We decided to go out to eat tonight, and I laughed when my wife looked at me and said, "are you thinking what I'm thinking?" So we ended up at Bearden Hill Fieldhouse for the second night in a row. Yes, we liked it that much. While I enjoy eating at our regular spots, having a completely new restaurant to try is something uncommon enough that I was happy to return to try out some different dishes.
We tried a different appetizer tonight, the hummus plate. It was very good, if a bit pricey at $7.95. Next time I'll let our server know we don't need the Kalamata olives. This was obviously fresh-made hummus, easily as good as any I've had at any restaurant in Knoxville, with the possible exception of Holy Land Market. The pita was great as well - slightly warm and very soft. I don't know who decided pita served with hummus was supposed to be crispy or tough, or maybe that's just what cheap mass-produced pita tastes like. The Fieldhouse does both hummus and pita right. I'd say it was as good as last night's Pickles & Pepper Rings, and I'd gladly order either one depending on my mood.
We had the pizza last night, and as good as it was, neither of us was in the mood for pizza again tonight. So my wife ordered the Chicken Tenders Basket ($9.95) and I ordered the Deep Fried Cornish Hen ($12.50). My dish came with a salad and side, and my wife added a house salad for $3.95 to her entree.
Here's a picture of my caesar salad. It was very good - not overly drowned in dressing, but also not too little. My wife's house salad was the same size and while she said it was a good salad, she also said it, "wasn't four dollars worth of salad." I'd have to agree, although I felt like the size of my salad was fine considering it accompanied my entree and side item for twelve bucks.
My wife enjoyed her chicken tenders. They were definitely homemade and hand-breaded, not the usual frozen store-bought crap most chain restaurants serve. The fries passed my "just crunchy enough without being greasy" test. I was allowed to sample one of the tenders and I thought it was very good - lightly spiced and very juicy. My wife is a chicken tenders fan, so I see her ordering this dish again.
I struggled over my choice of entree, wondering if I should try the interesting-sounding deep fried cornish hen or the 12 oz Angus ribeye. In the end, I let price be my guide, as I already knew I wanted to enjoy a bottle of cider with my meal, so I passed on the $23 ribeye. I'll try it in the future, and based on everything else I've tried so far, I'm sure I'll enjoy it. But tonight I ordered the deep friend cornish hen, and I have to say that, as far as being a whole cornish hen goes, it was pretty good. If that sounds like faint praise, I admit I'm not a big fan of working on my food to be able to eat it. I'm not sure what I expected from a "whole hen" but I was a little surprised to have to essentially tear it apart to eat it. So I made a little bit of a mess, and ended up getting some very hot grease on my fingers and my shirt. Still, setting aside my personal issue with ripping my food apart and making a mess, the chicken was awesome. I tried the skin, and a younger version of me probably would have eaten it all, but 42-year old me pulled most of it off. The meat was awesome, especially the breast - moist, tender, and just hot enough to steam as I pulled it off the bone. In fact, if I'd been served just the meat on a plate, I would have walked away calling it some of the best chicken I've ever had. As it is, I'm calling it some of the best chicken that I've ever had, but like crab and lobster, a little too much work for my tastes. I'm a little weird about that issue, though, so if you've had cornish hens and you don't blink and pulling legs and wings off, you'll be in for a treat.
As you can see in the picture, I chose Mac & Cheese as my side item. Yes, I could have gone for a more healthy choice like steamed broccoli or even Tabbouleh, which I love, but come one. I was ordered a deep fried whole hen - how could I not go for macaroni and cheese. The mac & cheese was very good. I could take or leave the cheddar cheese on top, but I know it's common to serve it that way. I think the macaroni and white cheese could have stood on its own, though, and I may ask for it that way next time. I'm a mac & cheese snob, and this ranks among my favorites in Knoxville. Just wish mac & cheese were as healthy as Tabbouleh. Oh well.
I ordered a bottle of Woodchuck hard cider to accompany my meal. It paired with the meal well overall, especially with the chicken. Given that the Fieldhouse boasts 169 bottled beers, however, I'm going to have a chat with the manager next time and suggest they could do so much better than Woodchuck. There's nothing wrong with Woodchuck, especially once you pour it into a glass and let it breathe, but I think the Fieldhouse would do better to offer something like Strongbow, or Original Sin, or (a guy can hope) Magners. I can buy Woodchuck at Kroger - that's all I'm saying.
I'll wrap this up by saying I got a chance to do a bit of people-watching tonight, and it was … interesting. I'd never seen anybody play video golf before, and having done so, I can't imagine doing it myself. The highlight of my people-watching, though, was watching an older gentleman play the hunting/shooting game. I've never paid much attention to these types of games - I'd go for Virtual Cop or Time Crisis myself. But it was fascinating to watch this older guy play this enormous glorified light-gun game, and he certainly looked like he was having a good time. I like to think I could have done better than him, especially on the bonus/side game that looked from where I was sitting like Duck Hunt but with pumpkins, but who knows - maybe my light-gun glory days are gone, never to return.
We had a great time at the Fieldhouse again tonight. Service was great, food was great. Folks behind us were a little chatty, but that's just my inner "get off my lawn" old guy starting to emerge.