The building at 372 Elm St. in New Haven holds decades of history as a watering hole for townies and Yalies alike, from its days as the original location of Rudy's, to its housing of Elm Bar, to its current incarnation as Three Sheets. The decor has changed a bit over the years, but the place essentially feels like the same, familiar dive we've all known and loved, although Three Sheets feels much friendlier than my experiences with Elm Bar.
I was intrigued to see Three Sheets bill itself as a "gastrodive," and made it a point to try the food as soon as I could get a friend or two to tag along. Of course, I'd eaten my fair share of Rudy's frites, and I'd like to keep those delicious memories alive. Plus, a friend described the food as "stupid good." Overall, I agree.
A friend and I settled into the table by the front window one recent gorgeous spring day. We each had ordered a beer: a Schaefer tallboy ($3) and an Abita Strawberry Harvest ($6).
First out were the pickled fries, hand-cut french fries brined in pickle juice and flavored with salt, dill and vinegar ($4 for enough to split between at least three people). They are seriously unlike anything either of us had ever eaten. The pickled fries have a different texture than normal french fries: They are a bit more chewy than you'd expect, but have a great sour/tangy flavor that I almost couldn't get enough of.
We each ordered a main dish to split, going for the B.O.C. Burger ($12) and the grilled cheese ($7). The B.O.C. Burger is made with Four Mile River Farm beef and named for its toppings: bacon, grilled onions and cheddar cheese. It's served on a pretzel roll from New Haven's Whole-G bakery. The burger itself was tasty on its own, but alongside the toppings and pretzel bun, it was a mighty tasty, though slightly greasy, combo.
The grilled cheese, which was made with a blend of three cheeses, was delicious, greasy, cheesy goodness. We ordered the customary side of regular fries with the burger and opted for a side salad with the grilled cheese for balance. The regular fries are thicker than the pickled fries and seasoned with salt and pepper. The side salad came with balsamic dressing, and was fresh and plentiful.
We wrapped up our meal with an order of Stuffies, two Bear Neck quahogs stuffed with clam stuffing and jalapeno cornbread ($6.) Each one was about the size of a balled fist. The subtle spiciness of the jalapenos accented the sweetness of the cornbread.
I'm excited to go back to Three Sheets, to yes, eat more Stuffies, but to also try some of the other intriguing items on their menu, such as the fried pickles ($4.50), the Cali Burger ($12), and the chicken bacon ranch salad ($9).
Be sure to at least order some pickled fries next time you pop in there for a beer or two.
Three Sheet, 372 Elm St., New Haven, is open Monday to Thursday, 3 p.m. to 1 a.m.; Friday, 3 p.m. to 2 a.m.; Saturday, 11 a.m. to 2 a.m.; and Sunday, 11 a.m. to 1 a.m. Information: 475-202-6909 and http://www.threesheetsnh.com.Copyright © 2015, CT Now