Bluegrass Kitchen – East End, Charleston, WV
Bluegrass Kitchen is one of the few lunch spots we frequent where I will throw the Carb Diet out the window without a second thought. I LOVE the crusty bread they use for the Perfect Chicken Sandwich. I must disagree with Dan (see his comments below) about its perfectness. There is a good amount of chicken breast, tomato, Swiss cheese, bacon, spring greens and sundried tomato mayo on this creation. Since I like to choke my sandwiches down dry, I never get the mayo. Actually mayo and eggs make me want to gag just from thinking about eating them. They are my two least favorite foods. Unless the eggs are in cake, of course. Have you ever ordered a sandwich without the mayo and then tried to scrape it off? Doesn’t work, my friends. The mayo residue is still there, ruining your bread. I digress…
Here are the things I love about the Perfect Chicken Sandwich at Bluegrass. 5) It is a big sandwich. I don’t need to eat the chips to feel full with this one. I do appreciate that you get chips, however, unlike Delish down the street (they charge more for the sandwich, give you 3 micro lettuce leaves, and no chips). I don’t feel bad about paying $7.25 for a huge sandwich and a bag of kettle chips. 4) The chicken is roasted, not breaded. This is important to people who like to eat out but don’t want to weigh 500 pounds. It is seasoned with just enough lemon and thyme to offer flavor, but not overpowerment. 3) There is a mountain of spring greens on this sandwich. Literally a mountain. Not like Everest, that would be crazy, but like Spruce Knob. It may seem like an odd thing to mention, especially at #3 on my list, but I love the big pile of greens you get. It adds crunch, color and makes the sandwich look so much bigger when it comes out of the kitchen screaming “I am so perfect!”. 2) That crusty French bread. OMG. It is so good. It is thick, hot, and has just the right amount of crispness to make the bread worthy of the components. And the #1 thing I love about the perfect chicken sandwich is 1) the mystery of the upside-down bread. This was a turn-off to me the first time I ordered it and I tried flipping the pieces right-side up. Now that I have eaten what is nearing dozens of these Perfect Chicken Sandwiches, I have a special place in my heart for that strange sandwich construction. Why did they do it that way? Whose idea was it? Could this have been a publicity stunt???
Aside from this particular sandwich, there are several other things on the menu I enjoy. The Greek Burrito (add chicken) and the Asparagus Blue Cheese Sandwich, which is now a regular menu item, come in second and third in my opinion. I need not say anything else about the asparagus sandwich because Misty shamelessly gushes over it in her reveiw below. I will try the Buffalo Chicken Sandwich in the future – also a new item.
It’s great that we can walk to Bluegrass from the Capitol. My service is rarely bad, but I do hope we are lucky enough to be seated in Eileen’s section because she takes great care of us and knows what we want before we say it. The soda prices are great at the $1.25 price point. The interior decor is nice with a high, tin-stamped ceiling and a beautiful crystal chandelier. They display original works of art around the left-hand wall. I like that the decor always changes a bit when a new artist is shown. Keeps things fresh.
The Perfect Chicken Sandwich
Oh, how I love the asparagus blue cheese sandwich. Because this item used to be a special at the Bluegrass Kitchen and because I loved it so much, I used to call them every morning at 11:00 a.m. (If you call before 11:00, they may not know what the specials are for the day yet. Yes, it is sad that I know this.) And, if the asparagus blue cheese sandwich was one of the specials the waitress on the other end of the phone would hear a cheer and all the lunch crew knew that we were going to Bluegrass that day. Then, a Co-worker, who knows how much I love this sandwich, stopped by to tell us that it was now a permanent fixture on the menu. Needless to say, we went the next day.
I got the asparagus blue cheese sandwich again. And, it was just as yummy as ever. I like to get mine on Ciabatta bread (which is a $.50 up charge- but I think it is worth it) that is perfectly toasted. The cheese- how do I describe the cheese…It is melty and creamy and if you are lucky, it drips out when you eat it. The crunchy chips that come with the sandwich are perfect for scooping up the cheese drippings and an occasional asparagus that may fall out of your sandwich. And even if a few pieces fall out, there are still plenty left on the sandwich…you always have nicely trimmed asparagus and cheese in every bite. The only slightly negative thing I could say is that the asparagus was a little overcooked for my taste. I like my asparagus mildly crunchy and these only had a slight crunch. But, I am being very picky here. This sandwich is awesome! In fact, I am going to keep this post short and not talk about any other points of the meal/restaurant, just so the focus will be only on this sandwich. I give the Bluegrass Kitchen- FIVE Forks!
Asparagus Blue Cheese Sandwich
I tend to tolerate this place. It’s not my favorite, but not because of any bad food experiences, rather because of the limited menu. I’m not a health food junkie, vegetarian or vegan, and fancy cheeses and expensive lettuce don’t do it for me. That being said, I’ve never had a bad meal, but you can only cycle between the BLT and the tuna salad so many times. I’ve never found the perfect chicken to be so, (it’s a little too dry for my tastes) and the large meatballs on the meatball grinder always seemed a little too much for lunch. So I embraced the new menu and ordered the meatloaf sandwich. I tried to suggest to the waitress that a smaller portion would be acceptable, but got the large slice anyway. It’s against my religion to leave anything on my plate, (due to having had years of the starving Ethiopian story drilled into my head) so I left with a very stuffed feeling. The sandwich was very good, the meatloaf very tasty with a slight, but not overpowering ‘ketchppy’ taste. The ciabatta bread was very soft (a bonus in my book) and the cheese portion was just right. The coke was coke, the side was a bag of chips and the rating is a 3.5 forks. I know-no halfs-so make it a THREE. Cost is in the mid to high range, I think around $8.
When the “five’ started walking in the opposite direction of our cars I knew where we were headed. I said, “Bluegrass Kitchen?” and got a positive response and off we went. When we arrived there was one table available, it was cleaned promtly, and we were seated. As we were passed the menu we all commented on several new menu items items (or at least new to us) including the Beefsteak Portobello Sandwich and Muenster & Pesto Grilled Cheese. Eileen came over and took Ben’s, Misty’s and Susan’s drink orders by memory and addressed Susan by name. I was impressed, because over the passed two years I have yet to get great service at the BK. The food has always been good and on my last visit I got the meatloaf sandwich and it was exceptional. Yes, I realize it was only a meatloaf sandwich, but it is yummy. Eileen knew we were ready to give our food order so took it at the same time she got our drink order.
I ordered the new Buffalo Chicken Sandwich on the Blue Monday Bread supplied by the Charleston Bread. They take the chicken from the “Not So” Perfect Chicken (my words) and marinate it in their “Bog’ sauce, which is a pleasantly spicy traditional wing sauce. Then some tangy sliced green olives are added along with fresh red ripe tomatoes, and a pile of baby romaine. Finally, a nice portion of blue cheese crumbles finishes off the flavor profile of this sandwich masterpiece. It is served with a bag of sea salt chips. Needless to say this sandwich will make you thirsty.
You can tell by the photo below that I thought this sandwich was nasty! OK, it was great for $6.95! The service was great, and I wish I would have had room for dessert so I could have tried the lemon pound cake with blueberry sauce. This was the best lunch I’ve had in a while. The only problem with today and everyday at BK is that it is so noisy. So I can’t in good conscience give BK a perfect rating. So today Bluegrass Kitchen gets FOUR FORKS.
1602 Washington St E
Charleston, WV 25311