Cruise through Lamp & Lantern Village’s upper parking lot and you’ll likely smell smoke – sweet hickory smoke – coming from The Country Club Bar & Grill.
Owner Jon Cain and Chef Chris Bintz have worked together to create a new summer menu that’s really smoking – as in smoked meats and fish, alongside the restaurant’s established roster of burgers, steaks and entrées. And they’re not just smoking, they’re also custom seasoning and marinating each item, including their popular chicken wings.
“We’ve had tremendous success with our chicken wings. People love them,” said Cain. “The chicken wings are marinated in our chef’s secret recipe – a recipe that I don’t even know.”
To get the lowdown, Bintz was called on from the kitchen, but he provided only a few tantalizing details.
“It’s just a basic rub featuring brown sugar that we massage into the wings that turns into an instant marinade,” Bintz explained. “We let them set a while before we smoke them for three to four hours. We then finish the wings in the fryer to crisp the skin. Frying mellow outs the smoke, so they’re not overpowering.”
The result is a moist, tender wing with just the right amount of smokiness. The same subtle smoking approach is given to the salmon filets, a highlight of the summer menu. Each handcut salmon filet is rubbed with a sugar-and-salt seasoning mix before lightly smoking for about 45 minutes. The result is perfection that is chilled and plated with pickled red onions and a lemon caper cream with crostini. It’s a heavenly dish salmon lovers will die for.
Slow-smoked brisket and pastrami also are earning stars among the other summer additions, such as the oftentimes Friday special – Smoked Prime Rib. It’s not offered every Friday, but nonetheless, it’s a definite winner for those lucky enough to catch it. Cain suggests calling ahead to check on its availability.
Enhancing the new summer menu are the bar’s new summer rollouts.
On the wine list is Prosecco, a slightly sweet sparkling Italian wine, which is planned for use in cocktails such as Sparkling Raspberry Lemonade. There also are summertime shandys [beer mixed with fruit juices, sodas or citrus juices] in addition to The Country Club’s traditional beer taps – 11 taps featuring everything from craft brews to Bud Light.
When discussing the differences and choices customers have for food and drink, Cain is quick to credit The Country Club’s commitment to quality.
“Everyone has a Bud Light, but it’s the food that distinguishes you from the other guy. That’s what makes the difference and keeps people coming back,” he said.
The Country Club’s signature burgers – the Juicy Lucy and the off-the-menu Jon Burger [available on Saturdays from 11 a.m.-5 p.m.] – are two standouts that give witness to Cain’s claim.
At The Country Club, burgers are done right.
One can expect burgers will be dressed generously. And if there’s bacon on that burger or sandwich, you’ll taste it because it’s thick cut. No skimpy thin-sliced rashers will ever be tolerated. Even the entrees are a cut above featuring prime steaks, wild caught salmon and quality chicken that’s transformed into the restaurant’s top seller – its flavorful Chicken Spiedini. Enjoy it on The Country Club’s patio or in its main dining room; both are comfy spots to kick back and enjoying the neighborhood.
“This is what we are – a nice neighborhood bar with good food in a nice neighborhood,” Cain said. “We love seeing our customers enjoying themselves and the food.”