A colleague recently told me of a study claiming that cheese is just as addictive as hard drugs. I don’t know about the validity of that, but if it’s even a little true, The State Bar should have a lot of repeat customers.
There is a lot of cheese and a lot of comfort in this little restaurant and bar that recently opened in Louie’s familiar old spot on State Street. The menu has a small selection of sandwiches, salads, soups and sides, and any of the items seem like they could have come straight out of your mom’s kitchen.
We started with the Uncle Sam and Cheese ($7), a basic ham and cheese on toasted sourdough. The satisfyingly simple sandwich’s thick slab of ham is complemented by melty provolone and colby Jack and buttery bread.
We chose to pair it with the smoked tomato basil bisque, which was my favorite thing we ate. If you are worried about the closure of Chelsea’s, you may want to stop by The State and try its grilled cheese and tomato soup. It’s not exactly the same, but it’ll hit the spot. The soup is creamy, with a little texture and a slightly spicy finish that leaves you wanting more.
Next up was The Roast Beast — a pot roast sandwich that tasted like it had been cooking all day ($8). Accompanying the beef were carrots and caramelized onions, which provided an unexpected hint of sweetness and an interesting texture. Horseradish aoili and au jus served on the side were excellent for dipping.
The description for The Marvin Lee ($8) had many of my favorite keywords — bacon, brown sugar and meatloaf. It did not disappoint. The thick cut of meat was comfort food at its finest, both juicy and delicious.
My one qualm on both the meatloaf and pot roast sandwiches was the cheese. I am a huge fan in general, but the taste of the thick slice on both sandwiches somewhat overwhelmed the other flavors. Next time, I think I’ll try one without the cheese — I have the feeling I’ll be even more impressed.
On the side, we tried the fries ($3) and the mac and cheese ($4). The fries are cut in an interesting shape, and the beer-batter crust gives them an extra hint of flavor and crunch. The mac and cheese isn’t anything particularly special, but it isn’t heavy, which I appreciated.
We visited The State at mid-day, and you could tell it had only recently started opening for lunch. The one waitress serving everyone didn’t write down our order and consequently got one of our sides mixed up. She was nice about it, and we received free fries as compensation.
The service was on the slow side, especially considering that the restaurant wasn’t crowded. However, those are minor quibbles that I feel confident will be worked out with time.
And the food is worth any hassle.