Steppin’ Out – Grizzly’s Pub & Grub, six miles east of Somerset

Even though I had read a bit about this new restaurant that has only been open since November, I really didn’t know what to expect. Well, I was both surprised and delighted. This place and its owner are treasures.

Grizzly’s Pub and Grub is at 8331 Grizzly Flat Road at its intersection with Sweeney Road. Yes, where Peart’s Place used to be, just six miles east of Somerset.

When we arrived I immediately noticed that a lot of work had been done to the place and it looked good. The owner, Leanne Aalmo, delightfully greeted me and my friend, Mike Long, and then, to our delight, started on a list of what we HAD to try.

Helping her that day was Terri, and in the kitchen, preparing our food, was Amanda.

“You have to try ‘The Baloo,’ as a burger” started Leanne, “it has our homemade balsamic, bacon, onion jam on it that you will love. It takes two hours to make a cup of it. Also, you need to try ‘The Mountain,’ with my house smoked tri-tip. It is very popular, so popular that I used to smoke eight tri-tips a week and now do fifteen.

“Like all our speciality sandwiches, those two come with a choice of side or half an appetizer,” she continued. “I’ll bring you a mixture of fries and onion rings that we call ‘frings,’ some of our red potato salad, a sample of our sweet battered corn nuggets and some Cheddar cheese curds to go with it.”

“Cheese curds?” I asked. “They put those and brown gravy on fries in Canada. They call it ‘Poutain.’ I haven’t seen cheese curds locally. Do you make Poutain with them? ”

“We tried making it,” she said, “but we can only get breaded cheese curds from our supplier.

“Our fish and chips are sensational,” she continued, “ and so are our chicken breasts. I’ll get you a sample of those to try and wait until you taste our homemade tartar sauce on the fish. It is wonderful,” adding with a smile, “Is there anything else you want to try?” first pausing and then adding, “It is taco Tuesday. You probably can’t eat a whole taco, but I will bring you some taco meat to try.” It turned out to be delicious.

First to arrive was “The Baloo.” made with a half pound of Angus beef and the special jam, lots of blue cheese crumbles, fresh lettuce and a nice big tomato slice on an artisan bun. It was fantastic. The combination of good beef, blue cheese and her special jam gave it a delicious taste unlike any burger I had tried before.

“I season the meat with a special seasoning I have a friend bring me from a little store at South Lake Tahoe,” Leanne said. “That’s why the burger tastes so good.”

Next to arrive was our tri-tip “Mountain” sandwich. It came on a Hoagie roll that contained about an inch of meat and lots of grilled mushrooms and onions, all smothered in Swiss cheese. At first I thought it might need something to dress it up a bit, then the wonderful smoky flavor of the meat came through and I decided it was great just the way it was served. Again, a delicious, unique sandwich with an outstanding taste.
While we enjoyed the sandwiches, Mike and I tasted the fries, onion rings, chicken, corn nuggets and fried cheese curds.

With them she had brought us three dipping sauces: Ranch dressing and two homemade ones, chipotle aioli and blue cheese dressing, along with her own tartar sauce.

Mike immediately commented on the fries, onion rings and fish. “These crispy fries are great and the onion rings hold together so you don’t end up with a cooked onion and a hand full of empty breading. And you gotta try this fish. It is fantastic. It has just a thin coating on delicious fish (Alaskan Cod) that is great with or without their tartar sauce.”

As usual, I had to agree with him, adding that the chicken was also moist and tender. The fries and onion rings were hot, crisp and outstanding and the fish just the way I liked it too.

The cheese curds were good, but tasted more like mozzarella than cheddar, but then, I have never had them before. The corn nuggets were like my grandmother’s corn fritters and excellent with all the dipping sauces. Mike liked them so much that he nabbed the last one from in front of me when I turned to talk with Leanne.

While we were really enjoying the food, we asked her about here previous restaurant experience, believing anyone who could produce food this good must have been in the business for some time.

“Nope,” she said. “I drove a tow truck in Tahoe for thirty years. I just love good food and know other people will love it too. I shop around and only buy the best. If my regular suppliers don’t have it, I drive to where I can get it.

I was impressed.

The menu starts with quite a list of appetizers, including what we tried, along with fried zucchini sticks, Jalapeño poppers, mozzarella sticks, deep fried mushrooms, spicy cauliflower florets, salads and soup (seasonal). Specialties include the sandwiches we had along with “The Western” with sweet BBQ sauce, “Blackened” with Cajun seasoning and Chipotle Aioli, and three burgers, including a vegetarian, black bean burger. The sandwiches come with a choice of meat: chicken, Angus beef or tri-tip.

Other Favorites include a Grilled Cheese Basket, Fish and Chips Basket, Chicken Strips Basket, a grilled chicken breast sandwich on grilled Parmesan sourdough called “The Pioneer,” a BLT on the same grilled Parmesan sourdough called “The Big Ben,” “The Gold Rush,” a smoked tri-tip sandwich served cold and “The Miner,” an Alaskan cod fish filet sandwich with all the trimmings.

Yes, they are very family friendly, so there is a “Little Cubs Corner” kids menu.

To accompany your meal, lemon infused water, soda, domestic and import beer and wine by the glass. By the way, if you want to bring your own wine, there is no corkage. And, since the meals are large, no charge for an extra plate to split the meal.

“I hate it when they do that,” Leanne said, “That is why I don’t charge.”

Hours are from 11 until 9, Sunday through Thursday and 11 until ? on Saturday and Sunday. For more information, call (530) 303-2136. You can also get more information on their Facebook page.

“There are several thousand people living near and beyond here,” said Leanne. “Call in an order and pick up you food on your way home on a snowy, wet day or a day you just don’t feel like cooking. To-go orders are our specialty.”

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