#155: Bar 101 Eats & Drinks

Last Friday I was planning on going to Bar 101 Eats & Drinks in Old Roseville to see a friend’s band play.  I had never been there so I took a look at their website to see what type of place it was.  They have a little video featuring the food and it made it look pretty solid, so I figured I’d do a post on it.  Bar 101 is located at the end of Main street near all the other bars and clubs.  I arrived pretty early, just after 6, for dinner.

The place was pretty quiet, a couple groups were seated and there were a few people at the bar.  The bar itself is on the small side given the size of the whole place.  Stick it on the opposite wall and it could have run the length of the room.  In the middle are regular tables and along the front wall some taller pub tables.  Past the bar is a somewhat separate room with a pool table, an arcade game and not much else.  TVs can be seen from most angles and a large projector screen hangs over what turns into the stage for live music at night.  I don’t recall if I was greeted when I walked in, if so it was a quick “how’s it going” type greeting and that’s it.  I took a seat at one of the tables by the front windows and sat for a few minutes, wondering if I should go to the bartender and ask for a menu.  Eventually he did come around and ask if I was going to be ordering food, then brought me a menu, silverware/napkin and a basket of condiments.

On the wall above the entrance to the pool table room is a big blackboard with the beer selection.  I’m not even remotely a beer guy, but I have to say I found it to be very standard.  There were a couple things that I don’t normally see, but all the typical domestic stuff was up there and nothing particularly noteworthy from the smaller breweries.  I settled on a Lost Coast Great White.  The bartender/server brought this out in a couple minutes.  He was the only guy working the front, though I did see another who was running food out from the kitchen now and then.  The menu was much more interesting than the beer list.  It starts off with appetizer/bar type items from wings and chicken strips to spicy panko calamari.  Some excellent sounding salads come up next, and finally the bulk of the menu, burgers, tacos sandwiches and a few other misc items.  Honestly, based on the descriptions, I think I would be down to order just about anything on this menu, which is rare I think.  I soon decided on The Package burger (Bacon wrapped, cheddar stuffed, topped with crispy onion strings and our house-made BBQ sauce on a toasted brioche bun)[$10.95].

I ordered it up and waited just a smidge over ten minutes for it to come out.  The other guy I saw running food brought it to me with the bartender just behind him, who then asked if I needed anything else.  I almost said ketchup but realized it was in the basket he set on the table earlier.  With that he turned his attention back to the bar and the other customers.  My burger was served in a largish metal pan with a light-brown paper liner.  It was presented open, showing off most of the ingredients.  The pile of onion strings was enough that I thought I would have a hard time keeping them in the burger.  A lot of it was small broken up pieces.  They sat atop the burger patty with a glob of BBQ sauce in between.  A couple slices of medium-thick bacon was visible curled around on one side.  There was a lot more there underneath the BBQ and onions.  On the top slice of bun was lettuce, red onion and a slice of tomato.  I didn’t realize how much onion there was until I assembled the burger.  It was a solid slice, which I thought might be a bit much, so I pulled a few rings off to thin it out.

Once I put it together I think I looked at it for a minute or so wondering how to go about starting to eat it.  It was a very sizable burger.  I snacked on the fries a bit while I considered this.  The fries were thin, shoestring cut, and they were pretty good on their own.  I had no desire to add ketchup to them at all.  They were crispy and had little salt, which they didn’t really need.  Finally I took the plunge, picked up the massive burger and started eating.  The first bite was a lot of bun, onion, BBQ sauce and one of the thick sliced pickles that was hiding under the patty.  I hit the bacon wrapped patty next.  It was pretty damn good.  The bacon was crisp and flavorful and the patty was full of flavor itself.  I had picked medium rare when he asked earlier.  The beef seemed to be cooked more medium as I didn’t really see any pink.  It was still very good though and plenty juicy, I’m not sure if medium rare would have even been the much of an improvement.  I didn’t really notice the “cheddar stuffed” part of this burger.  I didn’t hit an obvious cheesy pocket or even see bits here or there.  Either they forgot the cheese in this or it’s so well blended in with the patty that it simply enhances the beef without being it’s own discrete thing.  Despite this, it was still a really great burger.  Excellent, crispy bacon was in just about every single bite.  I’ve had many bacon-wrapped things, but this was my first bacon-wrapped burger, and I liked it.

The service left something to be desired.  Granted, it was just the one bartender.  They weren’t all that busy though.  He seemed somewhat disinterested in our interactions.  He did apologize for the lack of service to an extent at the end, but this might just have been because he had guessed earlier that I was doing some kind of blog/review.  I left for a while and had drinks elsewhere until the show was about to start.  When I came back it was much busier and he had another server or two helping out.  I stood at the bar for a bit scoping out the small section of liquor.  In their video they claim to have “whatever your hearts desire”.  My heart desired a decent bourbon selection, but all they had was Makers Mark.  The same bartender served that to me, again, seeming very disinterested in either me or his work in general.

While the service I received could have used some major improvement, the food was almost good enough to overlook it.  As I said the entire menu looked pretty good and I wouldn’t be surprised if I find myself back here eventually to try some other things, particularly the carnitas fries (French fries topped with carnitas, melted jack and cheddar cheese, homemade guac, sour cream, pico de gallo, jalapenos and green onions)[$7.95].


One thought on “#155: Bar 101 Eats & Drinks

  1. Looks like a neat place, but I hear ya…”non”-customer service is a huge minus. I ‘m not sure why places don’t understand that with all the competition around town.

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