Saturday, January 17, 2009

Opa Opa Steakhouse & Brewery - Running on Country Time

Mr. ValleyWriter was about fed up with the soup/soft food diet, so I decided to throw caution to the wind and suggested we try out Opa Opa Steakhouse & Brewery in Southampton for lunch since we had a gift certificate to go there.

When we arrived, the first thing we noticed walking up to the restaurant was the fairly loud, twangy country music. I guess it's to be expected at a steakhouse with a cowboy in the logo, but it did make us think twice about whether we were sure we wanted to do this (Mr. ValleyWriter & I both have an intense aversion to twangy country music). We decided to brave it and fortunately, the music was much quieter as soon as we stepped inside the door of the restaurant.

The decor matched the country theme - dark walls, a rustic knotty wood bar, bathrooms labeled "outhouse," etc. Surprisingly enough though, the tables are set with linen napkins and goblet water glasses, so I guess you'd call this high falutin' country-kitch.

For lunch, they had both the full regular menu and a lunch specials menu. They had everything from soup and salad to a 12 oz. steak to a vegetarian sandwich. They also offer a full selection of their locally brewed beer. As we looked over the menu, I kept thinking I'd better figure out what I wanted to drink before the server came. But by the time she finally did, we had long decided on not only our drinks, but also an appetizer and our main meals.

Mr. ValleyWriter had the Honest 47 beer and a hamburger and I ordered a pulled pork sandwich. We shared an order of buffalo wings for an appetizer. The server went off to place our order and returned shortly with the drinks. I had just a sip of Mr. ValleyWriter's beer (I'm not allowed to have much alcohol due to my RA meds) and I thought it was very nice. A nice hoppy flavor, yet still smooth and light.

The appetizer came out in about 15 minutes. We had ordered the "5 alarm" buffalo wings, and while these were nicely spiced, I wouldn't call them insanely hot or 5 alarm. They were well cooked and well spiced and tasted great with the blue cheese dressing and celery sticks on the side.

The wait between our appetizer and lunch seemed a bit on the long side, especially since we hadn't seen our server since she brought the first round of drinks (someone else brought the appetizer). My pulled pork sandwich came on Texas toast (thickly sliced white bread) with sliced tomatoes and mixed greens, along with a side of thick cut steak fries. Mr. ValleyWriter's burger had cheese, tomatoes and lettuce, again with a side of the steak fries.

My pulled pork was perfectly smothered in a sweet and slightly tangy BBQ sauce and was melt-in-your-mouth tender. It was so saucy that it turned the bottom piece of Texas toast a bit soggy, but I just took off the top piece of bread and ate it like an open faced sandwich. Mr. ValleyWriter's burger was cooked medium, just as ordered and tasted like it'd been cooked over an open flame - not just an industrial kitchen griddle. It had that special charbroiled crunch around the edges that brings me back to 4th of July cookouts. The steak fries were excellent - crispy on the outside and soft and tender on the inside.

We managed to finish most of our plates, but we were stuffed! We knew we wouldn't want dessert, so we were just chatting and waiting for the check. And waiting. And waiting. A good 15 minutes after we'd completely finished our lunch, pushed our plates away and put our napkins on the table, the server reappeared to ask us how everything was and if we needed anything else.

So what's the bottom line with Opa Opa? My opinion is that stepping into Opa Opa is like going to the South, where everything moves a little slower. The food is good and the pacing would probably be good for a dinner date or a night out with friends, but it was a little on the slow side for lunch (in total, we were there for about 1 1/2 hours). We have some money left over on our gift certificate, so I think we'll save it for the summer when they have outside dining. They can take all the time in the world if I can bask in the sun and sip on a nice cool beer (hopefully by then I'll be allowed!).

No comments: