US 101- Be A Sport

Being one of those rare entities who doesn’t drink but loves a pub environment, I’ve always loved a night out with mates. Though they saw me as a potential driver who could get away from cops if caught while driving back, that didn’t stop me from devouring the sides, for which they mostly regret having me around. That said, there hasn’t been many pubs I’ve checked out in Chennai and it’s completely a different experience every time in a pub, something that doesn’t happen in restaurants that much. A restaurant experience can be rated in different scales but for me, a pub experience is either good or bad, just that, nothing more, nothing less. So I was naturally excited when I was invited for a bloggers meet at US 101. It’s one of those pubs I’ve heard a lot about, mostly very positive, that I always wanted to go to and I’m glad it finally happened. Given below is my review for US 101 –Be A Sport.

US 101 is located in GLM Meridian Hotel in South Boag Road, near the Nandanam signal and at the entrance of the aptly named Chevaliar Sivaji Ganesan Salai. Considering it’s a hotel, parking was a piece of cake. Valet parking is available here and the staffs were very courteous. Even before entering the pub, the pathway to its entrance gives out the fact that it’s a sports themed pub. The dark black themed wall with wordings of players and team names adorn the pathway. The designated smoking room is a huge plus. Even the door knobs are replaced with hockey bats and table tennis racquets. We’re welcomed by a decorated wall full of photos of sporting world’s greatest events. Right from historic football wins to India lifting the cricket world cup, the plethora of images is sure to bring a smile on any sports enthusiast’s face. A few steps deeper, the main bartender set up with bar stool surrounding the platform is seen with Michael Jordon, Sachin Tendulkar, Lionel Messi, Michael Schumacher and Mohammed Ali’s painting roaring at us from the back wall. Covering the bar stool backrests with football t shirts is a lovely touch. The black wall theme continues inside as well with even the cushions matching the decor. We were seated at the far end corner near a punching bag and the table was large enough to accommodate our entire group. They already had a preselected menu ready for us with the food and drinks were left to be chosen from the menu. Given below is the list of drinks and food we tried and how they fared. I’ll let my fellow foodie friends to comment on the cocktails in their reviews.

MOCKTAILS:
* Choco Punch: This thick drink of chocolate syrup, honey, strawberry puree and pineapple juice was a real refresher.
* Bull Breeze: Though it’s description sounds pretty simple, this minty drink with Red Bull and Blue Curacao is a mocktail is slurping good.
* US 101: The best drink has the pub’s name and I’m sure it’s not co-incidental. Kiwi, Strawberry and Guave juice are combined to make this concoction which is nothing short of a match made in heaven. Loved this drink.
* Corner Kick: This drink reminded me of the Caribbean. Not sure if it’s because of the coco syrup or the cream and pineapple mix. This was one divine mix.

VEG STARTERS:
* Caseras Bolas De Queso: This tongue twister named dish is actually the humble cheese balls but unlike many places, this wasn’t made from the frozen, pre-packed bags but freshly made one. This was evident from the texture and it tasted perfect with the Serrano Chilli Mayo dip.
* Nachos: Ah, the good ol Nachos. Topped with refried beans, melted cheese, tomatoes, onions, jalapenos, sour cream and guacamole, this looked better than how it tasted. I personally loved the sour cream and guac right on top of the nachos instead of the so called polished way of giving them as separate dips.
* Chilli Jalapeno Rellenos De Queso: Jalapenos stuffed with cheese and fried, this twin sister of the cheese balls could only match it’s looks but not the taste.
* Hongos Con Ajos En Vinagre: The added Balsamic Brown Butter Sauce did the trick for this dish. Juicy and meaty, the mushrooms were perfectly done and they disappeared in no time.

