Cold Beer and a Cool Breeze – Tomahawks

(Note: Since this review, Tomahawks has undergone a change in management. )

Ron says…

When Susan asked about titles for the post….. my first response was… “Scalped at Tomahawks”.  But like a woman, she didn’t like it.  Guess it made too much sense.

As Susan, mentions below ~ we stopped here after some soccer games, as now our dining experiences are turning more and more into research opportunities, instead of the casual dining experience.

So here we are, sitting on the deck enjoying a cold draft.  The beer wasn’t too expensive at $2.50 or at the least at that offensive price point that rubs me wrong.  So drinking that and glancing over the menu, nothing really jumps out.  This should have been taken as a sign, but because I wasn’t particularly hungry I brushed it off.

The last time I ate here probably four or five years ago ~ yeah I think they shut down for a period ~ they had a bunch of cajun items and such on the menu.  Alligator bites, and more.  This menu didn’t really have anything like that.  So I’m “assuming” that they no longer offer that. 

Fish, chips, sandwiches, burgers, salads, etc… you know the drill.

The table up above just recieved this mound of fish and fries, and I was like WOW, that looks good and our server, says it’s the four piece fish and fry dinner.  So Susan and I, decide to try that and place our order with intentions of splitting it.

I’m sitting there thinking this is perfect, for $10 dollars we are going to get more food than we could both eat.  From a distance it looked awesome.  I’m thinking of the review I’m going to write about another great place that makes the Tricky Fish look crappy, along with all the other expensive snooty places that can’t compare to good ol’ bar food.  I just had this shit eatin’ grin…   Luckily, I held my tongue, or I would be having my serving of crow.

The food comes out heaped and the plate is overflowing.   The fish was crispy, very much so.   The girls’ hamburgers or bunless patties, whichever you’d like to call them were all large and they had plenty of fries.  Unfortunately the fries were battered, and I’m typically not a fan of battered fries, and well after tasting some of these, I can say, that I’m no fan of the Tomahawk version.  Interesting idea, and I guess I applaud them for trying something different… but well, it’s kind of like doing a blue grass version of Slayer – Why, what’s the point?

The fish, as I said was crispy, and there was plenty of it.   Polluck we later found out…. Again, typically I’m not a fan of large fillets when I’m having fried fish…  I like them small, and to be able to eat them like finger food.  That’s me, and I won’t hold it against a place if they don’t see the same light as me.    But after about my half piece of this, something begins to nag at me.  There’s something funny to me about the taste of this beer battered fish.

Salty?  Too much salt? Is there vinegar in the batter?  There is just something not right.  The batter is too strong and overpowering.   I’m saying there’s too much salt in it for me ( whether it’s salt or not, I don’t know).  And listen peeps…. I salt salt.

We didn’t eat it all, unfortunately for all the wrong reasons.  I happen to notice the table that inspired our decision ~ well they didn’t eat all of theirs either.  Makes you wonder does it not?

The girls didn’t like their fries, can’t really say I blamed them… heck we had a question about what a particular piece was, I tasted it, and to be honest I couldn’t tell if it was potato or something else.

I didn’t taste them, but the girls’ burgers looked good…. the beer was cold… but our meal, well it just didn’t blow my skirt.

I’m giving Tomahawk’s the benefit of the doubt, and giving them Three Forks.  At first look I thought for sure with the quantity, for the price I was going to be giving out a four forker, however this isn’t the River’s Edge Cafe, and it showed.   The more I think about the fish taste, and it wasn’t the pollock it’s something in the batter… I think I could justify a two fork rating.  

This is just a place to come and hang out have a few beers and get a sandwich….  Keep It Simple and I think you will then have a great time… don’t expect much.  Service was good, prices were good, quantity was good….. but you may leave wanting more.

Three Forks….


four piece fish and chips

Susan says…

After the girls’ soccer on Saturday, we took advantage of the mild weather to enjoy lunch outdoors.  When we arrived, Hope said “we went here at the beach” – I suppose because the deck and the outdoor furniture reminded her of the beachy seafood shacks at St. Augustine.

At midafternoon we had our choice of almost all the tables and Hope picked one right by the railing.  She was fascinated with the deck on the water below us, asking over and over if she could go down there.  We saw a pile of something being delivered to the table next to us.  We inquired and learned it was the four-piece fish and chips.  I was planning to order the fish sandwich anyway so when Ron suggested we split that meal for $9.99, it wasn’t hard to talk me into it. 

