Rusty Spoons Jun 29, 2020
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Rusty Spoons reviews Pub 981

It has been a while since the last restaurant review, but Rusty is now back on track. A trip to Neguac with the top down and a stop at Pub 918 for a Sunday supper was just what she needed to inspire a new review.

Can you believe it has been 4 years since I did a restaurant review?  Whip me with a wet fettuccine noodle.

Last week when the weather was scorching I decided to accept an invitation to take a short drive to Neguac and try a restaurant with some friends that I had not been to in a while.  I knew it had undergone some recent renovations and I was eager to see how they turned out.  

Pub 981 used to be a nondescript bar on the main drag with a rickety patio, decent chicken wings, and a predictable selection of bottled beer and spirits.  Well it looks a lot different than it used to, and the menu is expansive and there are several savory taps to choose from.

We arrived around 5:30 PM on a Sunday and had to wait about 10 minutes for a table.  From the looks of the parking lot the place should have been packed.  But it is adequately cordoned off for social distancing and it was full for the reduced capacity.  If you go and the parking lot looks full, don’t be discouraged to go in and see if there is room.

The place is well appointed in a rustic sophistication with accoutrement locals would recognize and feel at home with.  There appears to be a stylish coffee bar at the entrance that looks like a great place for coffee to start your day or a casual daytime meeting place. The bathrooms were spotless,  the seating was comfortable, and the high ceilings made the noise level perfect.

The menu featured standard pub items with some flare such as nachos and wings, burgers and sandwiches, and also included salads and pasta dishes.  The decor and menu were perfectly in sync with one another.

The Starters

Spinach Dip and Mussels were the starting courses.  The mussels were prepared with beer, and were very fresh tasting and delicious.  Maybe a little over-priced at $10.99 for the size of the serving.  The spinach dip came with deep fried pita bread and was very good with many tender pieces of artichoke.  No complaints.

The Main Course.

In our party of four two people were in the mood for the smoked meat sandwich ($13.99).  A very healthy serving of smoked meat on lightly toasted sourdough bread with a sweet mustard.  Both the home-style fries and sweet potato fries (add $2.00) were excellent.

The fish tacos were a surprise ($15.99).  Breaded halibut on soft tortilla shell with a mango chutney.  The combination of flavours was excellent, with just a touch of heat though I don’t know the source.  The breaded fish was larger than the tortilla, and was a little awkward to eat.  Coupled with the loaded mash potato side (add $3.00), which was also excellent,   it was too much to eat, especially after starting with the mussels and spinach dip.  I have had fish tacos at Mike’s in Newcastle, and at Quesada’s, and I give the edge to Quesadas, but only because I prefer the unbreaded, pan-cooked fish.  Mike’s fish is also deep fired, and the topping has more spice, also very good.  The chutney at Pub 981 was a delicious compliment to the fish, though.

One person at our table ordered the Spring Chicken.  It looked good, she said it was good, but I cannot comment because I did not try it. 

The Service

As I mentioned, we arrived during a rush, and when we were finished eating there were only a few people left in the restaurant.  Overall, the service was slow with only a half-capacity crowd, making me wonder how they would do if there were no seating restrictions.   We ordered at 5:37, received our starters at 6:11, and the entrees at 6:55.

Our server Danie was delightful.

All in all a good experience.  The bill before tip was $128 for four people and that included 6 beers.

Rusty Spoons reviews Miramichi eating establishments. Leave a comment and let her know if you agree. Also let her know what restaurant you'd like her to review next.

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