As I have mentioned before, one of the best corners in Phoenix for food is 32nd Street and Camelback. You cant walk more than a block to find a bevy of restaurants of all tastes and costs. There is everything from Donovans Steakhouse (on the very pricey side) to the deli inside the Safeway (for a quick bite).
One place that often gets overlooked is Keegans Bar and Grill which is on the west side of the strip mall on the northwest corner of 32nd Street and Camelback. When the mall first opened, the space was sheltering a Swensens Ice Cream Parlor, which was quite popular until the whole Farrells/Swensens genre of ice cream parlors lost favor with the public.
Keegans has been here many years and I have eaten at it a few times. The food is fairly solid in terms of quantity and quality and I havent had a bad meal there yet.
I arrived about 8:30 PM and the place was still jumping. There were plenty of TV screens with sports broadcasts from all over the U.S. I was promptly seated at a booth near the front of the restaurant. The occasional cheer could be heard from the bar section as Team A scored or was prevented from scoring.
The interior was dark wood and clubby. Spot lighting illuminated the place, which made the place warm and comfortable. The booth I was at was also quite comfortable.
My server took my drink order of a Diet Coke ($1.95) and let me review the menu. The menu is basic American fare with sandwiches, appetizers, and a few plate dinners. A few minutes passed and my drink and water were brought to my table. The server took my order after I asked for some recommendations. I decided to go with the Pork Tenderloin Dinner ($12.95) and for an appetizer, I went with the Chinese Spring Rolls ($6.95).
Since I was facing a large screen, I was able to watch a Suns game while the time passed. What was nice was that they had turned on the closed captioning for reading instead of keeping the volume up. Despite the busy crowd and the many televisions, the noise level was not loud. People could easily have a conversation at each table without having to strain to hear or be heard.
About 10 minutes passed and my spring rolls arrived. On a large plate were three long spring rolls that had been cut in half on the diagonal and served with a garlicky soy sauce for dipping. I had to wait a few moments while I let them cool because they were very hot and I was unable to pick one up without great discomfort.
When they had cooled, I picked one up and dunked it in the sauce and took a bite. These were very good. The wrapper was crisp and hot and not soggy in any way. The filling was a combination of thinly sliced vegetables and some minced pork. The vegetables still had some crunch and the pork was seasoned with black pepper and some garlic salt. The soy sauce was a nice compliment to the spring rolls. It wasnt thick and sweet, so it didnt dominate the taste, only enhancing it. I would order these again.
After finishing the spring rolls, I watched the Suns game again and received my Pork Tenderloin shortly thereafter. The plate had three substantial pieces of tenderloin in the center with a cheesy potato casserole and some green beans. A small ramekin of a stone ground mustard sauce was on the side.
The pork was cooked perfectly and still very moist and tender. The mustard sauce was absolutely delicious with a nice bite to it and a touch of sweetness. Combined with the pork, it was fantastic. The cheesey potato casserole was good, but nothing stellar. Shredded potatoes had been combined with sharp cheddar cheese and baked. Tasty and filling to be sure, but wasnt anything to write home about.
The green beans, on the other hand, were awful. I mean, completely terrible and Keegans should not have been serving them. They were right out of the frozen food section with that rubbery texture and the dismal taste. Even the fried onions that topped the beans couldnt save these vegetables that needed to be put out of their misery. Why Keegans felt that these would do anything to enhance a dinner of a good pork tenderloin is beyond me.
The pork and the potatoes were enough to satisfy my hunger and I had another round of Diet Coke and water before asking for my bill. Service at Keegans was decent and the people were very friendly. The total bill was $23.62, including tax, and I paid the bill before exiting.
Keegans is not an exciting place, unless you are there to grab a pint of beer and catch a game. However, it is a good place with some solid food choices and I would recommended it for a bite to eat.
Well, except for the green beans.
Keegans Grill and Tap Room
3114 East Camelback Road
Phoenix, AZ 85016
Notes: Other locations in Chandler and Ahwatukee
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