Saturday, November 23, 2013

LOCAL REVIEW: tg's of Kenosha

Hot beef sandwiches (or also sometimes called Italian beef sandwiches) are probably one of the most perfect sandwiches out there. And thankfully, my little town of Kenosha is crawling with restaurants who offer this delectable combination of succulent pot roast-esque beef, thick absorbent bread, and flavorful au jus. You can find a hot beef pretty much anywhere you go! Well- maybe not if you went out for Chinese or Mexican, but you get the picture. But in all my years of living here in town, I've never been to tg's Restaurant & Pub, self-proclaimed "Home of Kenosha's Famous Hot Beef." Not really an outrageous claim- Many Kenoshans have been to tg's to try their hot beef and even go as far as to say they make THE BEST hot beef. And today, I finally got to go and experience what everyone's been talking about.

With 11 brews on tap, tg's is more of a pub scene than an actual restaurant, but they have a full menu and a decent-sized dining area separate from their bar, something I didn't even expect. I guess, being as young as I am, I get this idea that pubs that also function as restaurants are crowded, noisy, dark places with only bars to sit at and the smell of cigarette fumes stinking up the joint. Stereotypical, I know, but I'm only a kid, and we tend to be stereotypical. I blame television. Anyway, tg's was far from what I thought it'd be, as far as interior and actual dining quality goes. That also means you don't have to worry about bringing the little ones here to eat. There's even items like grilled cheese and PB&J on the menu- sure to please the kids. In fact, I was a little tempted by the corn dog, but I had to save myself for the beef.
Another stereotype associated with the whole bar/restaurant scene is a small menu. But tg's menu was actually decent, and offered a lot more than typical pub foods. Well yes, they have your soft pretzels and nachos and chicken wings, but they go way past that as well. They have daily specials and a soup du jour, and salads with toppers such as grilled tuna steak, turkey burger, veggie burger, and even a portobello mushroom cap! I mean, oh la la! I haven't even gotten to the main dishes yet and this place is already speaking my language. I mean, you REALLY wouldn't expect a pub to carry anything the LEAST bit healthy, but tg's seems to recognize that healthy, high-quality food options are becoming a bigger trend in America each and every day. Then even offer a BURGER BOWL- you don't even need to ASK for one bunless!
Anyway, you can check out the rest of the menu here.

The woman who waited on my mother and me was very friendly and efficient. She let me pick out what flavor of hot tea I wanted from their selection and offered hot or mild giardiniera for our sandwiches, which came in a HUGE canning jar, filled right to the top! (Haha, just imagined if I dumped the whole thing on my sandwich once the time came... I guess tg's relies on the honor system).
When it came time to order our dinner, I just HAD to go with the hot beef. Well, what else did you expect me to order?! It's the reason Mom and I even went! Of course, tg's also has a supposedly very tasty Kahlua pig sandwich, which I guess would be considered the "sidekick" to their hot beef- always coming in second place, but loved all the same by the public. As much as I like to give the underdogs a fair chance, I stuck with my guns for the hot beef. I do, however, go hog wild for pork (Ha, see what I did there?), so I promised myself I would try the Kahlua pork next time I ever went to tg's. Right- if you're not sure if you'll ever visit tg's more than once in your life, order the beef. But if you do ever return, order the pork. Sounds like a fair plan to me.
Anyway, the hot beef sandwiches costed around $8.00 each, but they wouldn't have normally been that much because Mom and I wanted to substitute our fries for veggie plates, which, unbeknownst to us, created an up-charge in our bill. I REALLY wish our waitress had told us that! It's like, she's pushing on us to get the veggie plate, like "oh yeah, it's fine if you substitute your fries for it", but she could've told would cost us more. Seriously, we could've gotten the soup with that money! But really, I guess eight bucks ain't all that much for a big hot beef and a decent plate of veggies. Oh yeah- and a pickle spear.
Then finally, our sandwiches came to us. They were fairly big! And also unlike any hot beefs I had ever seen before. Not only were they served in kaiser rolls (as opposed to the far more used Italian bomber buns), but they also came in a biggest puddles of au jus I'd ever seen. It was like a soup AND a sandwich! The plates were even a bit indented around the center, like bowls, just so all the juice wouldn't flow out. I dipped a carrot into the au jus as Mom declared, "Don't do that!" And I said, "Hey! Tastes like pot roast!"
The hot beef was really incredible. The meat was shredded and rich in taste. It was juicy and succulent- not the least bit dry, but at the same time has a lean texture. There was also plenty of meat to quench my hungry appetite. The au jus was comfortably hot and had a salty, meaty taste- I stated to my mom that I could've had just that- just had that au jus as a soup with some veggies tossed in and I'd be a happy camper.  The kaiser roll was just soaked in juice- just the way I like it -and was more of a mush-like consistency than a thick, firm consistency, which is what you want when you order hot beef. Trust me. I understand now why they say "you'll need a knife and fork for this sandwich" on the menu- I figured it was because it was going to be a really big, stacked sandwich, and those usually require more than your hands to get the job done- but really, I think they put that as part of the sandwich's description because the bread had just absorbed SO. MUCH. JUICE. Try and pick that bad boy up and it'll dribble between your fingertips like runny mashed potaters. But I mean that in the nicest way possible. It's a good thing. And adding a little hot giadenera on top to add just a pinch of spice and oil to the sandwich really hit the spot and made it all the more fantastic.
I remember Mom saying to me, "It's not that special," in regards to the hot beef. "We can just order the same exact thing at the deli downtown." But as soon as she took a small bite, she mmmed and said, "Soooo much better than Lenci's."
And it really was. Although, I can't say tg's was THE BEST hot beef I've ever had, I've thought it over and it IS the best hot beef I've had in Kenosha- and that's saying a lot. Well, maybe not quite a lot- I haven't had THAT many different hot beef sandwiches here in town, but I'm working my way through. And this was definitely a winner. Juicy, hearty, meaty, and above all, tasty. tg's has done a good job with it's hot beef. I really wouldn't think of that little small bar to be such a candid place to eat, but it really is. It may be a hard place to miss, with it's narrow framework and small lot, but you definitely don't want to pass up the opportunity to stop by here for dinner if you're in town. And with all those beers on tap, you might just want to stay for MORE than just the hot beef.
tg's gets an 8/10 from this girl!

Have YOU ever been to tg's? What did YOU think? Write down in the comments section below!

Till' then, this has been RiRi ri-porting!

T G's on Urbanspoon
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