NON – VEG STARTERS:
* Tortas Mariscos A La Parrilla: This visually stunning seafood cake topped with Pico De Gallo (fresh salad) and salsa was a pretty decent dish.
* Gamberoni Alla Griglia: As a fan of Chorizo sauce, this was something I was waiting for and it definitely lived up to the expectation. The only regret was, when another plate was requested, the jumbo prawns was replaced with normal ones.
* Salvia Ripieni Involtini Di Pollo: This deep fried dish was well plated and tasted pretty good.
* Ali Pollo Alla Griglia: BBQ sauce dipped chicken wings with a melted cheese layer, enough said. Loved it.
* Polpette Di Carne Di Agnello: Surprisingly, this dish was not in the same league as other dishes when it came to plating and appearance. Unfortunately it didn’t taste that great either.

VEG MAIN COURSE:
* Parmigiana Di Melanzane: Finally a dish’s name that I could understand, well at least the Parmigiana part as it’s a type of cheese. This eggplant based dish reached the ‘meh’ meter in the scale from fellow veggies.
* Spinaci E Feta Cannelloni Al Formaggio: I’m on a roll with the names 😀 Spinach, Feta cheese with cannelloni in tomato sauce, this got a thumbs down thanks to it’s over blandness.
* Cotta Ricotta Bistecca: Cheese steaks are common to be bland in the middle and this dish was no different. But the basil sauce along with veggies made it the best veg mains for the day.
* Burritos: Stuffed with refried beans, topped with guac and sour cream and a healthy portion of herbed rice and veggies, this dish looked spectacular. But for taste it doesn’t score many points as the tortilla was doughy. On the other hand, herbed rice was so good that we asked for an extra serving.
* Enchiladas: Possibly the most disappointing dish from the veg section, Enchiladas was stuck to the plate and we had a hard time breaking them apart. Taste wise, it wasn’t up to the mark.

NON – VEG MAIN COURSE:
* Chicken Saltimbocca: Chicken breast wrapped in bacon along with pesto sauce, a carnivore’s dream delight. Unfortunately, the bacon used was predominantly fat but the chicken meat was top notch and cooked to perfection. The dish was pretty good.
* Jamaican Jerk Chicken: This dish was a bit of a fusion. Jerk chicken, as the name implies is Jamaican but the Caponata that accompanies the chicken is Sicilian in cuisine. Though it looked fiery, the chicken lacked that punch that makes a good jerk chicken.
* Beef Madallions: A pub should have beef steak by default and it was good to find beef fillet on menu. This chargrilled fillet is served with Robert sauce, which was a surprise as this sauce is best known to go with pork. Taste wise it was decent.
* Erba Incrostata Lamb Tagli: This lamb chops with mint sauce and mash was that one disappointing dish from the non-veg end. Not sure if it was cause of the fact that the meat was overcooked but the chops didn’t have much meat in it and the bones were crumbling, thereby mixing with the meat as we eat.
* King Fish with Hoods of Potatoes: Ironically, this looked similar to that cottage cheese steak dish. This Seer fish based dish with grated potatoes and Rouille sauce, an olive oil based sauce, was a bit too bland for anyone’s liking. A bit of seasoning could probably help.
* Langosta A La Parrilla: The best seafood can ever get, atleast in the Indian shoreline, the ever delicious lobster. Grilled with cheesy tomato sauce and served with whole veggies, this one was an absolute stunner. It was perfect in all senses and the mild tangy sauce complemented this exquisite piece of meat amazingly.

Service was really good and the staffs were super friendly. On the down side, dishes took quite a while to reach our tables. Overall, it was a lovely experience and as a gang we had an awesome time. Most of the starters and drinks were brilliant and IMHO, a bit of tweaking with the mains will make this place even better. As it was a bloggers meet, the price points won’t be discussed. At the end of the day US 101 is a lovely spot to get yourself a drink and chillax with your friends while you catch your favorite sport, live on one of their many TVs.

RATINGS BREAK UP:-
Location:- 4/5
Parking:- 5/5
Reception:- 3/5
Food:- 3.5/5
Customer Service:- 3.5/5
Ambience:- 4.5/5

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