesty lime-cilantro cream, fruit salsa and crunchy iceberg lettuce ribbons. The Mexican rice and pinto beans with them tasted less lively.
The three-course "Feast for $15" packs the softly lit dining room Sunday and Monday nights. The meal opens with soup, salad or garlicky, parsley-flecked hummus with warm, puffy Greek pita. It ends with various desserts. Unless you are a hopeless chocoholic, I would avoid the soggy flourless chocolate cake.
The broad selection of entree choices represents, I'm told, some of their most popular menu items. I caution anyone wearing dentures to avoid the hard-to-cut, harder-to-chew top sirloin. If you want beef, the juicy, Thousand Island-dressed cheeseburger is a real delight and it comes with plenty of the aforementioned fries.
Mac and cheese folds penne pasta into a chili-cheese sauce where cheddar meets jack and jalapeño meets habanero. With a sliced, boneless grilled chicken breast and fabulously fresh buttered carrots and green beans riding shotgun, it's a hefty entree, altogether too rich for your own good, and altogether too good to pass up.
Pollo Asado is equally bountiful, though I wished for more zip in the marinated and grilled half chicken and in its accompaniments: salsa, rice and red beans.
Lake Forest Bar & Grill joins Greenlake, Eastlake, Southlake and most recently Crossroads in an expanding family of neighborhood grills started by John and James Schmidt, developers of Taco del Mar. It's a family restaurant in the broadest and best sense of the word, welcoming to all ages.
Wheelchairs and walkers are not uncommon. Younger singles and couples favor high tables around the horseshoe-shaped bar. Parents welcome the restraint of roomy booths on squirming kids who color happily while Mom sips chardonnay and Dad tracks the game on TVs handily perched in every corner. It's just like home, except no one had to cook, or do the dishes.
Providence Cicero: email@example.com
Sam and Sara Lucchese create handmade pasta out of their kitchen-garage adjacent to their Ballard home. Here, they illustrate the final steps in making pappardelle pasta.
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