The newest location of Thirsty Lion Gastropub & Grill is a stellar addition to SanTan Village in Gilbert. Thirsty Lion Pub & Grill features craft beers on tap, creative, signature cocktails and handcrafted foods that are head and shoulders above what you would normally expect from a pub. In fact, when I recently visited Thirsty Lion before the grand opening, I was in awe of the fresh and innovative menu items and just as excited with the service.
“What is a mule?” asked my friend, who accompanied me to Thirsty Lion on a preview night. “Does it come with a saddle?” I laughed and laughed. But, she was serious! I’m not quite sure how she has survived this long without having tried a mule, but I called over a server who gladly explained the popular cocktail to her. We decided to order two mules and we were ecstatic with the result. The Moscow Mule at Thirsty Lion is a perfect example of a mule – ginger beer, Smirnoff Vodka, lime juice, simple syrup and a lime wedge. Especially with the inferno-laced weather that will be descending upon us in just a few weeks, I would suggest checking out that Moscow Mule and a few other cocktails at Thirsty Lion.
Other unique cocktails include Fresh Pressed Grapefruit Greyhound (Deep Eddy Ruby Red Vodka, Fee Brothers’ Grapefruit Bitters and fresh-pressed grapefruit juice), Copper City Sidecar (Copper City Bourbon, triple sec, orange juice and sweet and sour) and the Fresh Fruit Sangria (E&J Brandy, cabernet wine, triple Sec, fresh orange and lime wedges, soda and simple syrup.) The very generous cocktail and libation menu is rounded out by a generous menu of craft beer, wine and ciders on tap. Of particular note – Thirsty Lion boasts Mix & Match Craft Beer Flights with six, 4.5 oz. beer samples for only $10!
Next up, we ordered from the preview night menu. For starters, we chose the Sesame Seared Ahi Tuna. This dish was simply unforgettable. It features spice-rubbed and seared ahi tuna cleverly arranged to camouflage a mound of fresh jicama slaw. Framing the dish on either side was a seamless trio of sriracha aoli, ginger soy glaze and wasabi. This dish was a perfect combination of flavors and textures and serves as a great appetizer to share and is enough for a full meal. The slaw is the best summer style slaw I have ever tasted and the culinary crew at Thirsty Lion deserves props for that. It is so easy to mess up a slaw by drenching it in too much sauce or leaving it too bare and dry. Thirsty Lion dialed it in and got the sauce and slaw ingredients just right! Other starters include Bacon Wrapped Dates, Traditional Scotch Eggs, Grilled Fresh Artichoke, a couple of different types of sliders and flatbreads and much more.
Our server explained that the I.P.A. Beer Battered Fish & Chips are among one of their most popular menu items, but we zigged, then zagged and chose two other menu items instead. My friend (you remember? The one who asked if the mule came with a saddle…) ordered up the Baja Fish Tacos. When they showed up to the table, they were bursting with color and fresh ingredients. The trio of tacos included sautéed cod, chipotle aioli, cilantro lime slaw, pico de gallo and cotija cheese tucked into white corn tortillas and served with a side of Santa Fe bacon black beans. My friend, who happens to be somewhat of a Valley fish taco connoisseur, said that these Baja Fish Tacos were really great and beautifully constructed. She’s my best friend, so you can take that observation to the bank.
For my entrée, I chose the Grilled Sirloin Steak (shouldn’t they call it SirLION Steak?). I ordered it medium and the kitchen got it just right! How often do you go out and order a steak and they just can’t seem to cook it properly?Thirsty Lion cooked my sirloin steak to perfection and it was accompanied by fresh mashed potatoes and perfectly al dente green beans. I would say the rosemary and garlic char-grilled sirloin steak was the best steak I’ve had anywhere in the Valley this year. Other entrees on the menu include Sonoran Chicken Enchilada Stack, Grilled Atlantic Salmon, Orange Chicken and a huge variety of salads, burgers, sandwiches and brick oven hand-tossed pizzas.
Obviously the kitchen crew at Thirsty Lion is on point and I’m looking forward to returning.
Alas, our evening came to an end and there was no room left for dessert, but next time I return, I shall indulge in the blackberry cobbler and explore the beer and cider menus more in-depth.
Thirsty Lion Gastropub & Grill San Tan Village is located at 2212 E. Williams Field Rd. in Gilbert. Call (480) 899-0119 or visit www.thirstyliongastropub.com.