BY JULIE R. NEIDLINGER
The Peacock Alley Restaurant in Bismarck, North Dakota has a few tricks up their sleeve. And those tricks are named bacon.
My friend and I went there before a concert, and because of its location in downtown Bismarck (same as the concert), we figured it was a sign. And also, darn convenient. You get the ambiance of a kind of classic old bar and restaurant wrapped up in the history of the hotel (which my father often reminds me that he stayed in on a senior trip). There is a creepy old man mannequin holding a tray of mints which, I’m fairly certain, is going to be the first thing to come to life during a zombie apocalypse, but we’re here to talk about other things.
Such as the menu.
The Peacock is known for its martinis and its Angus burgers. I’m not a big drinker, but I do like a burger, so I figured I had at least a 50 percent chance of hitting the highlights.
They seem to change their menu fairly frequently; I was intent on getting a particular flatbread dish that was no longer on the menu. So, we each ordered a house salad, and decided to share one burger due to their size, which is roughly one cow per burger. We also ordered the Caramel Bacon Fritters, because what they heck was that? The appetizer menu described them as stuffed bacon fritters drizzled with Ghirardelli caramel sauce.
Our salads came out first, and it was quite a bit more than I expected from a simple house salad. It came with a sweet bun and whipped butter, which was delicious and frankly, I could have stopped eating then. But, you know, when you’re out on the town you might as well put on ten pounds.
The caramel bacon fritters were next and yes. You should order these the next time you go to the Peacock Alley.
The fritter dough is sweet, and it’s filled with finely chopped bacon, drizzled with caramel and sprinkles of salt. What you have is a lovely combination of sweet and salty, soft and crunchy. Do share this with others at your table; it’s pretty sweet and I can’t imagine you won’t spend some time in the bathroom if you eat the whole thing yourself. It’s very rich.
Next up was the burger and we pretty much inhaled it, so I have a photo of the plate it was on for about five seconds. I don’t know what it is they do with their burgers, but they are edged in something that tastes spectacular. Pepper and salt, sure, but something else. People always say things about “best burger ever”, but unless you have questionable meat with bone bits and gristle, it’s hard to ruin a burger. The burger here is quite possibly laced with narcotics*, for all I know, because it was so delicious I kept eating far beyond my capacity to hold food.
I’ve always been a fan of the french fries at Peacock Alley; I don’t know if they have some sort of sorcery in the kitchen, or if they’re positively medieval on changing the fat in the fryer, but I remember my short order cook days and getting fries this light and crispy isn’t always a given.
So all in all, the Peacock Alley turned us into absolute gluttons. The staff was friendly. We ate in the bar (I’m a big fan of the high top table).
Would we recommend it to our friends? Heck yes. Wear elastic-waisted pants.
*There are no narcotics in the food, people. It’s a metaphor.