With wood, stone, and whiskey casks, The Stones Throw Tavern and Grill in Bowling Green is a handsome spot to play around with beer and enjoy a hearty bite.
Each of its two large rooms has a big bar and high-top tables, in this remarkable re-do of a Buffalo Wild Wings.
Stones Throw opens at 4 p.m. for dinner (lunch is served Friday through Sunday), and on the occasions I was there, clientele was sparse. I'm told the student crowd comes later in the evening, except on St. Patrick's Day, when the barkeep starts pouring at the tender hour of 5 a.m.
Beer is the star and dozens are on tap: darks, lights, ambers, reds, IPAs, stouts fruity, aromatic coffee, toffee, chocolaty, glass-rims dipped in cinnamon and sugar. Many bear whimsical sobriquets such as Twisted Thistle (very light) and Heavy Seas Yule Tide. If you're not committed to a particular ale, consider ordering five-ounce "samples," about $2 each. There are 30 whiskeys and plenty of scotches.
Meat is served in aggressive portions in this Irish-themed spot, and the home-made kettle chips are great (and quite good the next day). Sandwiches are outstanding. Pot roast on a hoagie was enough to have fed a large family in mid-19th-century Ireland. Simply delicious, its tender, shredded beef was just like the special-occasion Sunday dinner I enjoyed as a child. It had few onion slivers (please sir, may I have some more?) and carrots that were, oddly, not cooked through. Plenty for two meals.
Corned beef was mouth watering on two sandwiches: loaded corned beef on a hoagie ($12), with slaw, Swiss, and the kitchen's own yummy Guinness mustard, as well as the classic reuben on marbled rye with sauerkraut and thousand island.
Ever wanted to sample Scotch eggs? Granted, $8 is a lot to pay for two hard-boiled eggs, but they are scrumptious, wrapped in breakfast sausage, rolled in fine herbed bread crumbs, and deep fried with a lovely sauce.
Soups were hit ($3, white bean/kale/bacon) and miss (Irish stew; broth thin, veggies undercooked).
I arrived at dinner recently with eyes-bigger-than-my-stomach and when I spotted a heaping plate of homemade kettle chips, nacho-ized with melted cheese, tomatoes, green onions, and bits of corned beef ($9) on another table, I succumbed. It was too much for four of us. If your entree doesn't come with kettle chips, you can add them for a pittance.
A favorite was the fine looking English-Irish-American pasty ($11) with salad and fries (which our server forgot to deliver and I decided to forgo given the kettle-chip pig out). For hundreds of years, miners took these hot pies into the mines for their midday meal, sometimes tucking them against their bodies for warmth. Made daily, the pastry, its edge nicely crimped and made with soybean and cottonseed oils, was delicious. Of four filling choices, the one I ordered had a modicum of beef, bacon, cheddar cheese, mushrooms, and onions. There's a traditional with steak, taters, rutabaga, and onions, and a vegetarian version covered with mushrooms and onions sauteed in Guinness.
Beer-battered cod and chips ($14) was a massive pile of large pieces with side salad, roll, slaw, and seasoned fries. Hot, crispy fish on top of the heap were very good, but as we worked our way down, the coating, affected by steamy cooling, had lost its crisp edge.
Shepherd's pie ($14) is baked or heated in an individual bowl. A little dry, it had a thin layer of ground beef and a thick blanket of mashed taters. It was attractively encircled with greens.
Herb chicken salad ($10) was satisfactory with plenty of grilled poultry strips, lettuce, Canadian bacon, and that tangy Guinness dressing.
Lunch is mainly sandwiches, soups, and appetizers that are also on the dinner menu.
Veggie options are surprisingly few, given that this is a college town. There are a couple of steaks.
Notes: Trivia Nights are Sunday, Tuesday, and Thursday at 9 and 10 p.m. and there's local entertainment Saturday night. A 9 p.m. Wednesday variety show gets pretty good crowds. Firkin Thursdays begin at 4 p.m. and feature a different cask-conditioned ‘fresh' beer each week. For daily drink and growler specials, see Stones Throw's Web site.
Contact Bill of Fare at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Star ratings are based on comparisons of similar restaurants. The Blade pays for critics' meals.