Friday, December 2, 2011

Alligator Nuggets at Jethro's Fine Grub

Jethro's Fine Grub on Urbanspoon
Just back from the cash-only-please Jethro's Fine Grub this morning, where we timed our breakfast drop-in almost-just-right with my foodie friend. We had thought to skip the breakfast rush and go around 9 am to 9:30 am. The restaurant had lots of empty tables around 9am, and there was no wait when we walked in 9:30 am. By 10-ish, however, the small restaurant was packed and a line-up had formed. The brunch crowd, I supposed -- and on a Friday morning!

You may know Jethro's for their enormous pancakes -- they are big enough to literally cover an entire dinner plate. For sheer quantity for your breakfast dollar, plus reasonable to good quality, this makes Jethro's Fine Grub a good place to go.
I was amused but not curious enough to order a huge bite of what I've had before, so I looked a bit harder.

My friend ordered the Crab Cake Benedict ($11 - house made crab cakes with poached eggs and hollandaise; served with hasbrowns [sic] and toast). I had my eye on the South of Denver omelette (smokey pulled pork, sauteed onions, peppers, smoked gouda and jalapenos; served with hashbrowns and toast) but took a chance and asked for the Alligator Nuggets ($10 - battered and flash fried 'gator over basmati rice; with blonde barbeque sauce and a tossed salad) which was on the website but didn't appear on the breakfast menu. Turns out it's a lunch item, but our lovely server Tiffany said I could order them anyway.

We also each had a tea. For $2 you get one bag of President's Choice tea steeped in a stainless steel pot.

Since hash browns can actually be many things, it's worth noting that Jethro's makes them as chunks of potato instead of a finer cut. Looks like roasted potatoes, except pan fried.

The Crab Cake Benedict plate was 1/3 potato, 1/3 two slices of toast with jam on the side, and 1/3rd two flattish crab cakes hidden under sauce and two poached eggs. Compared to other crab cakes I've had elsewhere, it's much softer and flatter. No chance of a crunchy bite here after being drowned in Hollandaise sauce. The sauce was strangely bland and actually turned my dining companion off the crab cakes, of which she basically only had a half of one.
I thought the crab cake was okay myself -- but didn't much care for the sauce either. I only had a portion of a crab cake to investigate, so I couldn't quite determine how much was crab and how much was filler. Whatever crab meat was used was mashed up so much you can't see any chunks.

My Alligator Nuggets were a profound disappointment. There was seemingly a lot of big, randomly shaped, nuggets (and I concede the herbed batter was savory and tasty) but I didn't order alligator nuggets to eat tasty batter. I tried to peel off the batter to have a look at the meat and try to taste it on its own, but I couldn't really separate the two. Honestly, it looked like mostly batter, or the batter was mixed with the gator meat. Either way, you won't get a taste of what alligator meat tastes like. You'll be hard pressed to find any chunk of it, in fact.
The situation reminds me of popcorn chicken -- you're sometimes (often?) hard-pressed to isolate any actual piece of chicken.
If you're thinking of ordering Alligator Nuggets to try novelty meat, give it a pass -- Trust me. But if that's not your goal, then what's in the bowl is actually pretty tasty.

The blonde barbeque sauce was sweet and tasted somewhat like Thousand Island Dressing, but not so sour. Nice with the batter.

The bill came out to $31 after tax and tip. CASH ONLY. It's a busy restaurant, but probably their way of running a tighter biz is to avoid paying credit card companies. There's a sign on the door, but it's easily missed -- my friend definitely did and had her MasterCard declined.

Overall, you get pretty good portions on the meals, if you're looking for pounds per dollar, especially for breakfasts that could probably last you through lunch. But that's somewhat taken back by the markup on the drinks -- which is pretty much the same everywhere ever since Starbucks trained us all to buy $5 coffees.

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