An appetizer of fried mushrooms is hard to beat. I enjoy them more than onion rings, and a hell of a lot more than fried mozzarella. I headed to BRC Gastropub, along with the reader suggestion of Pappy's Café, for this battle. Let's see how it played out.
BRC Gastropub BRC's version was unlike any I've had before. Large, meaty mushroom caps were sliced lengthwise, fried to perfection, and served with a red pepper jam. This method of food preparation allowed me to eat the mushrooms like fries. These mushroom fries had a light and flaky crust that made for a beautiful presentation instead of what is usually a boring visual appetizer. The excellent fry job left each piece moist, flavorful and not greasy. The mushrooms were somewhat under-seasoned, but one dip into the red pepper jam remedied that small problem. The jam illustrated yet another example of how these fried mushrooms were a little different than the norm. Only complaint--I wanted more, and for $7.50, there should have been a few more.
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Pappy's Café Pappy's fried mushrooms were as traditional as it gets. The medium-sized, button mushrooms were chicken-fried and served with a choice of ranch, honey mustard, or horseradish cream sauce. I chose ranch. They too were under-seasoned, but with a little salt, pepper, and massive amounts of ketchup/ranch mixture--all was good. I'm a huge fan of drowning each piece of fried mushroom into the ketchup, then ranch, and then popping them into my mouth. This is a fool-proof strategy for maximizing the tastiness of fried mushrooms. And finally, what should not be overlooked was the amazing amount of time these mushrooms retained their high temperature.
The winner This one was very difficult to pick. Both versions were very good, and very different from one another. That makes for a great competition. I stayed with tradition and went with Pappy's Café as the winner. It was so close, but in the end, I just enjoyed the taste, texture, and the ability to utilize the standard fried mushroom condiments. I'd also like to note that Pappy's basket cost $6.59, and the portion size was extremely generous.
Next up, Battle Fish Tacos. I'll be heading to Zelko Bistro. But I need some competition. Please feel free to leave your best suggestion in the comment box.