Once again it's time for a Dive Night review.
Depending on where you enter, this is Brine's.
This is the front.
This is the back.
I love the old buildings in Stillwater, MN, and Brine's inhabits one of them. If I were to own a restaurant or a shop I'd want it to be in an old building. The inside of Brine's is nice too.
The curtains add a nice, homey touch. I wasn't thrilled with the whole salad bar thing going on in the middle of it all. In fact, the salad bar itself wasn't much to write home about. I'll get to that a little later.
As in many old buildings comes old signage, which is always cool.
I don't usually comment on the drinks we order, but Ray and Husby ordered something a little different called Woodpecker Cider. Both of them took a sip and simultaneously their eyes lit up and their lips curled into smiles. Also simultaneously they offered a sip to Ruthie and me. I don't drink a lot of beer (and this drink was on the beer list) but this stuff was something else. Sweet like apple cider, but with a nice fizz and a little hint of that hoppy, grainy taste that beer is. Woodpecker Cider. I think it would be especially refreshing in the summertime.
If you don't know about Brine's it has been known for many years as providing supurb deli sandwiches. They have standard sandwiches or you can create your own with a wide variety of meats and cheeses. Brine's didn't really offer appetizers, per se, but rather "sides." We always order appetizers, but this time we had to order sides to start our meal. We ended up with deep fried cauliflower with a ranchy, horseradishy dipping sauce and potato skins with cheese and bacon.
I especially liked the cauliflower because 1) people don't normally like to share cauliflower because it's a weird a bumpy vegetable and 2) the fact that it was fried and also had a delicious dipping sauce made it delectible.
On to the main courses. Husby decided to go with soup and salad bar. That brings me back to the salad bar itself. It was just kind of a garish thing in the middle of the room, which in my opinion takes away from the vintage feel of the restaurant. If it were off to the side of the room it might not have made such a bad impression on me. It just didn't fit in as it was glaring and bright.
Plus, in my opinion it wasn't that great of a salad bar. It was okay, but there wasn't much in the way of originality. I chose the salad bar too, but I think I could have filled up on something better had I checked out the bar before ordering. Anyway, Husby's soup was divine. Mmm, beer cheese... Look at all that popcorn!
Ray also started with a cup of soup. Chili to be precise. The fun thing about this was, it was actually served in a cup. A coffee cup. Cute! He also had a BLT.
This is a really bad picture, which is why it's smaller than the others. The chili was good though!
Ruthie ordered the fish sandwich special. It came with fries and coleslaw. I should have tried one or five of her fries, because they looked so good. And that bun? Yum!
I chose the salad bar, as you know, and a tuna melt. Not only was it a tuna melt, it was a tuna melt with gouda cheese. Like I said, Brine's is good about giving you what you want. I mean really, would you rather have a tuna melt with plain old American cheese, or gouda cheese? If you chose American you have to go stand in the corner for two minutes.
The service was fine except for one thing. Our waitron didn't ask us if we wanted any dessert. Normally we're too stuffed for dessert, but tonight was an exception. Well, not really an exception. We were stuffed, but Ruthie and I couldn't resist ordering a piece of cheesecake to go. When I ate it the next day I nearly died. It was so creamy and delicious. Just plain cheesecake without the fancy fruit on top or swirls of flavor throughout, but man it was some of the best cheesecake I've had in a while.
The lower level of Brine's is the bar. It was more happenin' than the restaurant section. I bet you can probably order food in the bar too, and it would probably be better for people watching and definitely better if you're in the mood for a game of after dinner pool.
So that's Brine's for you. If you're in Stillwater stop on by. They're right on the main street. And remember, gouda cheese, not American.