NOTE: This restaurant is closed.
Totre’s Pub and Grub – Teays Valley, WV
“Totre’s” – what the hell is that?? Is it Italian? Spanish? or is it something from a J.R.R. Tolkien novel? I dont’ know.
I’ve seen this place from time to time, the unoriginal building, think “BOX” with the blacked out windows. Well I just thought this was Teays Valley’s strip bar, or some gray poker machine joint. You know the ones that have popped up everywhere since Bob Wise allowed that scourge into the state. Nevertheless that’s a rant for a different blog.
But really, I wouldn’t know what this place is. You can’t read the sign from the interstate. So who knew?
I guess this is mostly a bar… there are some tables for dining, I didn’t venture up near the bar but there were some TV’s and stuff.. Sports bar I’m thinking. But also several dart boards, and the gray poker machines.
Upon entering, the first smell is the lingering affects of a smoking establishment. Although it wasn’t bad, I’m sure on a crowded night, it’s probably horrendous. Come on Putnam County, get with the program.
Well, after being seated, we ordered a drink, and browsed the menu – mostly bar food, sandwiches and sides. I went with the Philly Steak Sandwich, and Susan went with the fish sandwich after hearing about this place from a reader’s recommendation.
Well both sandwiches were large, and I was pleasantly surprised by the amount of fries I got, and the size of the sandwich. Susan will complain about her bun being too large, but this is the hypocrisy of women… You see Susan loves the Chicken Sandwich at the Bluegrass Kitchen.. Ladies and Gents… both sandwiches have the same Bread to Meat ratio.. Heck Totre’s probably has more meat. But one situation is good, and the other isn’t? Why is that?
Once Lindsay brought our sandwiches out, I asked her about some A1 – as I like A1 on my sandwiches, but they didn’t have any. None, zippo, zilch. ZERO A1 on site. Immediately I’m thinking Two Forks… Not going to complain about the size of my bun, I will have to say that my Philly sandwich was probably the blandest cheesesteak sandwich I’ve ever had. The A1 situation didn’t help, but I just kept dumping salt on mine. I don’t know how they could make such a bland sandwich… Cheese, Steak, Bread, Peppers, everything but the flavor.
However the fries were awesome, very crispy, a few of the larger ones could have cooked longer. Plus there were plenty of them.
Both the fries and sandwich were at a great price point quantity wise. Definitely something for you to check out. Maybe my taste buds are fried from all the spicy food I eat. But if you like this sandwich, you’ll love the price and quantity.
Service – or lack there of… Lindsay must have been suffering from too much second hand smoke inhalation, and she should sue the owners for damages… as she was very polite and friendly, just not very prompt. She chatted with everyone, and even if the conversation was enjoyable, well I’m sure when she was chatting with us, someone was waiting for a beer. Susan even had to go track her down for the bill.
I have to say, I’ll eat here again… maybe they’ll have some happy hour specials to check out. My food was good, and I have to say I’ll give them Three Forks, as really my experience was just average and well it’s what I expected. (Remember they lost a fork due to no A1, but they gained a fork due to the portions and price that nets out so I give them average)
In response to two recommendations by readers, I offered to buy Ron’s dinner if he would pick me up and take me to Totre’s. He accused me of just “using” him for work purposes but I assured him I didn’t want to dine with him for work – work implies that you are getting paid….which I am not. (Note to self: figure out how to make some money with this hobby…then I could increase my shoe/handbag budget.)
I had to point the place out to him a few days prior as we got off the interstate on our way home. The outside just looks like a big, gray box. There is no professional lighted sign or anything, just a banner to let you know their name. I still don’t know how to pronounce it, though.
I knew they allowed smoking (hopefully they will follow Kanawha County’s lead) and I don’t really care for a side of secondhand smoke with my sandwiches. The inside is large with a high ceiling and is sort of separated into two sections, without walls. There is an area when you first come in with lots of dining tables and then a small step up brings you into what I would label “the bar”. We thought it was neat, but could still use some interior decorating help. The bathroom was very nice and boasted metallic gold paint on the wall. You don’t see that everywhere you go.
The menu was pretty extensive for pub food – two sides of a laminated piece of paper. I specifically came to try the fish sandwich and had my choice of steak fries, waffle fries or onion strands. Now if onion RINGS had been an option, I would have gotten those, but since it was just the strands, I went with steak fries. Another research oportunity. This meal is priced at $5.99.
They were out of Michelob Ultra draft. It sticks in my craw when a place is out of something. Since many places don’t even have my favorite beer on draft I decided to reel in the redheaded temper and just take the bottle. It is commonplace for Ron to drink a beer faster then the server expects and he has to wave the empty glass around to get a refill. It is unusual when I am finished and waiting…but I had to wait on #2.
The sandwich was big, at least the bread was – a footlong sub bun sliced in half and laid flat made the top and bottom of the sandwich. The piece of fish looked okay, but wasn’t enough for a proper fish:bread ratio, so I used only half the bread. I requested lettuce on mine and I noted shredded iceberg, but it was brown. There was a small container of coleslaw and a small container of tartar sauce as well. I do not not like either of those due to mayo content so I cannot comment on their flavor. The sandwich was just okay. The fish was okay but it had a pasty feel when you chewed it up- something about the breading or the way it was cooked. I don’t know the cause, but it didn’t thrill me. The bread was just okay, also. It was very lightly toasted and I prefer more toasting, hopefully with a slather of butter. And then the lettuce added nothing since it was old. I ate all the fish with half the bread and I was full. That’s really all the bread needed for that sandwich.
My sandwich and sides took up most of the basket so my steak fries arrived in a separate red plastic basket lined with waxed paper. The portion was generous and they were hot right out of the fryer. The fries are large wedges of potatoes with the orangey seasoning sprinkled on them. The seasoning didn’t really add much flavor so I guess it was mostly for color. I added additional salt and asked for ketchup in the midst of Ron’s whining around about the absence of A-1. For steak fries (not my favorite style), they were pretty good. If given a little more time to fry, they would have reached optimal crispiness and hopefully avoided the few fatter ones that didn’t get cooked through. That’s tough when they are not all a uniform thickness. There were so many fries in my basket, I couldn’t eat them all. (If they had been Steak Escape fries, however, I would have consumed them somehow.)
By this time, we had made friends with Lindsey and she was chatting with us about all the different types of music and specific bands she likes. She and Ron were naming songs off albums of groups I had never even heard of. The only problem with that is that she was chatting with all the customers to the point that it was compromising the service. When I look back on it, some poor dude was probabaly waiting on another beer while we were talking. When you work in a place that serves alcohol, you can earn larger tips by KEEPIN’ ‘EM COMIN’. And the really funny thing is that Ron gave her a card when she brought the food. I wish he wouldn’t do that. It totally ruins the secretive nature of our mission and can compromise objectivity. Well, not in this case! You’d think she would have been extra careful to provide great service knowing we were critiquing the restaurant. We had to wait a really long time to get our check – in fact, I went to the bar to chase her down.
Overall, this is not a bad place to hang out in the Valley. I wish there was no smoking because even though it was okay at first, by the time we left (10 ish), smoke was starting to hang in the air when more people had filled the bar area. Decent food, good value. THREE FORKSTotre’s Pub & Grub 100 Clubhouse Drive Teays Valley, WV