dining

Tickets Pub and Eatery in Fairborn

By Paula Johnson

Photo: Greek Hot Plate for two at Tickets in Fairborn

I’ve always felt that the job of a police sketch artist when confronted with an average guy who lacked any salient attributes or distinguishing characteristics would be a tough one. This is what I imagine:

What was the suspect’s height?

Medium.

How long was the suspect’s hair?

Medium.

Was the suspect thin or heavy?

Medium.

What was the suspect’s skin tone?

Medium.

It’s what came to mind when I thought about how to report on the meal I experienced during a recent visit to Tickets Pub and Eatery in Fairborn. How to describe something when there’s not much to describe… I’ll give it a whirl. “Right in the middle, nothing standing out, just average” were the phrases that kept coming to mind as I reviewed what we had eaten. The “we” in this case consisted of me, PIP (Palate In Progress), and devoted dining sidekick Jurgen Durstler.

Seeking Greek

Tickets, as the name implies, is a casual place, a neighborhood bar and grill with the feel of a sports bar. Bar price points are low, from a frozen margarita at $5.25 to a glass of house wine for $4.25. The food menu is also mostly priced at the lower end, with the night’s dinner special pork tenderloin at $8.95. The appetizer menu features all the usual fried suspects: potato skins, cheese sticks, jalapeño poppers, waffle fries, wings, fried mushrooms. Changing weekly specials like stuffed cabbage rolls, barbecued chicken, and fried pork tenderloin are featured as entrées, with the bulk of the menu devoted to sandwiches. However, the thing that intrigued me was hearing that Tickets also has a Greek menu, and that’s what I went to try. It’s what I expected to be that standout feature that would make my job a little easier.

Step Up to the Plate

What’s on the Greek menu? It’s fairly limited. I was hoping for layered dishes such as moussaka or pastitsio, or flaky phyllo spinach and cheese pies, but Tickets concentrates more on grilled meats. Two appetizers are offered: a Greek Cold Plate or Hot Plate. The Cold Plate is composed of Feta cheese, Greek peppers, Kalamata olives, tomatoes, bell peppers, cucumbers served with pita bread, and tzatziki sauce. We chose the Greek Hot Plate appetizer for two ($19.25), including Gyro, Souvlaki, and Charbroiled Chicken Breast as well as Feta cheese, Greek peppers, Kalamata olives, tomatoes, pita bread, and tzatziki sauce, most of what is on the Cold Plate. Strangely, the menu advises to try the Hot Plate as a dinner with the Cold Plate as a starter. It really seems more of the same, so I can’t understand why that would be a good idea. (All three of the meats found on the Hot Plate are also available individually as dinners served with two sides.)

Parthe-not

How was the Hot Plate? With only four mediocre quality Kalamatas and unripe tomatoes, not outstanding as far as the non-meat items go. The Souvlaki, marinated cubes of pork grilled and served with tzatziki for dipping, was my favorite amongst the three meats. The grilled chicken was marinated and grilled in exactly the same way, making it nearly indistinguishable flavor-wise. I would have loved to taste more fresh herbs like Greek oregano and mint to enliven the meat. Jurgen and I both reached the verdict of average. I am not a fan of gyro meat—the texture is not one I enjoy, so I let Jurgen, a gyro lover, tackle this one. His assessment? “Meh. It’s kind of like Greek spam.”

We moved on to Jurgen’s choice, the evening dinner special, a down home deep fried pork tenderloin with country gravy, mashed potatoes, and green beans ($8.85) that should have rocked our world—but turned out completely tasteless. I don’t usually say this: everything cried out for salt, and pepper for the gravy. The best thing we tried was the homemade soup, beef noodle on this particular night. The broth was homey and nicely seasoned.

Not So Hot Dog

I tried the Foot Long Garbage Dog. Described as a foot long hot dog smothered in homemade mustard sauce, Texas chili, cheddar cheese, and onion, the hot dog was of the standard supermarket variety, as was the bun. The mustard sauce seemed to be made with yellow mustard and mayonnaise and wasn’t particularly spicy, nor was the chili. I ended up asking for ketchup, and slicing up the pickle spear helped quite a lot. With my hot dog, I ordered a side of Greek Potato Salad ($2.75), and found it to be creamy and tasty with a hint of dill.

When I am writing a review I start with the same question no matter what type of restaurant: what are they setting out to do? And the follow up is did they achieve it? In Tickets’ case, they set out to be a casual neighborhood joint, and that’s pretty much what I found. My hopes for something a little more exciting weren’t realized. But the kitchen is open ’til 11 p.m. most nights, with a limited menu offered until 11:30 p.m., so if you are out and about and looking for an inexpensive late night bite, Tickets Pub and Eatery might be able to punch your ticket.

Ticket’s Pub and Eatery is located at 7 West Main St. in Fairborn. For more information, please call 937.878.9022 or visit TicketsPub.com.

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Dayton City Paper Dining Critic Paula Johnson would like every meal to start with a champagne cocktail and end with chocolate soufflé. As long as there’s a greasy burger and fries somewhere in the middle. Talk food with Paula at PaulaJohnson@DaytonCityPaper.com.

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