Sports fans hunt for best bar food

The NBA All-Star game is days away. Baseball season is right around the corner and the NHL is just beginning its second-half sprint toward the playoffs. So what’s the best way to catch a game with some of your best friends on a Saturday night? A sports bar.

Whether you’re 21 or not – age doesn’t really matter. It’s all about the wings, the nachos and the intense feeling of screaming at the TV as if the players can hear you.

Recently, I visited the Lawrence Grill in the Quaker Bridge Mall, which was formerly the American Café. Their motto is, “Where life is good!” Good is a strong word; I believe fair would do the grill more justice.

Of course, it offers the typical bar fare like wings, nachos, spinach dip, steaks, ribs, chicken and pizza. They also make a decidedly classy attempt at upscale seafood offerings, like blue crab encrusted tilapia and fancy pasta dishes, such as seafood “Fra Diavolo.”

Every good Italian knows from the moment they walk through the door whether or not it’s the right place to order seared sea scallops or even Penne a la Vodka. Trusting my instincts, I went the safe route and ordered mozzarella sticks to start, followed by a Cobb salad. My dining companion ordered the barbecued pulled pork sandwich and we shared the appetizer.

My instincts served me right: the mozzarella sticks were about two or three minutes overcooked and the sauce committed the ultimate crime of impersonating Ragu. When my salad arrived, it was lacking the key elements of a Cobb salad: the bacon and sliced avocados. What’s worse was that the grilled chicken on my salad shined a translucent pink.

It was definitely not worth the $9.50. The barbecue pulled pork sandwich disappeared from my friend’s plate rather quickly, and though I did not taste the sandwich, the beer-battered fries were the highlight of the meal.

Neither of us has reached the celebrated age of 21, but there was a smattering of wines available to accompany the meal and the bar seemed well stocked.

Overall, if you stick with the bar food, you should be OK, but be sure to double-check your buffalo wings before you eat them.

The Lawrence Grill ( is located at 115 Quaker Bridge Mall, between Macy’s and J.C. Penney’s. My verdict: 1.5 stars out of 5.

Here’s another sports bar/restaurant to keep in mind: Wildflowers Inn. Located at 2572 Pennington road. It’s a bigger restaurant with a friendly atmosphere and great food. I highly suggest the french onion soup. If your parents are in town, you can take them here. It’s clean, well-priced and the menu will satisfy every taste. The homey atmosphere of the place makes it perfect for all patrons, from rabid football fans to families seeking an enjoyable Sunday dinner. It’s also safe to order a pasta dish here. My verdict: 3.5 stars out of 5