Route 66 – The highway to flavour
Don Jevonn is Herald’s in-house food critic. He (or is it she?) will appear incognito, sample wares from off the menu and then leave, having paid the bill in full. For Don Jevonn is one of Goa’s quintessential characters and believes that in order to be objective, he must appear to be your average diner
If there is any place that lives up to its reputation as an American smoke house and grill, it’s Route 66. Owned by Chef Xavs Norr, this is a classic American Diner where he grills and cooks the best home aged steaks, burgers, pastas and a number of other dishes from American culture. Route 66 uses their smoke oven to slow cook ribs, briskets, whole chicken and many more cuts of meat. It’s a quaint restaurant located at Rua De Ourem, Fontainhas, opposite the foot bridge, famous for its burgers. Let’s cut to the biggest bite there is. Titled the ‘S.O.B’, it’s a fresh 4oz grilled beef patty and 4oz pork patty basted with one layer of hell sauce melted cheese, crisp onion rings and a second layer with hickory barbecue sauce and crisp bacon. This is topped with Monterey Jack cheese and served in a buttered-toasted bun with grilled onions. Another option would be the Dark Vador – a triple decker killer with grilled patty smothered with blue cheese Cajun spice, grilled pork patty with Monterey Jack cheese, pepperoni topped with the burning sauce, the chicken patty topped with crispy bacon, served with chili con carne and nachos. They even have a mutton based Sheikh burger – a mutton patty marinated in kofta spices and grilled to perfection, topped with cheese, sautéed onions, garlic mayonnaise and harissa. The line-up of burgers here, with each being absolutely satiating, warrant multiple visits, there are two burgers that are on my must try list. The first one is the LSD – grilled beef patty, smothered with their chipotle chilli sauce BBQ, pickled jalapenos, Cajun spice, crispy bacon and finally topped with succulent pulled hickory BBQ pork ribs. The other one, with a title that has a pop culture reference, is The Wolverine – grilled beef patty topped with crisp bacon, grilled hot dog, chipotle chillies, adobo sauce and jalapenos. If you’re hooked to this, you can ask them to give you a double Wolverine as well. Moving on to the lighter stuff, there’s the medium spice Route 66 nachos. These are homemade corn tortilla chips piled high with chili con carne, ‘pico de gallo’ and topped with Jack and cheddar cheese and jalapenos, served with sour cream and a side of fresh salsa. Another option would be the quesadilla - grilled chicken tossed in Mexican spices with melted Jack cheese and stuffed in homemade flour tortilla, served with salsa and sour cream. For fans of ‘The Wire’, a US show based in Baltimore, the Baltimore One Foot-Hot Dog, will certainly hold appeal. This giant hot dog is generously packed with cheesy chili con carne, salsa, diced onions, jalapenos and pickles. For their ‘Wiches’, you have to try their Hickory smoked pulled-pork – that is braised pork, hand-pulled; absolutely tender and succulent. It’s served with Hickory BBQ sauce and topped with marinated slaw and shaved onions. For lunch, the classic BLT is a popular option. This has bacon, lettuce, tomato, packed in a buttered toast bun, a spread of their homemade mayo and chards of iceberg lettuce, crispy smoked bacon and slices of blush ripe tomatoes. If this is all too heavy, they have a variety of salads to choose from. Take for instance the American Cobb Salad. For those not familiar with the term, this is the classic American chopped salad that was created in Los Angeles. It’s served with bacon, tomato, chicken, hard- boiled egg, lettuce and Gouda cheese. Another option would be the Greek Salad, which has fresh mixed greens with sliced red onions, bell peppers, feta cheese, cherry tomatoes, kalamata olives, watermelon and fresh cucumber slices, tossed in oregano and vinaigrette. When it comes to pizzas, I personally enjoyed the Sex Mex pizza – a creation made in the 66 kitchen. This has BBQ chicken, caramelised onions, Cajun spice, homemade, barbecue sauce, chili con carne, nachos, jalapenos, cilantro, oregano and shredded Mozzarella cheese. Another unique creation is their Grilled Tequila marinated chicken, where you literally get a free shot of tequila on the house with this dish that’s half chicken marinated for 12 hours in tequila and rubbed in 16 spices, then slowly oven roasted to order. While their entrée steaks are 12 days aged, nothing can beat the ‘Iron Man’, a classic old Texas steak. A 220-gram cut of home aged beef cooked to your choice, topped with a sunny side egg, crispy bacon, cheese sauce, mushroom gravy, sautéed Cajun veggies, French fries, served on a hand crafted sizzling iron plate. There isn’t usually much space to eat anything after you have taken on the Iron Man but for their desserts, one should try their New York Cheesecake, American Sundae whereas Mocha Caramel and Peanut Butter and Banana with Marshmallows make for great milkshakes. They have a wide array of beverages, cocktails and mocktails to choose from, but Chef Xav Nor’s Tin Tin mojito is fabulous.
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