Our first visit was the fourth day in business for Alamo Club and the place was packed. It is located on lower Greenville in the space where the Blind Butcher had been. It is the brainchild of Austin Rodgers who has worked in the restaurant industry for many years and run several of Nick Badovinus’ restaurants. There is a large bar that spans most of the depth of the restaurant and the other side is filled with small and medium sized closely set, bare wood tables. Along the opposite wall is a bench seat that meets up with chairs and a string of 2-top tables. The floor is wood, lighting is low, the ceiling is tin with exposed ductwork, music is in the background and exposed bricks make up the walls and are decorated with mirrors and old photos. The noise level is loud, not due to music but instead due to all those people enjoying themselves in the relaxed, clubby atmosphere. Austin wanted a neighborhood feel to the place and thus they are open every day with a ‘happy hour’ around 5:00. A window at the end of the room provides a limited view into the activity in the kitchen. The menu is small, simple and affordable, filled with American standards and the wine list is nicely chosen. The service was good and fairly speedy but we never felt rushed even with a crowd waiting for your seat (right now there are no reservations). The servers were friendly and helpful.
We started with the Club Wedge which was a salad of baby romaine, ranch, blue cheese crumbles, bacon and tomato. It was really tasty. The fresh, nicely dressed wedge of romaine was decorated with cut cherry tomatoes, bacon bits, blue cheese crumbles, herbs and croutons. It was a good sized portion and the bacon and croutons added a real crunch to the already crisp lettuce. The blue cheese had good flavor and I’d get this again without a doubt.
For a main course I had the Prime NY Strip steak that is a 10 ounce portion cooked au poivre and served with a choice of fries, potato chips or house salad. I chose the fries and glad I did. They were a frozen variety but well crisped with a creamy potato interior. On the side was a serving of tasty arugula dressed with lemon. The steak was cooked a perfect rare as ordered and had good beef flavor as well as a juiciness to the meat. A side of sauce was good to dip the meat or fries into. This was the most expensive thing on the menu but at $24 it seemed like a bargain.
Dessert was only a couple items and delivered through an oral menu. We chose the chocolate chip cookies with ice cream. They came out warm from the oven with 2 generous scoops of vanilla ice cream to accompany the large cookies. The ice cream was smooth and tasty and the cookies were more soft than crisp and didn’t seem to have nuts but I liked them a lot. It was a fine way to end a good meal.
Our second visit it was a bit less crowded in the room and so the noise level was much more manageable. We started with one of their cocktails with a barrel aged rye old fashioned. It was a different drink than my usual made with Rittenhouse or Bulleit rye. I believe I like my standard better due to the flavor of the rye but the drink was nicely done and they do have the huge cubes of ice so the ice doesn’t dilute the drink quickly. A good touch.
With the cocktail we snacked on the Artichoke Spin Dip that comes with tortilla chips. The dip was full of pieces of artichoke but the spinach had turned a dark color. Nevertheless it was tasty and there were plenty of good crisp chips to dip into it. It was easily split for 2 and a good starter.
As a main dish I had the Bacon Cheddar Burger that is covered with dressed arugula, tomato, onion and aioli. It is served with a choice of things – fries, chips or salad – and I chose the fries. There was a slight service snafu with the burgers being brought while the dip and plates were still on the small table but that was easily remedied. The burger was a mouthful. The bun was exceptionally fresh and soft in a good way. It was ordered medium rare and I would call it served at a more true medium but it was good juicy, drippy meat so that was less of an issue. It was piled with crisp bacon and various vegetables. The arugula was a fun touch and it was overall quite good but did not have the grilled essence I expected. The fries were just as good as our first visit – excellent. Totally crisp, perfectly salted and hot with a potato creaminess inside. It was a filling meal and they had just run out of cookies so we skipped dessert.