Thursday, June 23, 2011

Sazerac Lounge (n/k/a Rezervoir Lounge), 1418 Plainfield NE - 6/8/11

9/20/12 Edit: Forced Name Change.

If you are walking down this street, you may not even notice the restaurant, other than maybe the “Open” sign. But if you’re looking at it from across the street, you can see what a distinctive building it is. Bono’s Italian Restaurant used to occupy this space across from Red Jet CafĂ©.
Upon entry, there are three booths on the right, and long tables/booths on the left, with both meeting up at the fairly large, dark wood bar. To the left of the bar is an entry to a second dining area that offers pool tables, ping pong, and dart boards.
Exposed brick walls, an old tin ceiling, and a subdued, warm atmosphere create a very comfortable ambiance, and the friendly, attentive service completed the picture. The clientele ranged nicely from young to middle-aged, and older.

The menu is fairly large with appetizers, sandwiches/wraps, burgers, soups/salads, eleven entrees, and many pizza variations/choices. But along with the traditional food items were some very unique dishes (e.g., red beans & rice and jambalaya). Things we’ve seen only on menus in New Orleans and other places due south, we found here at Sazerac’s (see also Chez Olga’s).

We were on a burger search but indulged our cajun appetites with an appetizer choice of Crawfish Rangoon. The crawfish was blended with cream cheese and spices, lightly deep fried, and was served with their orange zing sauce. The sauce was a tad sweet but was a necessary and essential component to balance the crawfish flavor.  It was a wonderful dish and a crawfish treat.
Of the five burger selections, our choice number one was the Drunken Angus, served with sauteed mushrooms, red onions, bourbon sauce, provolone, romaine lettuce, and tomato. It was quite delicious but messy to eat and required extra napkins. The bourbon sauce had a great flavor but did overwhelm everything.
The second burger was the Bleu Bayou. The Cajun seasoned burger came with bacon, blue cheese, fried onion tanglers, and also with romaine lettuce, tomato, and chipotle mayo. The blue cheese over-shadowed the bacon and onions but their presence still worked for a nice textural contrast.
Both burgers were ordered medium rare and although they arrived closer to medium, they still retained plenty of flavor. The pretzel buns were lightly toasted and were perfect containers for the tasty burgers. The tomato slices could have been omitted, however, as they were flavorless and completely lost in both combinations. Cajun seasoned fries were a spicy and welcome accompaniment.

If you arrive in the summer towards sunset, don’t take a booth by the windows on the street; the heat will drive you out. And if you want to see the beers-on-tap list, don’t sit along the wall on either side of the bar unless you don’t mind getting up see the list. It’s to the right of the bar and the selections are not on the menu.

And what’s in a name? Sazerac - the official cocktail of New Orleans. We see a cocktail and red beans & rice in our future. Sazerac Lounge is a comfortable, neighborhood bar with decent, and interesting, food and a welcoming atmosphere.  
Stock Photo
Their website is sophisticated and informative, and the restaurant has a presence on Facebook and Twitter.
Sazerac Lounge on Urbanspoon