I’m deeply embarrassed that we’ve lived in Skagit County for thirteen years now and have never been to the Brown Lantern Ale House in downtown Anacortes. In my defense, I have to say I’d been mixing it up with the Watertown Pub, which was not thrilling the one time we went, and we’ve usually just ended up going to the Rockfish. But better late than never: we have now rectified the situation. The only question now is how soon we can get back there.
We had gone for a hike in the Anacortes Community Forestlands (a wonderful park full of trails and lakes), and had worked up a good appetite. We thought about driving around the island to try out the Shrimp Shack, but I had just read yet another rave about the Brown Lantern on Chowhound and wanted to try it while I was thinking about it. It was open, there was a free table in the window – perfect.
The Brown Lantern is an old pub – I think the sign said it was started up in the ’30s – and has a comfortably dark and rustic feel, with lots of sports stuff stapled to the ceiling. It also has one of the best stocked bars I’ve seen in this county.
This was Sunday lunch, however, so we put cocktailish thoughts aside for the moment and got beer. They had Manny’s on tap, which has recently become one of my favorite summer beers.
They were serving brunch, including some really awesome sounding things like burritos stuffed with tater tots, and breakfast mac-and-cheese. I wasn’t in a breakfast mood, sadly, but swore to come back on another Sunday. In the meantime I ordered a Reuben, and Jon got the Mediterranean lamb burger. The menu didn’t indicate what made it “Mediterranean” but we were hoping for the best. We also both asked for sweet potato fries instead of regular, because – duh – sweet potato fries!
Everything surpassed our expectations (except the service, but one waitress for a full pub is asking quite a lot – she did her best). The reuben, while not toasted, was warm and gooey and had plenty of tender meat, and came with a fabulous container of horseradish dressing – I alternated dipping in the sandwich and the fries.
Jon’s burger was amazingly good – lamb mixed with fresh herbs, dressed with feta and a heavy schmear of mango chutney, in a soft bun. We were dubious at first but not for long.
And the sweet potato fries…crinkle cut, soft inside and just crisp enough on the outside, with a sprinkling of feta and parsley. We ate all we could, then took the rest home and ate them for lunch today, rewarmed in the oven. Not the best sweet potato fries I’ve ever had, but right up there.
Many more trips to the Brown Lantern are in our future, I can tell. Hopefully it won’t take us another thirteen years to get around to going back.