Gertie’s serves breakfast and lunch six days a week but only serves dinner on three nights, Thursday through Saturday.
A limited dinner menu often smacks of ownership weariness, a ploy to move product before the week ends. Not at Gertie’s.
The dinner menu aims at upscale comfort food, with salads, burgers, pizzas and 10 entrees during our visit. The mains were mostly seafood, like salmon picatta ($22.95), plus meats including pork tenderloin with apples ($19.95) .
We decided on the beet salad ($12.95), ordered with goat cheese on the side, the wild Atlantic salmon cakes ($7 for one, $13 for two), advertised with a blueberry ketchup and lemon aioli. For entrees, Cat asked for cappellini al mare ($23.95), fresh shrimp and bay scallops tossed in light tomato cream sauce. Since comfort food was in play, I asked for meatloaf ($18.95).
(Owner Beth Gross previously worked for Chicago deep dish pizza giant Lou Malnati’s, so I’d also consider the Chicago pizza ($13.50), with pepperoni and hot giardiniera pickle.)
The salmon cake surprised me. When I cut into Gertie’s version, it was almost juicy, with noticeable flakes of salmon instead of a vague seafood puree. The blueberry ketchup rocked.
The beet salad was a heaping helping of tender tubers, sweet and subtly spiced.
Dinners include soup or salad, and we chose soups, chicken noodle and apple squash bisque. The former looked much like Campbell’s Chicken Noodle Soup, but it put factory soup to shame. The broth had depth, and held chunks of carrots, celery and tender, not woody, chicken. Firm, not mushy noodles.
The bisque was satisfying, with squash and sweet apple flavors out front, not cream or onion. It needed salt and pepper, easy to remedy.
Cat’s pasta arrived with a generous amount of large shrimp and small bay scallops in a garlicky tomato cream. The seafood was tender, not chewy. Bay scallops can get to pencil eraser stage fast. These hadn’t.
My meatloaf was the size of a big fist, but relatively light inside. Its spicing was tame, but it succeeded in comforting, accented by a restrained amount of spicy ketchup glaze. Vegetables included small roasted potatoes (underseasoned), asparagus spears (perfect) and thick-cut cabbage coleslaw – a weird partner, but I liked its fresh crunch against the beef. Desserts are made in-house. We tried lemon meringue pie ($8.50) and chocolate ganache brownie topped with crystallized ginger ($6.50).
As I ordered the pie, I wondered how it could be worth it. I found out when it arrived. Walnut-studded crust, bright tangy lemon curd, ice cream and browned, airy meringue, all layered up tall. Worth it. The brownies wanted more crunchy crystallized ginger on top, but we are ginger extremists.
Offering on-the-mark comfort food with indulgent touches, consider Gertie’s when making plans for the weekend.
Gertie’s: 8 plates (out of 10)
Clarence Center lunch spot offers three nights of satisfying, comforting dinner options.
WHERE: 6010 Goodrich Road, Clarence Center (741-1311, www.gertiesrestaurant.com)
HOURS: 11 a.m. to 2:30 p.m. Tuesday and Wednesday; 11 a.m. to 9 p.m. Thursday; 11 a.m. to 9:30 p.m. Friday.; 9 a.m. to 9:30 p.m. Saturday; 9 a.m. to 2:30 p.m. Sunday.
PRICE RANGE: Appetizers, $7-$12.95; salads, burgers, pizza, $12.50-$18.95; entrees, $18.95-$29.95.
PARKING: On the street.
WHEELCHAIR ACCESS: Yes.