Being that it was the day after Thanksgiving and Black Friday, I was reluctant to relinquish the comfortable spot on the couch that I had been cultivating all day. And even though we had gorged ourselves the previous day, we still had to eat.
We found our way to Ashland with some friends upon their recommendation for a tasty burger. On the main drag, tucked in the corner of a shopping plaza, lies the Ashland Ale House. Given the relatively large restaurant front, I was surprised to see that despite its large appearance, the Ale House was quite homey inside. The bar’s location in the middle of the restaurant as well as the decor on brightly decorated walls made you feel at home.
Ashland Ale House’s menu offers anything from traditional burgers and sandwiches to steak tips and a wide array of seafood to comfort food classics such as meatloaf and prime rib. Given that I was there for a burger, I didn’t stray too much further than their burger selection. I had narrowed it down to two burgers, so I asked the resident expert for advice – our friendly server. Almost instantaneously, she offered her feedback between my two choices and together we settled on the Pistol Pete’s Smoke Stack Burger ($11.99). This particular choice promised melted cheddar cheese, applewood smoked bacon, smoky chipotle barbecue sauce, and a stack of onion straws. Among the variety of sides (fries, sweet potatoes fries, tots or Mac salad), I clearly chose tots. Because, hello?! Tots!
Probably the most impressive thing about this burger was the shock value when the server finally brought the burger to the table for service. This burger had to have been easily 8-10 inches tall with onion straws piled as high as the eye could see. My buttery brioche bun glistened under the lights of the table as I tried to figure out the best way to attack this monster. I eventually had to squash the onion straws down as best I could, assume the Guy Fieri-hunch-position and do everything short of unhinging my jaw like an anaconda to get my mouth around the burger. After the first couple bites of struggling for air, I decided to remove some of the onion straws to make my dining experience slightly more manageable.
The best part of the burger was most likely the bacon and the chipotle barbecue sauce. The bacon provided crunchy, porky texture and the sauce added a subtle heat that left me wanting more. I did find the burger to be slightly overcooked and under seasoned. Normally, a nice medium or even medium rare preparation (depending on the restaurant – shout out to you, Bull Mansion!) will suffice, and this was closer to the realm of medium-well. I think the sheer magnitude of onion straws made a lack of seasoning more pronounced. Not just with salt, but possibly chili powder to kick up the heat and compliment the BBQ sauce and bacon. The tots were deliciously crunchy and definitely brought me back to childhood.
The Ashland Ale House is a quirky little joint near the train tracks in Ashland that provides a quality pub style environment and offers enough variety to keep you coming back time and again to try something new. I personally would love to go back and order the Pancho Vill Burger. And, while the holidays tend to be hectic, don’t forget that you still have to eat. If you have a favorite burger that you want me to review, don’t forget to tweet me at @EDioufUC5 or leave a comment on Facebook and your recommendation might be my next spot.