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Dollar-Wise Gourmet: Pub Grub


Posted on September 2

Bulldog slider and chips from BonnLair
Bulldog slider and chips from BonnLair Roy Wilcox

Craving authentic British fare such as bangers and mash or fish and chips? The Sacramento region offers a plethora of pubs offering such grub (not to mention great beer) at bargain prices. Here are four.

THE PUB: BonnLair, 3651 J St.
TRY THIS: Served on a fresh, fluffy roll filled with sausage and lots of grilled onions, the bulldog slider ($3.75 at happy hour, $6.50 for the full-sandwich version at lunch) is the bomb. Pair it with a side of steak-style chips (what Brits call french fries) and rich brown gravy ($5.75 for a huge portion) and share it with a pal. Also good: mini shepherd’s pie ($4.75 at happy hour).
SKIP THIS: My gal pal and I both found the Scotch egg—a hard-boiled egg wrapped in sausage, rolled in breadcrumbs and deep-fried—a little scary.
DOLLAR-WISE TIP: Happy hour runs from 4 to 6 p.m. daily. But don’t go looking for chips on a Monday. BonnLair gets deep-fryer help from neighboring restaurant La Trattoria Bohemia, which is closed on Mondays.

 

THE PUB: Churchill Arms Pub, 649 E. Bidwell St., Folsom
TRY THIS: The banger roll, wrapped in flaky pastry and served with Dijon mustard ($5), is yummy, as are the pickle chips, fried in a nice, light batter ($6). The shepherd’s pie ($10) features deliciously seasoned ground beef covered by a delicately crispy layer of mashed potatoes.
SKIP THIS: Fish and chips: raveworthy chips, but scant on the fish.
DOLLAR-WISE TIP: Some of the non-British fare took us by surprise, including an excellent clam chowder ($3.50 a cup) that even received a thumbs-up from the 17-month-old at the table.

 

THE PUB: de Vere’s Irish Pub, 1521 L St.
TRY THIS: At lunch or dinner, try the Irish stew, tender whiskey-braised beef and veggies in a rich broth, served with Irish brown bread ($7.99 for a small). At happy hour, share a plate of beer cheese nachos, a delicious concoction of chips, pimento beer cheese, diced chicken and zippy Sriracha ($4). The fried pickles ($4) are great, too.
SKIP THIS: The buttered pretzel with beer cheese and mustard is a little bland; the sausage version, while pricier, is far tastier.
DOLLAR-WISE TIP: The free “pub club” rewards program offers discounts on food and libations. At lunch, you’ll get 15 percent off the tab if you work for the state (bring your ID) or check in on social media.

 

THE PUB: Streets of London, 1804 J St.
TRY THIS: Don’t miss the sausage roll with onion jam ($6.15): The sweet/spicy onion jam is as unique as it is addictive. The meat and potato pasty ($6.15), encased in a dense yet flaky pastry and served with old-school brown gravy, is equally good.
SKIP THIS: Onion bhaji—deep-fried curry-infused fritters of shredded onion, served with cilantro-yogurt dressing—sound promising. But they’re way too greasy.
DOLLAR-WISE TIP: Add a house salad for $1.95. It’s surprisingly large and tasty and will help you feel vaguely virtuous if you’re otherwise stuffing your face with carbs and grease.

 

SNAPSHOTS

St. Francis Revelry 2014

St. Francis Revelry 2014

Published: Saturday, October 18, 2014 carlcostas.com