Friday, September 25, 2020
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The Villages

Miller’s Ale House’s food and friendly service should keep diners coming back

More than 20 years ago, we went to the Miller’s Ale House restaurant in Jensen Beach and my kids and I got hooked on the Big Red chicken sandwich.

I hadn’t eaten at an Ale House since those days – the kids are now grown – and to say that I was looking forward to having that sandwich and those fond memories come rushing back would be a huge understatement.

Miller’s Ale House is located at 635 N. Highway 27/441 in Lady Lake in the new Earth Fare Commons shopping center.

The seating at the Lady Lake Ale House extends to an additional open-air bar and dining section, where huge glass-paned garage doors can be opened to the outside.

This was our third visit to the new Lady Lake Miller’s Ale House, located at 635 N Hwy. 27/441 in the Earth Fare Commons shopping center. Once again, our wait time was a short 15 minutes – we went after the lunch rush. When you enter, your name and phone number go on the wait list and your cell phone is used as the pager.

‘Coach Cat’ came to the Lady Lake Miller’s Ale House from the Alpharetta, Ga. eatery.

The delightful atmosphere is the same as I remember way back when. Big-screen televisions mounted on walls all around the restaurant, as well as booth, table, high tops and bar seating. The seating also extends to an additional open-air bar and dining section where huge glass-paned garage doors can be opened to the outside.

A bit of backstory on the place is that Jack and Claire Miller opened the first Miller’s Ale House in 1988 in Jupiter as a local place to be enjoyed by all walks of life. They currently have 88 locations in 13 states – and they’re still growing.

While we waited for our meal, we met “Coach Cat,” who was brought in from the Alpharetta, Ga., location to help train the staff and open the restaurant. She was very personable and genuinely happy to be there. She said she’ll be back periodically to check on things and she told us that coaches were brought in from many other states to assist in the opening – from kitchen to bar to server staff.

The Warm Bavarian Pretzel comes with two dips – beer-cheese sauce and English pub mustard.

The Creamy Spinach and Artichoke Dip comes with warm tortilla chips and both Monterey Jack cheese and roasted jalapeño salsa for dipping.

On this visit, our foursome started the meal off with two different sharable appetizers. The Warm Bavarian Pretzel came with two dips – beer-cheese sauce and English pub mustard. The warm pretzel was very large, crunchy on the outside and warm and doughy on the inside – just perfect. The cheese sauce is thick, creamy and quite cheesy. The English pub mustard is definitely an “acquired” taste. It was a bit vinegary and sour and we just didn’t care for it.

We also got the Creamy Spinach and Artichoke Dip that comes with warm tortilla chips and both Monterey Jack cheese and roasted jalapeño salsa for dipping. We really didn’t think the artichoke dip was particularly special, however, it was a good recipe with spot-on flavor. Both appetizers were large and easily sharable between the four of us.

The Big Red is a crispy buttermilk-marinated boneless chicken breast tossed in hot sauce, Monterey Jack and cheddar cheese on a toasted black-and-white sesame bun.

The Slow-Roasted Prime Rib French Dip comes with sautéed onions and Swiss cheese on a warm hoagie roll served with a side of au jus and seasoned fries.

I, of course, ordered the Big Red. It’s a Crispy buttermilk-marinated boneless chicken breast tossed in hot sauce, Monterey Jack and cheddar cheese on a toasted black-and-white sesame bun. This sandwich is literally overflowing the bun. If you don’t eat it with a knife and fork, you’ll just have to cut it in half and pile it on top of each other to eat it in the bun. It came with a side of seasoned fries. I’m glad they never changed the recipe. It was just as good as I remember – hot and spicy and enough to bead-up a sweat!

One of my dining companions had the Slow-Roasted Prime Rib French Dip with sautéed onions, Swiss cheese on a warm hoagie roll served with a side of au jus and seasoned fries. It was overstuffed with perfectly roasted prime rib, sliced to perfection and the au jus was hot and beefy without a heavy film of fat floating on the top.

The Flat Iron Steak with Boom Boom Shrimp features a 7-ounce piece of meat with 10 shrimp. A baked potato and a side of steamed broccoli complements the meal.

The Southwest Seared Flat Iron Steak Salad comes with garlic-balsamic-marinated steak, Monterey Jack and cheddar cheeses, Roma tomatoes, cucumbers, black-bean-corn salsa, crispy onion tanglers, field greens with a Dijon-horseradish drizzle and balsamic vinaigrette dressing.

Another one of my companions ordered the Flat Iron Steak with Boom Boom Shrimp, a 7-ounce piece of meat with 10 shrimp. A baked potato and a side of steamed broccoli complemented the meal. The shrimp were fried, very spicy and quite tasty. But my companion wasn’t overly happy with the quality of the steak. It was a bit chewy and wasn’t something he would order again.

My fourth dining companion ordered the Southwest Seared Flat Iron Steak Salad. It was garlic-balsamic-marinated steak, Monterey Jack and cheddar cheeses, Roma tomatoes, cucumbers, black-bean-corn salsa, crispy onion tanglers, field greens with a Dijon-horseradish drizzle and balsamic vinaigrette dressing.

There’s plenty of seating and televisions inside the main bar area of the Miller’s Ale House in Lady Lake.

The French Onion Soup was perfectly prepared and quite tasty.

Our server returned a short while later and advised us that you cannot order the steak to the temperature you prefer, as it would only be cooked one way. Here again, the flat iron steak was very chewy and was a bit too sinewy and grizzly. The salad greens and toppings were fresh and crispy, but the steak took away from the overall meal.

We didn’t have room for dessert, but their signature dish is the Pull N’ Pop Donuts – four layers of warm and airy glazed donut bites with hot fudge and caramel for dipping advertised as “Pull ’em apart and pop ’em in your mouth.” We’ll definitely save room for those on our next visit.

The Pull N’ Pop Donuts are four layers of warm and airy glazed donut bites with hot fudge and caramel for dipping, advertised as ‘Pull ’em apart and pop ’em in your mouth.’

I think the chef will have to address that flat iron steak issue at some point. Maybe it was just that particular delivery, but we certainly won’t write this restaurant off due to one item.

Miller’s Ale House offers daily lunch and dinner specials, early dining meals Monday through Thursday from 3-5 p.m. and a kid’s menu. And for those who enjoy a nice drink, the eatery boasts a full-service bar and 75 different kinds of cold brews and craft beer selections.

Click HERE for the full menu and hours of operation.

In summary, we will be back again. There are so many more dishes to try. The friendly servers were always smiling, the food comes out quickly at the right temperature (hot or cold), beverage refills were prompt and the server and floor staff checked in on us regularly.

High tops, booths, tables and bar seating area available at the new Miller’s Ale House.

Sports fans will find plenty of television viewing options at the Lady Lake Miller’s Ale House.

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