Wingin’ it in Springfield

Eastwood American Grill and Tavern serves wings, pies and more

By Paula Johnson

PIP (Palate In Progress) and I found ourselves in Springfield recently, scouring the antiques mall aisles for finds at affordable prices. Peering at old plates and cast iron skillets made us think of dinner, and we hoped to find a meal we could also deem a find at an affordable price. According to Eastwood American Grill and Tavern’s website, this Springfield restaurant features familiar favorite foods made from scratch plus hard cider and a wide variety of local and regional craft brews. It sounded like the place we were looking for, so we packed up our treasures and headed out to see if that was the case.

Entering from the parking lot, we passed through the attractive sports bar area featuring several large screen TV games and several patrons, who looked like they were having a fine time enjoying them. The dining area, while not unattractive, felt a bit sparse, absent of the more ambient vibe present in the bar area. However, we quickly forgot that as we viewed the menu and began chatting with our warm and friendly server, Amanda.

Speak of the devil

We began with bacon-wrapped dates called Devils on Horseback ($7), a riff on Angels on Horseback, which are made with oysters instead of dates. There’s hardly anything sweeter than a date, so adding goat cheese and wrapping it in bacon is a pretty good idea. Since the spicy applewood-smoked bacon Eastwood uses has sweetness to it, perhaps a saltier bacon would provide more balance. Glazing the bacon with balsamic vinegar helped to cut the sweet, and serving these sugary nuggets on a bed of greens makes sense, too. They’re sweet enough that sharing them with the table is also a good idea.

Winging it

The N.Y. Style Chicken Wings were a must according to Amanda. I asked her which of the four sauces offered is the favorite. The one that sounded least appealing to me, Blueberry Chipotle, was Amanda’s answer. My face must have registered skepticism because she immediately offered to bring out samples of all the sauces for us to try. (Lots of server points for that!) Turned out she was right. The sauces offered—Buffalo, Sweet Chili Asian Garlic, Sriracha Lime and Blueberry Chipotle BBQ—were all good so we split an order of 10 ($10.25) with half Blueberry Chipotle and half Sweet Chili Asian Garlic. The wings were crunchy, meaty and altogether terrific.

PIP is always a soup guy, so he tried the Papas Loco Crazy Potato Soup ($5) with smoked Tasso ham and Portuguese piri piri sauce. “This soup’s got a great peppery kick to it,” he commented. “You should try it!” he urged, knowing I find potato soup to be bland and boring most of the time. He was right. This was a potato soup with a lot more pizzazz than I expected. Having sampled pleasing soup and appetizers, we were both hoping Eastwood Grill would be able to deliver with our entrees.

That’s my jam

Eastwood’s menu has a range of options, from sandwiches, salads and burgers to entrees featuring items like fish, pasta and steaks. Their selection of 1/2-pound burgers caught my attention, with the Bacon Jam Burger ($10) sounding like a winner. Topped with white cheddar, green onion, garlic lemon aioli, lettuce, tomato, onion and, of course, house-made bacon jam, this promised a winning combination of flavors. The burger arrived on a nicely toasted bun loaded with all the fixin’s. The combination was tasty, though I would have liked a little more garlic aioli to better foil the assertiveness of the jam. On the side, I opted for the corn casserole, a heaping mound which proved to be more dry and bready and less custardy than I imagined, but still tasty and quite filling with a burger.

Top chop

PIP tried the Pork Chop ($14), described as a 12-ounce porterhouse chop with Angry Orchard apple cider sauce. It took up most of the plate, crowding a scoop of whipped potatoes and a brightly colored jumble of fresh green beans. Apples and pork are a classic and winning combination with the cider glaze finishing the dish. And finish the dish is exactly what PIP did, hardly leaving a forkful for me. Everything on the plate was well prepared, from the texture of the potatoes to the freshness of the vegetables to the outstanding pork chop. “I think this is the best pork chop I’ve eaten!” pronounced PIP, and I was hard-pressed to disagree.

Upper crust

Though I had eaten my share of sugar from the dates and the sweet bacon jam on my burger, I still had to have dessert. Usually a resister, PIP joined me after learning the pies were made in-house. Pecan was his pie of choice, while mine was apple. Both pies were a mere $2.99. I can honestly say I can’t remember having a better piece of apple pie, with the thin flaky crust and streusel topping crowned with ribbons of caramel drizzles. PIP was equally pleased with the pecan, noting that the level of sweetness was not cloying, but exactly right.

What didn’t seem exactly right was the bill when it arrived. Our total was $69.15. That was for two drinks, two appetizers, a soup, two entrees and two desserts. “That can’t be right!” exclaimed PIP, but in fact it was, happily leading us to conclude that Eastwood American Grill and Tavern was indeed the find of the day!

Eastwood American Grill is located at 4230 East National Rd., US 40 in Springfield. For more information please call 937.323.8000 or visit eastwoodgrill.com.

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.

Tags: , ,

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.

No comments yet.

Leave a Reply

Got an Opinion?

YourOpinionMatters

We are interested to hear what you think.  Please send us a message. [contact-form 4 “Opinion”]  

Springfield’s hidden gem

CoverHartman2

Referred to as an American Folk Art site, I didn’t know what I expected on my journey to Springfield’s Hartman […]

Debate 7/17: Flag on the Play

DebateBok

Q: Should persons with certain known behavioral tendencies such as suicide or violence be prohibited from owning guns? Legislatures across […]

Conspiracy Theorist 7/17: Hooray for Domino’s

Year after year, the same roads are torn up and road crews patch them. But they never really repair them. […]

On Your Marc 7/17: Good any day

First, a funny story. Larry Lee, the big tackle from Roth High School, for a number of reasons decided he […]

The Cult, Stone Temple Pilots, and Bush at Rose

CULT 2016 Tim Cadiente-2

“Rock and roll never forgets,” the classic rock song goes, and Billy Duffy, guitarist and founding member of the British […]