Scotty's Brewhouse poses the question: how many sporting events can a person watch at the same time? While, of course, eating from an encyclopedic menu of quality pub food. And quaffing from an epic selection of draft and bottled beers, with plenty of wines and cocktails near at hand by way of back-up.
The first thing you notice about Scotty's (downtown at 1 Virginia Ave.; north at 3905 E. 96th St.) is its extravagant deployment of flatscreen video displays. Banks of giant screens are angled from the ceiling featuring games from various arenas. Our booth had a notebook-size screen of its own, preset to a sports channel. It was like an homage to those diners of yore that equipped each table with its own pocket jukebox, but without the Top 40. Even Scotty's restrooms are wired. Women in our party said their stalls came with screens attached.
Since none of us had money on a game, we were glad to find we could readily switch our booth's screen off, the better to concentrate on our food and each other.
Scotty's is a convivial place; the Downtown room was packed on a Tuesday night. My guess is that they draw a lot of regulars who know exactly what they want; our server seemed surprised that it took us awhile to navigate the hefty menu.
We started with a half-size Chop Chop salad ($5.25) and an order of Beer Battered Onion Rings ($9.75). The salad was a cool and tasty mix of iceberg and romaine lettuce, tomatoes, purple onions, eggs, mushrooms, bleu cheese and bacon crumbles. It was a nice intro to the onion rings, (onion cones, really) flavorful strips encased in a well-balanced batter and served with a super, mustard-based dipping sauce.
About that sauce: Scotty'scalls it mo 'fo mustard. One taste of this delightful dip actually tells you a lot about what Scotty's has figured out about its customers' tastebuds. The sauce has an uncanny way of being sweet and spicy in equal proportions without tilting too heavily one way or the other. This turned out to be a theme.
Our table ordered the Grilled Tilapia Fish Tacos ($12), the Chipotle Black Bean Burger ($7), Bar-B-Q Pulled Pork Sandwich ($9.75) and the Sourdough Turkey Club ($10.75).
Sweet and spicy accents featured to varying degrees in every case, with spicy taking the driver's seat with the burger (a special that was well-charred), sweet holding forth with the Bar-B-Q (blurring the taste of the pork). The tacos, which combined marinated tilapia with cole slaw and crunchy blue corn tortilla strips wrapped in honey wheat tortillas, took two hands to manage. It's no wonder they give you a good-size towel at this place, instead of a napkin. As for that Turkey Club, it looked like a preview of Thanksgiving dinner.
Scotty's also offers a wider than usual array of sides. The Yukon Gold Garlic Mashed Potatoes were especially good, as were the Bourbon Street Black Beans and Cajun Dirty Rice. The Wedge Fries, more dry than crispy, paled by comparison.
Scotty'soffers ribs and steaks for bigger appetites; plenty of snack options and burgers with an almost dumbfounding variety of extras. With food like this and all those screens, Scotty's is the perfect place to train for that Super Bowl in 2012.