Green Acres Supper Club, Sauk City
Read our previous review of Green Acres, from before the pandemic.
Of the things we’ve missed most during the COVID-19 pandemic, driving around the state and visiting Supper Clubs is atop the list (who would have guessed?). So when supper clubs started reopening for carryout, we were naturally interested. It’s a strange concept; carryout at a supper club. Particularly when we’ve written at length about how much of the appeal of supper clubs is the atmosphere; the decor and the people. Not to mention the slowed down pace of the experience; sipping old fashioneds at the bar for an hour or more; meals that arrive in slow waves of courses. Only the complete absence of supper clubs in our life for more than two months could make the idea of getting carryout from a supper club conceivable, even appealing.
So when Jean and I decided it was time to end our involuntary abstinence, the decision of where to dine felt like a weighty one. We agreed that it made sense to pick one that was relatively close to our house so that our food would hold up okay until we got home to eat. We decided to order from Green Acres in Sauk City, which we’ve written about before. Green Acres is about a half hour’s drive from our house, far away enough to feel like we were getting out, but close enough for the food to hold up.
When we pulled into the parking lot, we were about the only people there. There was a sign on the front door marked “carryout entrance”, so I headed in and was immediately greeted from behind the bar by an employee who asked if I was here for a pick up. I gave her our name for the order, which was all packed up and ready to go. While she was running my credit card I noticed the side entrance across from the bar was marked “carryout exit.” The bartender handed me my credit card and food, and I headed out the exit back towards the car where Jean was waiting. I can’t imagine how stressful a time this must be to work at or run a supper club. I have to commend the folks at Green Acres for making the unfamiliar experience of supper club carryout an easy one.
Back at home, we had our entrees and sides, but now our task was to try to replicate the rest of the supper club experience at home. In charge of ambiance, Jean dimmed the lights, opting for the soft lighting of a candle and my Blatz beer sign. She also put a Nat King Cole record on the turntable.
Meanwhile, I headed into the kitchen to try and whip up a relish tray and some old fashioneds, which were not on offer from the carryout menu as far as we could tell. I cut up some cucumber coins and celery, and finally had an excuse to dust off my old crinkle cut slicer for the carrots. I also made a quick vegetable dip from sour cream and lemon pepper, dried basil, and garlic powder.
For drinks we had some premixed, bottled old fashioneds that Jean had bought on a whim a while back which had been sitting in the back of the liquor cabinet ever since. Unfortunately, we didn’t have any pickled mushrooms, cherries or oranges on hand, so our drinks had to forgo any kind of garnish. I was disappointed until I read the word “whiskey” on the side of the bottle, at which point I realized these old fashioneds were doomed from the start.
I brought out the drinks and relish tray. Jean and I decided to spend at least a few minutes with just the relish tray and drinks before getting into the other food in order to approximate the pacing of a supper club meal. I gotta say the bottled whiskey old fashioneds were not as bad as I thought they’d be, probably because it had been a while since I’d had one. It seems strange to review my own relish tray, as part of supper club review, but these are strange times. Even stranger since I have to give it pretty low marks, on account of the dip tasted okay but it had kind of a gritty texture from being saturated by all the seasonings mentioned above. I’m glad I made an attempt, as it was better than no relish tray at all, but from here on out I plan on leaving it to the professionals.
We also got into the loaf of bread at this point, which we decided to reheat in the microwave so it would be warm at a restaurant. We had to supply our own butter, which I had neglected to take out of the fridge so that it would be room temperature. I compensated for the lack of spreadability by just covering my entire slice of bread with a few thin pats of butter.
Next we had the shrimp cocktail, which ended up being one of my favorite parts of the meal. The jumbo shrimp were succulent and the cocktail sauce was superb, with the perfect amount of horseradish kick.
We opened up our salad containers next. Rather than eating them out of the take out containers, we decided to put on airs, plating them on our own glass lettuce plates. Jean got hers with french dressing and I got a combo of french and blue cheese. I really liked the french dressing because it had celery seed in it, but as Jean is not a big fan of celery seed, it wasn’t for her. A notable feature of these house salads is the single, giant crouton. Basically, it’s a slice of crispy, buttery toast, perfect for soaking up extra dressing left on the plate after you’ve finished your salad.
The time had finally come for the entrees. I had selected the Saturday night prime rib with a side of wild rice pilaf. Jean ordered barbecue baby back ribs. While it was nice to have spaced out the courses of our meal the way we did, it did mean our entrees were not quite piping hot. Jean saw no harm in microwaving her ribs for a bit, but I was skeptical of doing the same thing to my prime rib. Would it be better to eat it lukewarm, or reheat and risk overcooking it past “medium” like I had ordered it? In the end, Jean convinced me to go for it, and like always, she was right. It only took about one minute in the microwave to warm it up, and I noticed no change in the pink color of the inner part of the prime rib. Jean’s ribs were fall-off-the-bone tender, and the barbecue sauce was flavorful with a little zip, but not too spicy.
In the end, it was clear that supper club take out is very different from the experience of dining in. Much like a virtual happy hour or a drive-by birthday celebration, it’s no substitute for the real thing, but given the circumstances, it’s a welcome respite. We hope to be back to dining in soon!