|By Joe Torok|
Dessert is a high point for new dance club/restaurant
Bar 30, which is Eastwood Towne Center’s newest addition, has the look and feel of a dance club, with its metallic decor, amoeba-patterned chairs and dance floor flanked by a fully stocked bar. While I’m sure there’s plenty of eye candy on that dance floor in the wee hours, I went for lunch looking to be impressed with what showed up on the plate. Turns out there’s good news for those who like to both cut a rug and break bread.
On my visit, my dining companion and I found ourselves at a table overlooking the bar and dance space. The decor is modern, clean and eclectic. Mesh-metal partitions, scratched-metal tables and dark wood floors populate one end of the restaurant, while mauve walls, silver booth-bench seating and black tables offer a more dining-friendly area further removed from the buzz.
All was quiet on our early afternoon visit. Our server suggested the lunch specials, which we jumped on — Philly steak and cheese for my companion, a Reuben for me — and decided to add an appetizer as well. We went with the mussels, which were sautéed with garlic and olive oil and served with roasted tomatoes, peppadew peppers and herbs.
The mussels were unspectacular, but the sauce went a long way to saving them. I wanted to like the peppadew peppers — they usually add a spicy sweet kick — but the variety used in our dish was a touch heavy on the vinegar. The darkly toasted garlic bread, somehow both crispy and chewy, was a nice touch.
I ordered the cream of mushroom soup to accompany my sandwich, while my companion got a Caesar salad. The soup (homemade, we were told) had a rich, buttery texture and flavor underscored by little peppery wisps, and was chock full of onions and mushroom slivers. The lettuce was fresh in the Caesar salad, but its acidity was a bit too aggressive, and the cheese looked and tasted like it came from a bag.
The Philly steak and cheese sandwich was just fine without a lot of frills. The bread was thick and fresh, a good start, but the beef had little seasoning, which might have been fine if the meat had more personality of its own right. I enjoyed the Reuben more. The distinctive rye bread mixed well with the mild sauerkraut. Layers of corned beef bound those unique flavors together, and a touch of Thousand Island dressing added a touch of moisture and flavor.
The dessert menu had the spirit of a freak show: deep-fried Twinkies, battered and deep-fried Snickers bars and chocolate covered bacon. We decided to try one of the less ostentatious options: the homemade doughnuts — and boy oh boy, were we glad we did.
The doughnuts (actually, what other places would call doughnut holes) came to our table still warm and with the aroma of a county fair. They were coated with cinnamon and crunchy crystals of sugar, and served next to a shallow dish of chocolate sauce. We wished there had been a bit more raspberry sauce, which was used as a garnish — it added a touch of tartness that softened the onslaught of sweet. Nevertheless, this is a dessert I would come back for all by itself.
All in all, we spent around $30 for far too much to eat, but we could have had a nice lunch for two without spending more than $20 if we’d wanted to. If you decide to make the trip to Bar 30, be forewarned that the later the evening gets, the louder the place thumps. It’s a hot spot for those looking to mingle, shimmy and drink. A quiet Friday evening is not on the menu here, but if you’re looking for a good bite to eat, or even just a nightcap and something sweet, Bar 30 has that, too.