When I think of a sports bar, I think of beer and carelessly made, cookie-cutter versions of fried food. So when I went to the newest Little Woodrow's, which is on Shepherd, to watch some Sunday football with a group of friends, I wasn't planning to eat lunch. That is, until my girlfriend told me I may want to rethink that.
Sure, they have your typical sports bar fare, including wings, nachos, and fried pickles. But they also have pork ribs tossed in a sweet Asian chili sauce, housemade Texas chili, and panko-crusted portobello mushrooms.
And I can assure you that the food here, whether it's typical or not, is pretty darn good.
The basket of fried pickle chips ($7) were a table favorite. Thin, crisp, and aggressively seasoned, the crunchy, briny bites were kicked up by a dunk in house-made jalapeño ranch. Suddenly, I wished we had ordered another basket.
But that's okay; we had more goodies on the way. The "mile wide nachos" were just that ($9). Packed with freshly made guacamole, black beans, jalapeños, pico de gallo, sour cream, salsa, and "Sparky's" queso, the massive plate didn't seem to shrink despite the fact that there were about five or six people attacking it. But thanks to Sparky, who apparently makes his cheese sauce with a hint of spice and a splash of Shiner Bock, we got through the nachos just fine. Next time, I think I'll add chicken tossed in Little Woodrow's hot wing sauce (for an additional $3) for good measure.
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After a few rounds of beers, we moved on to lunch. What? We were there all day, okay?
My Chicken Swiss sandwich had all the makings of a dry, bland nightmare -- ordering a boneless, skinless grilled chicken breast is usually not the best move at an unknown kitchen. Woody's version, however, was well-seasoned and mesquite-grilled with care; it managed to be slightly charred without losing its tenderness, a quality I much appreciate in my chicken.
Topped with plenty of smoked bacon, seasoned mushrooms, and Swiss, the sandwich was one sweet and savory mouthful after the next. That's in large part due to the fluffy sourdough bun that the restaurant sources from Sheila Partin's Sweet Mesquite Bakery. Soft, buttery, and slightly sweet, the roll is made with fresh jalapeños and shredded cheddar cheese. A pile of thin and wispy sweet potato fries and some hot sauce were perfect companions for my sandwich.
They also have 50 beers on tap. Like I said, pretty darn good.