There are some non-bar-ish entrees on the menu but they were priced too high for my consideration.  I am not going to shell out $18 at a bar for a meal.  I would bet the quality will not be worth the price.

Our beers were cold and service was prompt.  I think $3 a bottle for Mich Ultra is a bit high, IMO.  The little girls each ordered a grown-up hamburger and fries since there was no kids menu at $5.99 each.  I know, I know….it’s a biker bar Susan, why would they have a kids menu???  There were only three parties and two of them had children present.  What’s it hurt to offer a smaller size burger and a smaller portion of fries for a smaller price for smaller people?  It would be nice but I am not going to fault a bar for not having a kids menu.

Our food was big – a pile of beer-battered fish on top a pile of what looked like battered fries.  Immediately the children did not like the look or smell of the fries.  Hope insisted they tasted like fish and she wouldn’t eat them.  Hannah tried a few fries, excited that she was permitted to order this junk food, but didn’t like them, either.  She presented one to Ron, asking him if it was fish or french fry.  He told her “of course it’s a fry”, but when she insisted he taste it, he had to admit he wasn’t sure what it was. 

Wasn’t sure what it was???  The fries did not taste like potato.  With all the batter (or whatever) on the alleged potato sticks, the true flavor was completely lost.  And I think they fried them in the same vat as the fish and that’s why they had a fishy taste & smell.   You’d think with all the batter and the deep-frying, they’d be crispy.  But they weren’t.  These may very well be the worst fries I have ever tasted.  I picked out the crispiest ones I could find from all three plates and doused them in ketchup to make them edible.  I was intent on fries because I did not like the taste of the fish much more.

I can’t really put my finger on the offensive element of the fish – I just plain didn’t like it.  And I am a fish lover.  It was strongly flavored and salty and I wasn’t crazy about it being polluck.  I asked if they made the fish on-site and our waitress “thought” they made the beer batter at Tomahawks.  This was my least favorite fish in the area.

plenty of toppings are available but Hannah prefers her burgers completely plain

Another couple arrived and ordered onion strings, which looked much better than the fries and I regretted not ordering onion strings with one of the girls’ meals.  We had a box full of fries leftover that Ron brought home for the dog. 

Someone in a chef’s coat came around but I thought it was best just to smile and keep my mouth shut since I didn’t want the girls to think I was a mean person.  Besides, maybe other people like it and it’s merely a matter of personal taste.  We did get a lot of food for the money and both the girls really liked their burgers.   Like mother, like daughter I guess – Hannah choked her burger down dry…no ketchup, even.

I would not choose to come back for a meal.  I would, however, love to come back on another pretty day to enjoy drinks on the deck and feel the breeze coming off the river.  It was very relaxing.  Or perhaps come back for some live music in the evening without the little ones.

ONE FORK for food purposes.

Tomahawks Smokehouse and Saloon
5930 MacCorkle Avenue
St. Albans, WV
Tomahawks Smokehouse & Saloon on Urbanspoon

4 responses to “Cold Beer and a Cool Breeze – Tomahawks

  1. Ron was obviously drunk when he wrote this, or he wouldn’t have given them three forks. He didn’t like his food…how can that earn three?

    He said “after tasting some of these [fries], I can say, that I’m no fan of the Tomahawk version”

    He also said “There’s something funny to me about the taste of this beer battered fish.”

    Tell me, how do these comments add up to three forks?

  2. When I ate there several weeks ago I opted for the waffle fries and found them crispy and delicious. The cheese steak sandwich I got was very good too. May have been because I drank 2 or 3 beers before my food arrived but I found the whole visit very enjoyable.

  3. Susan likes to pretend she’s in the gourmet crowd… I’m sure if they added a sprig of arugala and jacked the price up $8 more, like BGK, well then she would have rated it three or four forks.

    I simply got more than what I paid for ~ and to me that’s a good bargain,

    ~ and even though I didn’t like it, I can see where someone else may. The food wasn’t cold, the service was decent. The place was clean, the music kicked ass.. So yeah, three forks..

    Susan keeps it up, I’ll give it four.

  4. I would definitely recommend checking out the “new” Tomahawks…not only is it under new management (as of January ’09), it has a completely new crew of friendly waitstaff, bartenders and CHEFS, along with a completely revamped menu that is freakin’ fantastic. With the great new food, a brand-new stage and sound system for the bands and a bar that, according to the new owner, will eventually have 25-30 different draft beers on tap, this place should quickly become the Kanawha Valley’s place to be.

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