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Food is above par at Newfane’s Blarney Stone restaurant

NEWFANE – What’s the first thing that comes to your mind when I say Newfane? If you said fish, you’re probably far from alone. If you said golf, however, you’re probably standing by yourself, looking around for someone – anyone? – to come join the party.

Strange thing is, Newfane has a bit of a corner on both fish AND golf – and the golf course has fish of its own! Baked, fried and otherwise, but fish nonetheless.

Unfortunately, I didn’t get to try the fish during our stopover at the Blarney Stone restaurant, on the grounds of the Newfane Pro-Am golf course. Judging from the quality of the menu items we did sample, however, I’m betting the fish was better than par, if you know what I mean.

Anyway, we were out in the neighborhood of the (in)famous Burt Dam fishing park one recent Sunday afternoon, and with the sun beating down rather intensely, decided we needed to find a nice, cool place to grab a bite or two.

A quick search on the cellphone turned up a couple possibilities nearby, and my daughter thought it would be interesting to stop in at the Blarney Stone. It had gotten fairly good reviews online, so we headed up North Main Street a short distance and came upon the course (the restaurant itself isn’t really marked all that well, so be forewarned, and pay close attention as you get nearer).

We actually arrived before the cook, but that situation remedied itself by the time we had settled in with our drinks. A quick glance at the menu confirmed my fears that fish was only available on Friday nights (I would have killed for some lake perch), so that left a selection of salads, wraps, sandwiches, burgers and the like for our perusal. We decided on the shrimp Po’ Boy special ($8.75), the Reuben panini ($6.75) and the Blarney Stone salad ($8.75), and also ordered sides of potato ($2.75) and macaroni salad ($2.25).

While we waited for the cook to get things together, we enjoyed the lush surroundings just outside the window. The most interesting things were the lights. Yes, it is a lighted course, one of the only ones around!

The place itself is on the smallish side: a few tables and a small counter/bar area with stools. The interior is a nice wood/faux marble wallpaper design, featuring “nature-y” prints from Ansel Adams and others. The single TV screen was, appropriately, showing the Kevin Costner golf movie “Tin Cup.”

The restroom featured some funny golf humor. It was better than the joke I had planned about the “greens” on Steffany’s salad. Oh, well, maybe another time ...

As it turned out, Stef would have liked a few more greens on her salad. There was plenty of onion to make up for it, however, a situation which she would have preferred to be reversed. “Some bites, I was just eating onion,” she commented, which was in no way meant as an indictment of the meal, because she thoroughly enjoyed it.

She thought it strange that the cheese – pepper jack, I believe it was – was not of the shredded variety, but rather “a square of cheese, ripped into strips.” Also sporting turkey, bacon, tomatoes and croutons, and served with a double helping of ranch dressing, she was very happy with her selection’s freshness and taste.

The Po’ Boys were billed as Cajun-style shrimp with lettuce, tomato and onion served on a hard roll, with a choice of fries, macaroni or potato salad. Teresa opted for the macaroni salad, while Meagan went with the fries. Just to be different, I ordered the potato salad with my Reuben.

The Po’ Boys arrived first, a decent-sized offering with three medium-to-large pan-fried shrimp tucked inside. Both girls complained jokingly of the sandwich being heavy on the bread, but after a bite or two the comments changed to a Steffany-like criticism of overused onion. They really weren’t upset, though, because the shrimp was seasoned to perfection and seemed to have a light sauce/dressing that also added to the enjoyment level. The only real complaint was that some of the shrimp still had tails on them.

The Reuben didn’t appear overly impressive at first glance, being on the thin side. A quick bite confirmed that it was, indeed, a little light on the corned beef – but certainly not on the taste. With a nice mix of Swiss cheese, Thousand Island dressing and sauerkraut, it was a juicy, tasty treat. The bread was very nicely toasted. Guess looks can be deceiving.

The potato salad was of the mustard variety, and was exceptionally tasty – so much so, that we ordered an additional plate to share. The macaroni salad was equally well received, a nice, creamy concoction that featured plenty of tasty “crunchies.”

I don’t know how much it costs for a round of golf here, but you certainly aren’t going to go broke having a bite before or after the festivities. Sandwiches top out at $8.25 for the Buffalo chicken wrap, soup goes for $2.75/$3.75 for a cup/bowl, and the rest of the menu is equally affordable. Prices top out at $14.75 for the seafood platter, or $12.75 for 20 wings – which really isn’t bad at all.

I forgot to mention the fries that accompanied Meagan’s sandwich, probably because they were not particularly noteworthy. Par for the course, I would say.

The Blarney Stone would seem to be a natural stop after a day of fishing at the dam. In addition to the aforementioned lake perch, they offer a traditional fish fry, as well as broiled and Cajun-seasoned varieties. There is also a fish burrito on the menu, along with such stalwarts as grilled chicken, BLTs and grilled cheese.

The Stone serves lunch and dinner from Tuesday through Sunday. They also offer take-out and party catering, for those so inclined.