Northwest Herald

Mystery Diner in Ringwood: Spice up the workweek at the Rusty Nail Saloon

The Filet Mignon Sandwich at the Rusty Nail Saloon is Ringwood comes on a French bread roll.

There is something comforting about a neighborhood pub, where, even on the first visit, it’s easy to see the clientele is relaxed, bantering with staff, and, well, comfortable in the surroundings and enjoying their meals and drinks.

That’s the feeling a visitor gets upon entering the Rusty Nail Saloon in Ringwood on a busy Friday night.

Rusty Nail has a variety of dining rooms and a large outdoor patio area, which is where we settled in for the night’s experience, and ordered a drink and an appetizer.

Being a stone’s throw from the Wisconsin state border, we chose the Wisconsin Cheese Curds ($10), accompanied by homemade ranch dressing. We received a hefty serving of curds, and the batter covering the flavorful cheese was thin and crisp. These were good.

Rusty Nail’s menu is diverse, including burgers, sandwiches, salads, pizza, wings, pasta, broasted chicken, ribs and entrees including steak, shrimp and lobster tail.

Two items on the Friday menu called to us, the Filet Mignon Sandwich ($16) and the Fish Fry ($14).

The Filet Mignon Sandwich was ordered medium, and that is how we received it, hot off the grill. And it was a great piece of meat – juicy, tender and succulent. The filet comes on French bread, which soaked up the juices. And the accompanying baked potato was meaty and cooked well. This dish was a highlight of the night.

The Fish Fry at the Rusty Nail Saloon in Ringwood offers a choice of baked or beer battered haddock.

Meanwhile, the menu proclaimed the Fish Fry was an “award winner nine years in a row.” The meal included two pieces of haddock with the choice of baked, beer-battered or a combination. We chose the combination, and there was a lot of fish to enjoy. The beer-battered piece had a flavorful coating over a thin piece of haddock. The baked piece was about an inch thick, and basted with butter with a dusting of paprika. The baked piece was our favorite.

The Fish Fry came with coleslaw, and we chose the potato cakes as a side. The cakes were dense, and after the fish and cheese curds, we could barely finish one. We went home with half of the fish meal to enjoy later.

The Rusty Nail Saloon is a good place to end a workweek, with a rustic atmosphere, attentive staff and good food. We will be back.

On a sweet side note, the owners launched Rusty Malts Coffee & Ice Cream next door.

• The Mystery Diner is an employee at the Northwest Herald. The diner’s identity is not revealed to the restaurant staff before or during the meal. The Mystery Diner visits a different restaurant and then reports on the experience. If the Mystery Diner cannot recommend the establishment, we will not publish a review.

• Seeking reader suggestions: We welcome readers to share their recommendations of places they would like the Mystery Diner to visit. Email ideas to tips@nwherald.com.

IF YOU GO

WHAT: Rusty Nail Saloon

WHERE: 4520 Ringwood Road, Ringwood

PHONE: 815-728-3017

INFORMATION: www.rustynailringwood.com