Wednesday, 29 May 2024

Foodie Freak: Lyndall

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Lyndall’s Sports Stop Grill

4220 Main St., Kelseyville, CA 95451

Telephone: 707-279-0123

Hours: Sunday through Thursday, 6 a.m. to 10 p.m.; Friday and Saturday, 6 a.m. to 11 p.m.

Free WiFi


Being a food writer, I am asked constantly, “Where is the best place to eat in the county?” I always respond, “It depends on what kind of food you are looking for.”


After asking them a few questions here and there I give them my recommendation based on what they are looking for. This also means that I have to eat everywhere so I can give a knowledgeable endorsement. What can I say, it’s a dirty job but someone has to do it.


After attending Rosa D’Oro’s Venetian Masquerade a couple of weeks ago I decided to stop in to Lyndall’s Sports Stop Grill. Now, I’ve said it in the past that I’m not a sports fan, and like a lot of people I have some preconceived ideas about certain things, so I pulled into the parking lot with the feeling of “I’m going to hate this, but at least I’m giving it a shot.”


Upon walking in, I looked around and superficially thought, “Yep, just what I was expecting.” There were assorted framed jerseys, sports memorabilia, photographs and numerous televisions tuned to a baseball game. I continued my judgments by thinking, “Get ready for the greasy fries and overcooked burger.”


Then I’m looking at the menu. Under appetizers were listed Mozzarella sticks with marinara, clam strips with cocktail sauce, onion rings …“Yep, just what I was expecting.” There are several different burgers are on the menu, grilled cheese sandwich, tuna melt ... “ho hum.”


But all of a sudden the sound of my mind crashing with a thundering clamor must have filled the room.


There on the menu was salmon with hollandaise, sautéed scallops in garlic sauce, cheese tortellini! This isn’t Sports bar food! “I’m in a sports grill and seeing linguini and clams on the menu?! This doesn’t

make sense! Is it a grill or fine dining? Error, error, does not compute!”


The linguini and clams comes with clams in the shell, not canned. I saw several people eating it so it must be good (my annoying diabetic diet means I’m not supposed to eat pasta, so I had to refrain from

ordering it).


The room was about half-filled with diners. The lone waitress was a very cute, dark blond, quick moving pixie that I couldn’t take my eyes off of as she zipped through the room like she was overdosed on caffeine. She was smiling so much that it looked like she loved what she was doing. She was so attentive and concerned with my needs that I completely forgot to get her name.


“OK,” I thought, “Let’s test this cook and see if he overcooks the scallops in garlic sauce.” Nope! The scallops were cooked perfectly, and the broccoli side was prepared flawlessly. I was stunned.


After enjoying my food for several minutes, I finally find a flaw in the meal when I notice that the small tough muscle wasn’t removed from the side of the scallops; it’s not a cardinal sin, just an oversight which kept the entire meal from being perfect.


My first visit encountering this multifaceted menu confused my jaded preconceived opinions so badly that I knew I had to go back, and soon. The second time the waitress was a taller girl with dark, long, curly hair, and she smiled so much that it was making MY cheeks hurt.


She was very attentive, giving me constant updates on my order and asking if I needed anything else. She was so busy flitting from place to place like a honeybee in a florist shop that I didn’t get to ask her name either. The thought that these girls must get paid extra just to look so happy kept going through my mind.


The menu says the fish tacos are a “must try”… I love fish tacos! I must have them, and the buffalo wings which are also a favorite of mine. The waitress asked me how hot I wanted the wings and I replied, “The hottest you got.” She said “Those are called 'nitro.'” Sounds good to me.


The fish tacos come with French fries, potato salad or coleslaw, and I asked for the coleslaw. When the tacos arrive I notice they are larger than I commonly see them, and I spend a moment poking at the two of them noting the relish consisted of fresh tomatoes, pickled jalapeños, red onions, cilantro and, of course, cabbage. The coleslaw was simple yet special with the addition of caraway seeds in it.


When I finished the slaw I started on the tacos. How do I say this without exaggeration? They are the best fish tacos I have ever had in my life. You should keep in mind that I’ve eaten fish tacos on the Mexican coast!


The buffalo wings are also out of this world. The sauce contains chopped jalapeños giving added texture and depth of heat. In the initial bite you taste the chicken and notice that the sauce has much

more depth of flavor than most you eat. This isn’t just a simple recipe of hot sauce and butter, this sauce was well thought through.


The heat is great for someone of my “chile head” level. Anywhere the sauce touches your face starts with a slow burn and intensifies to what feels like a severe sunburn. The burn on my lips lasted about

15 endorphin-filled minutes. You also get the traditional blue cheese dressing and celery sticks with the wings.


Taking a better look around the restaurant I see a sign requesting donations for the Kelseyville High football team’s helmets, and an advertisement for the Cleavage Creek Wines that they serve there (a

portion of the proceeds from their wine sales goes to breast cancer research).


Their afternoon menu is like a sports page from a news paper with community news, calendar and local sports players to watch. The Lyndall family is so involved with charity and the community that I feel honored to be eating in the establishment.


Looking more closely at the décor you notice old pictures from Lake County sports teams and you can recognize names like Gaddy, Porter, Gatton and even Mitchell Johns. They are interesting historical

pictures that allowed me to put a face to the names I see all around the county. So instead of my initial impression that it was cheesy-sporty, the décor is thoughtfully considered and pays hometown homage which makes me feel comfortable and at home.

 

Get the WiFi password from your waitress. The connection is super fast and I had no problems with it at all.


The prices are fair; both of my meals there including drinks were right around $20, not including tip. There’s dining available outdoors on the deck, but due to the weather right now it’s pretty empty out

there. Indoors there is seating for around 90 people.


I needed a couple of last minute facts to finish the review and went back again and just HAD to have the fish tacos one more time. I’m just not a burger and fries kind of guy. The fish tacos this time had

a mild chili mayonnaise on them which was very good. I also ordered the spicy Reuben and fries to go. The pixie waitress even said “goodbye” to me as she left for the day, even though she didn’t serve me at all today. This is the friendliest staff!


Since variety is the spice of life I could never declare there is a “best” restaurant in the county, but if you were to ask me to name the five best restaurants in Lake County Lyndall’s Sports Stop Grill will

be in that top five.


Ross A. Christensen is an award-winning gardener and gourmet cook. He is the author of "Sushi A to Z, The Ultimate Guide" and is currently working on a new book. He has been a public speaker for many years and enjoys being involved in the community. Follow him on Twitter, http://twitter.com/Foodiefreak .


Follow Lake County News on Twitter at http://twitter.com/LakeCoNews and on Facebook at http://www.facebook.com/pages/Lake-County-News/143156775604?ref=mf .

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