There are few places in this tourist town where you can go out for a big lunch and not leave feeling like you've been robbed, and the Ale House is one of them. A member of the nationwide "Miller Ale House" chain; The was one of the placed you'd go back in the days before the big fancy ripoff restaurants took over the scene.
On my current diet, I find myself seeking out salads and grilled meats; I knew I'd be able to find something here. The have specials every day; on Mondays they have a full rack of ribs for $9.99, which is 1/3 of what you'll pay on Las Olas.
Ale House Specials
They've devolved into using Male "hosts" to seat customers, which is unfortunate. Seemed like a decent dude. One good thing about the place is that they have lots of big booths, so unless you go at peak hour you're going to have one to yourself.
Ale House Booth
One thing that I always forget is that the menus are with the salt and pepper; they have specials and a drink book on the table; and I always at first think that they forgot to give me a menu. I almost bit on the ribs; they serve the salads I was interested in over "mixed greens", which is code for random weeds. I asked if they'd make me a cobb with just romaine, and they said they would. So I ordered a Cobb with Blue Cheese Dressing.
The music here is top notch; Jimi Hendrix, Spoon, Van Morrison, Kelly Clarkston, Chicago, Sheryl Crow. I got to listen to a lot of music, because it took forever for them to make this salad. A good 20 minutes; my server twice gave me the "It's coming right out". Finally it arrived.>
Ale House Cobb with Romaine
Now this isn't really a cobb salad; Cobb's are a lot more organized than this. The greens should be chopped; there's no avocado. But it's a salad with a lot of stuff. He brought the salad out with a 1/2 tub of blue cheese and 1/2 tub of ranch; I'd asked for blue cheese on the side; I sent him back with the ranch to get me more blue cheese. This salad was a lot of food.
All House Cobb Salad with Blue Cheese
$9.45 for this; maybe it was worth the wait. Not great, but a big lunch for under $10.
It took way too long to get my check; I was in the restaurant for 1 hour and 10 minutes, which is way too long for a single course lunch.
The Fort Lauderdale Ale House is part of the national Miller Ale House chain; they've undergone a facelift since my last visit and everything is in pretty good condition. This place is the opposite of Las Olas; free parking, big portions, good specials and it's about 1/2 the price. The menu is extremely hit or miss; I had some really bad fish and chips here once, but you can find things that are at least half way decent. Remember that Bobby Flay isn't in the kitchen, and order accordingly.
I hate this place when there are a lot of people; it's a low brow crowd and the bar is loud and annoying at happy hour. Usually I ask to be seated away from the bar, but at 3:15 it was dead empty so I didn't say anything when I was seated in the game area near the bar.
Fort Lauderdale Ale House Bar Area
On one side they have 4 rows of booths, and the other side is the bar and a big open room with lots of TVs. This is where you want to sit to watch football.
Fort Lauderdale Ale House Game Room
The have specials every day; on Thursday they have meatloaf and chef's salad for lunch for $5.99 and Prime Rib and a 1 1/4lb lobster for $12.95. I thought about the lobster, but 1 1/4 lbs is a small lobster and I was hungrier than that. The soup of the day is conch chowder, so I decided to break my boycott and order that with a blackened chicken caesar salad. And they had Splenda for the iced tea.
Music here is superb; U2, Adam Ant and Joan Jett, intermittently ruined by the BeeGees. The soup came out right away.
Ale House Conch Chowder
From the smell I could tell that this wasn't the usual musty stuff you get at the old time seafood houses; in fact, this was very good. Not Tony Sindaco good, but better than just about any other one I could remember. It tasted a lot like manhattan clam chowder, with tough conch instead of tender clams. They ought to give up on the conch already and just make clam chowder. It was a good portion and a good deal for $3.99.
I wasn't done for long when the salad came out.
Ale House Blackened Chicken Caesar
$8.99 for this baby; it reminded me of the chicken caesars I used to get at TGI Friday's back in the day. Caesar Salad is all about the dressing, since I don't eat the croutons and romaine lettuce is, well, romaine lettuce. The dressing here is the good, creamy kind, not quite as good as the crazy garlicky stuff they have at the Boulder Creek on Long Island, but better than some of the stuff you get from the faux chefs on Las Olas. It was a big salad and I had to ask for extra dressing. I asked for "a little extra" and she brought me out enough for another salad.
Ale House Iced Tea and Caesar Dressing
Everything is bigger at the ale house.
My server was very good until the end, when I wanted my check and she was no-where to be found. It was after 4 by then, and the place was filling up with the kind of people who come to happy hour at 4pm. So I needed to get out of the place.
Under $16 for soup, salad and an Ice Tea; I'd pay that much just for a chicken caesar on Las Olas and it wouldn't be as big or as good.
When I got home I checked the nutritional chart for the restaurant and I think it's out of whack. They certainly don't try to cheat; 2000 calories for Fish and Chips? The chart said that the salad was 1030 calories, but it didn't add up. A plain caesar was 430 calories with 19 carbs. The only thing with carbs is the croutons, which I didn't eat. Let's assume that's correct. They have the chicken caesar listed at 1030 with 35g of carbs. How can that be? Chicken has no carbs, and the chicken can't be 700 calories. They didn't give me a whole chicken. Somebody didn't check their work. Ok, so we can't rely on nutritional info at restaurants. We already knew that.