Bites Nearby: The Mountainside Sports Bar and Restaurant
Under new ownership, the former Mountainside Restaurant is now a sports bar with a relaxing, informal atmosphere.
When I heard the Mountainside Restaurant was under new ownership and operating as a sports bar I wanted to check it out. I mean, I like sports and I like bars, so it sounded like a natural.
My visit to the previous establishment on S. Pike Avenue (also known as S. 4th Street or Route 145) in Salisbury Township was something of a disappointment. While the food wasn’t bad, the place seemed just a little bit creepy and in need of a makeover, not to mention an airing out.
Done and done. The plastic plants and patriotic knickknacks have given way to televisions. Lots of televisions. The briny old captain’s table furniture has been replaced by sleek wooden high tops. The piano room is now a pool room and the bar area and dining room both feel more open and inviting.
The mammoth menu of the old Mountainside has been pared to a pub menu with enough selection to satisfy everyone.
The new Mountainside features several appetizers, such as quesadillas, clams casino, shrimp and crab dip, nachos and pierogies, and sandwiches, as well as dinner selections, such as steak, chicken and pasta.
On some recent visits, we opted for appetizers and sandwiches.
Among the appetizers, the jalapeno poppers were a pleasant surprise. Frequently these come frozen and are pretty bland, but the Mountinside’s were homemade. The red jalapenos were still crisp and fairly spicy.
The pretzel bites were bite-sized soft pretzels served with cheese sauce for dipping.
The chicken cordon bleu soup was also quite good. The cheesy cream-of-chicken style soup was full of chunks of ham and tasted like its namesake.
On one visit I had a lobster roll sandwich. This was a little different from what you might get on the west end of Long Island or in New England. Typically, a lobster roll consists of a chunky lobster salad (often just lobster and mayonnaise) served on a hot dog bun. Lettuce and tomato, if it is offered at all, usually comes on the side. The Mountainside’s had its own personality. Served on a hoagie roll, this was a big sandwich. The salad was mashed, like a tuna salad, and served with lettuce and tomato inside. It was a bit salty but the flavor of the lobster came through. I would definitely order it again.
On another visit my fiancée had a veggie panini. While this wasn’t on the menu, our waitress said the chef would try to accommodate any special requests. The Panini was served on a ciabatta-style roll and full of lots of roasted vegetables and melted cheese. It made one vegetarian very happy.
My Cuban panini, however, was a disappointment, mostly because of the roll it was served on.
A proper Cuban starts with Cuban-style bread – a soft, wide loaf with a hard, thin crust that collapses quite flat under the weight of a sandwich press. Ideally it has roast pork, ham, Swiss cheese, yellow mustard and pickle and is pressed until the cheese melts and the crust is crisp and the bread is hot all the way through.
The Mountainside Cuban was served on a ciabatta roll that was too hearty to flatten or heat through. While the sandwich did have ham and roast pork, pickles and mustard, it was missing the cheese. To give it another chance, I ordered one on another day with the same results.
I’m not saying this isn’t a good sandwich – I did finish two of them after all -- I’m just saying it shouldn’t be called a Cuban – particularly when it’s served on a roll.
In all, we found the Mountainside to be a relaxing, friendly, informal spot to have a drink and a quick meal or to watch a game. It has a full bar with six beer selections on tap. Hours are 11 to 11 Sunday-Thursday and 11 a.m. -2 a.m. Friday and Saturday.
Mountainside Sports Bar and Restaurant
2720 S. Pike Ave.
Allentown, Pa. 18103 (Salisbury Township)