The Food Guy: Fairways tees up the area’s best new brunch

After falling in love with the views, ambiance and food served at the former Adventures Bar & Grill up at Eagle View, I was crushed when the restaurant closed its doors last year.

Over the course of several great meals there, I came to know owner Osh Assi as an incredibly passionate chef who is committed to preparing and serving food the “right way” — cutting no corners — even though his from-scratch approach and commitment to quality ingredients both take a lot more time and money to maintain.

That doesn’t matter to him. If you’re going to do something you should do it right, he once told me, so he spends a lot of time in the kitchen making all of his own stocks, sauces and bases that he’ll later transform into magic on a plate.

After Adventures closed, I vowed to someday pay a visit to Osh’s original restaurant in Hurricane, Fairways Bar & Grill, which I’d also heard great things about.

That day came this past Saturday when we found ourselves in that area with an extra hour to kill before a swim meet. That seemed like the perfect time to not only finally check out the place, but also give its new Saturday brunch menu a spin.

It was love at first sight, even though that first sight is seeing the place attached to the side of a gas station. But don’t let that unlikely location scare you, because inside lies a really cozy bar, tapas room and restaurant serving up seriously good food.

While sipping a freshly made hot latte and iced mocha, my 12-year-old mini-me and I scanned a creative menu of brunch options, most of which include a different spin or two to make them stand out.

So you’ll see things like farm-fresh eggs, but with basil pesto, onions, kalamata olives, artichokes, red peppers and a blend of cheeses. Chicken and waffles, but with spicy sriracha maple syrup, fruit and powdered sugar. A breakfast pizza, but with refried beans, pineapple pico, jalapeno and shredded cheese. And steak and eggs, but with a house-made mushroom sauce.

It was impossible for us to decide on just two dishes — only one each, what kind of madness is that? — so we sampled four. For the sake of a more thorough food review, of course.

The grilled Cajun shrimp and grits are almost beyond description, but I’ll try to find the words. To make his grits, Osh starts with homemade stock and makes them “risotto-style,” slow cooking them for a long period of time, adding stock, cooking even longer, then hitting them with a healthy splash of cream near the end.

The result are grits that are impossibly rich and creamy, yet still have that satisfying, slightly al dente bite. A rich cheddar sauce, scallions and parsley adorn the top, and the plump shrimp circling the dish were perfectly cooked and seasoned as well.

The Monte Cristo features not the traditional ham and cheese, but a thick layer of salami, pepperoni, prosciutto and smoked Gouda sandwiched inside slices of French toast, then dunked in Sriracha maple syrup for a savory, sweet and salty trifecta. It came with a mound of home fries on the side, plus I added a couple slices of crispy bacon. Because, bacon.

We could’ve left happy right there, but there was more “work” to be done in the form of a large plate of pumpkin tiramisu-stuffed French toast drizzled with chocolate and Grand Mariner-soaked strawberries, and then a large skillet full of Osh’s take on corned beef hash.

Unlike minced and sometimes mushy beef you usually find flecked in this dish elsewhere, this interpretation featured sliced brisket that had been house-marinated for 24 hours, then blended with potatoes, onions, red pepper, scallions, cheese and a trio of glistening, over-easy eggs on top.

Boozy drink options are just as creative, featuring your choice of a do-it-yourself Bloody Mary bar with all the things (including bacon and shrimp skewers), red or sparkling white sangria, and mimosas ranging from classic, peach, pineapple, mango, cranberry-lime and pomegranate to fancier bourbon cooler and tequila sunrise versions.

I still can’t believe I only had coffee.

And now that I’ve tasted first-hand what Fairways can do for brunch, I’m totally going back early and often to enjoy a dinner menu of appetizers like ahi tuna, crab-stuffed mushrooms, three-cheese spinach fondue, calamari with Thai-chili sauce, deep-fried goat cheese with sugar and honey; impressive cheese and charcuterie selections; hearty salads; and more than 20 diverse sandwiches, flatbreads and premium burgers.

There are also entrees like filet mignon or Angus Coulotte sirloin, lump crab cakes, grilled creole mahi, cedar-plank salmon with chile-apricot glaze, lobster mac ‘n’ cheese, Cajun chicken pasta and more, plus mouthwatering house-made desserts.

Just like Christmas morning, I can hardly stand the wait!

IF YOU GO: Fairways Bar & Grill at 3706 Teays Valley Road in Hurricane is open 4 to 11 p.m. Monday through Thursday, 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. for brunch and 4 p.m. to midnight for dinner Friday and Saturday, closed Sunday. After the first of the year, the restaurant will be open for lunch 11 a.m. to 2 p.m. Wednesday-Thursday as well. For more information, call 304-757-5540 or visit www.fairwayswv.com.

Steven Keith writes a weekly food column for the Charleston Gazette-Mail. He can be reached at 304-380-6096 or by e-mail at wvfoodguy@aol.com. You can also follow him on Facebook as “WV Food Guy” and on Twitter, Instagram and Pinterest as “WVFoodGuy.”

Funerals for Saturday, February 15, 2020

Adkins, Talmadge - Noon, Chapman Funeral Home, Winfield.

Bailey, Charles - 1 p.m., Long & Fisher Funeral Home, Sissonville.

Barker Jr., Fletcher - 2 p.m., Chapmanville Regional High School.

Billups, Clayton - 2 p.m., Handley Funeral Home, Danville.

Bonham, Janice - 1 p.m., Fidler & Frame Funeral Home, Belle.

Brown, Deborah - 1 p.m., Dodd & Reed Funeral Home, Webster Springs.

Browning, Jody - 3 p.m., Roush Funeral Home, Ravenswood.

Burnette, Richard - 2 p.m., Little Creek Golf Course, South Charleston.

Fitzwater, Dixie - 2 p.m., Campbell Memorial Baptist Church, Smithers.

Harris, Sarah - 11 a.m., John H. Taylor Funeral Home, Spencer.

Johnson, Kevin - 3 p.m., Gateway Christian Church, St. Albans.

Johnson Jr., Roy - Noon, Fayetteville Presbyterian Church, Fayetteville.

Johnston, Lyn - 6 p.m., Cooke Funeral Home Chapel, Cedar Grove.

Kerby, Beulah - 2 p.m., First Baptist Church, Grantsville.

Moore, Carroll - 2 p.m., Medina Community Church.

Nunley, Ramona - 11 a.m., Keller Funeral Home, Dunbar.

Panzera Jr., Joseph - 11 a.m., Saint Agnes Catholic Church, Kanawha City.

Tucker, Danny - 1 p.m., Schowen Cemetery, Bancroft.

Welch, Roy - 1 p.m., Grace Bible Church, Charleston.

Wilson, Ruby - 11 a.m., Montgomery Memorial Park.