Tuesday, October 20, 2009

Pourhouse Sports Grill, Denton, Texas


by Ellen "EJ" Sackett

You don't have to love sports to love Pourhouse Sports Grill--but it helps. Bright paintings of sports super heroes at their peak and large flat-screen HDTVs surround the spacious main dining room and hang above the bar. You can't ignore the action of a different game on every channel, which can be a bit distracting when you're trying to engage in dinner conversation. But hey, it's a sports bar. That's what it's all about. Almost.

This isn't the kind of sports bar that's full of rowdy fanatics, screaming obscenities at the televisions (although sometimes there are a few who get pretty excited). No, this is a classy place where you'd comfortable bringing your grandparents for drinks and a pleasant, not too expensive meal. The beer, wine, specialty drink and martini list is impressive, and there are daily happy hour specials. The menu covers the gamut, and the portions would feed a starving football team at the end of a too-close-to-call game.

You can expect to find typical bar food at Pourhouse, but with a whole lot more variety. Light up your taste buds with the trash can nachos, a serious amount of queso, chili, jalapeños, tomatoes and sour cream piled over red, blue and yellow corn chips. Instead of a plain 'ol burger, have one with a kick, like the Baja Burger made with Jack Cheese and fried jalapeños, or try to wrap your mouth around the bleu burger that comes with a sweet port wine sauce, roasted shallots and a huge hunk of bleu cheese on top. Another good choice is the Pourhouse's version of a club sandwich--the Homerun Grilled Club--cut into quarters, with turkey, ham, applewood smoked bacon, tomatoes, American cheese and barbecue sauce on sourdough bread. Combine it with a side of drippy, mayonnaise-y coleslaw, a big fat helping of big fat French fries or sweet potato fries and a cold, draft Franconia for a perfect sports bar kind of meal.

If you're looking for something you don't readily find in Texas, order the Classic Cuban sandwich that could pass for German, made with sliced pork and ham and covered with melted Swiss cheese on a grilled ciabatta roll with mustard and a dill pickle. Texans usually have to venture up north for a French Dipped Sandwich, but Pourhouse makes its own version of a pot roast beef sandwich on a French roll with carmelized onions, served au jus. That's French for "with its own juice", but here in Denton we say, "Good for soppin'."

The Pourhouse's thin-crusted, wood-fired pizzas stand out for their fresh ingredients. The combinations, such as the BBQ Chicken or the Hawaiian made with ham and pineapple, might a little adventurous for some pallets but are worth a try. My favorite is the Margherita, made with sliced tomatoes and tomato sauce, mozzarella, sprinkled with fresh basil. Customers can also create their custom pizza from a selective list of ingredients. One pizza is plenty to share as an appetizer or will feed a hungry person as a meal.

Specialty main courses of the Pourhouse include: a chicken fried steak smothered with creamy gravy touted as "The Real Deal"; southern fried shrimp, hand-breaded and comes with cocktail sauce, creole tartar sauce, or spice orange marmalade; a juicy rotisserie chicken, a 12-ounce black Angus rib eye grilled to your liking and the chef's private recipe of shrimp creole, served over spicy rice, which our server from Louisiana said was her favorite dish on the menu. Each of these comes with two vegetable or potato side dishes.

Healthy-minded diners will love the generous salads. The Rotisserie Chicken Chop Salad is an attractive arrangement of roasted chicken, tomatoes, corn, black beans and avocado layered over lettuce. The Country Cobb is equally delicious, made with smoked bacon, smoked turkey, mozzarella, avocado, tomatoes and a hard-boiled egg. Seafood lovers will favor the Seafood Cobb, and you can never go wrong with Chicken Caesar.

But who wants to be healthy? Finish off the meal with dessert. There's something for everybody's sweet tooth. Tops on my list is the brownie bottom sundae, starting with a chewy pecan brownie topped with vanilla ice cream, homemade chocolate sauce, and for overkill, a dollop of whipped cream. The warm white chocolate bread pudding soaked in a hot buttery rum sauce, is equally rich, and cobbler fans can take a chance on the unusual carmel-covered apple walnut concoction with a scoop of vanilla ice cream atop a hard, square wafer. For a lighter dessert, go for the tangy key lime pie.

The Pourhouse's lunch menu, offered Monday through Friday from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m., is reasonably priced at $6.49 and includes smaller portions of many dinner menu selections. A kid's menu is available too with the usual child-friendly choices: mac and cheese, corny dog, chicken strips, a kid's burger or a mini- cheese or pepperoni pizza.

Make sure to check out the theater-style media room, which boasts a gigonormous 110-inch TV/projector flanked by four smaller, but still large flatscreen TVs, and a state-of-the-art sound system. The room seats up to 75 people and is available for parties and business presentations. Semi-private areas for smaller parties from 8 to 18 people can also be reserved ahead of time with the events coordinator. Pourhouse also provides in-house catering.

But you say you're not a sports fan? You're still in luck. Pourhouse has one of the best outdoor seating areas in this part of Texas, feet away from the banks of Unicorn Lake. You may have to put up with some smoke or a rambunctious table, but the serene view at sunset with a glass of Merlot will take you down a notch. At that point, who cares about the noise or whose team is losing? You've already won.


Pourhouse Sports Grill, 3350 Unicorn Lake Blvd, Denton, TX
(940) 484-7455 ~ www.pourhousegrill.com
E-mail: info@pourhousegrill.com
Hours: Sunday through Thursday, 11 a.m. to 10 p.m.
Friday and Saturday, 11 a.m. to 12 p.m.

Pourhouse Sports Grill on Urbanspoon

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