How does this Phoenix sports bar score?
By Christopher Malone
I think there’s a food stigma with sports and even dive bars in general, going beyond just Oswego County or Central New York in that someone isn’t going to order great or fancy food.
The truth is sometimes fancy food isn’t that great. I have yet to enjoy a duck entrée which isn’t on the drier side.
And let’s be honest. There’s a great chance most food ordered while out is loaded with salt.
The formality of these eateries is to relax, go with the flow, order what you’re craving and just enjoy the moment. There is a guarantee: a plethora of televisions, sports décor and barroom games. Whether a team is winning or losing, moods will vary.
There’s nothing bland about Duskee’s.
The dingier exterior leads into a darker interior relying on the natural daylight pouring through the windows, gracing the walls and furnishings. The mural honoring Syracuse University is eye catching upon entering. It’s relaxing.
The bar boasts a bountiful amount of booze and suds — not an overzealous amount, but just enough. If there isn’t something catching an eye on draught, Duskee’s may have a can to satisfy the craving. Next to the bar is a chalkboard boasting the draught list and the day’s specials.
This is where Duskee’s told me about the rib mash bowl ($10.99) and the chicken bacon ranch panini ($10.99). I also ordered a beer ($6.24) to enjoy while awaiting the food.
The rib mash bowl is a mound of shaved prime rib, mashed potatoes and scallions all coated with a drizzle of horsey sauce (horseradish and mayo sauce). It’s a distinct group of ingredients adding up to comfort food perfection.
The rib wasn’t overly cooked or chewy, which made it very easy to cut up for my 1-year-old, who also enjoyed the option, including the horsey sauce. She couldn’t get enough of it, pointing to the plate and asking for more in the best way she could. This was even true with the leftovers. As much as I didn’t want to share, her excitement over the dish matched mine and this was good enough to give her more.
The chicken bacon ranch panini lived up to its name with the eponymous ingredients. The golden-brown toasted bread with charred lines was easily bit into. There was little concern for the chicken or bacon to fall out. Post panini, the chicken was slightly on the dry side but nothing to get up in arms about.
Instead of going for kettle chips, a side of macaroni and cheese pinch hit for a slight upcharge ($2). The basic side hit the spot. The macaroni had the perfect amount of cheese without a gloppy mess and wasn’t doctored up to pretend it was something it’s not. To agree with Goldilocks — it’s just right.
To not order wings at a sports bar would be sinful. To avoid confession, I satisfied my personal penance by ordering hot garlic parmesan wings ($15) — the beautifully meaty wings.
Duskee’s did not short on the hearty barroom staple. The kitchen made sure the garlic sauce was present and parmesan plentiful; it’s like they dumped two heaping handfuls on the one order. No complaints here. The wings were cooked very well as the meat fell right off the bone.
The kick was subdued most likely thanks to the cheese but it was still noticeable, which is perfect for patrons wanting a manageable little kick.
On Duskee’s menu are Philly-style cheese steaks. Since the trio has their own section, one had to be ordered. The Philly Firebird caught my eye for being spicy and for being fully loaded — shaved sirloin, roasted red peppers, banana peppers, green peppers, cherry peppers, onions, mushrooms and scallions.
That’s a lot. Plus, of course, it was all topped off with the house-made cheese sauce.
As they say — save the best for last. Frankly, it was the favorite menu item ordered. Further — I think it’s one of the best cheese steaks in Central New York. I’d go bolder and say this is one of the best in the state but I have not enjoyed that many New York cheesesteaks. My wife agrees. And, if she spoke, my daughter would agree as well.
The meat wasn’t overly seasoned, salty or spicy. The roll didn’t get soggy and neither did my mood.
Before tip, the total came to $67 and change ($64 and change if paying with cash) due to a 4% processing charge.
Duskee’s is a spot if you want hit the spot.
Duskee’s Sports Bar & Grill
8 Bridge St, Phoenix, NY 13135
Sunday: noon – 10 p.m.
Monday – Thursday: 11 a.m. – 11 p.m.
Friday and Saturday: 11 a.m. – midnight