We have seen different restaurants coming and going in the Pleasanton Hotel.
A new restaurant, , has recently checked in and if I were a betting person, I would put money on this place sticking around for a while.
With four partners coming together to bring this restaurant to fruition, it is not surprising that it has a well-thought-out plan to please almost every diner who might walk through the doors.
Right when you walk in, it's clear the dining atomosphere has a little something for everyone.
Partner Dave Ritterbush explained that at Handles, if you want a more upscale dining experience with linen tableclothes and a quiet, calm atomosphere, you would chose the dining room.
But you could want a more lively area with a bar, and for this you would chose the "public house" section of the restaurant. They also have a beautiful patio area for outdoor dining.
Ritterbush explained that they are a pub in the sense of having lots of beer. The beer selection includes lots of craft beers, rather than domestic brands. Knowing that some of the focus was going to be on the beer, they didn't want to do that with the exclusion of non-beer drinkers.
It turns out Handles not only has nearly 40 beers on tap, plus more than a dozen of the bottled variety, but they also have quite a wine selection with 16 different wines on tap plus wines from all over California as well as Argentina, New Zealand, France, Italy, and Germany.
If you aren't a wine or beer drinker, they still have you covered with some additional cocktail selections.
The servers are very knowledgeable about the beers and wines and can help steer you in the right direction when trying to pair a drink with your meal. Y
ou may want to start off with their flights and bites just for fun — three 5 oz. craft beers selections (they change daily) for $5. There is also a three-wine flight (2oz. each) for $6. They even have a flight and bite option in which the chef will bring out three bites to complement either flight for $11.
You may choose a heartier starter and Handles has you covered. You might try Drunken Calamari (pale ale, buttermilk, and cornmeal crusted calamari) for $10.95.
There are also BBQ wings for $9.95 or a artisanal cheese and fruit plate for $11.95. On my visit, we had the Fried Green Tomatoes. They were delicious with a corn relish, melted mozarella and basil aoili for $7.95.
There are soups of the day, chili, and a very tempting Belgian Ale Onion Soup on the menu. Six salad choices include a Turkey and Spinach salad for $11.95 and a Prawn and Butter Lettuce salad for $12.95.
There are four burger choices on the menu including a buffalo burger for $13.95 (others range from $9.95-$11.95). You can also find a Beef Brisket sandwich that is stout ale marinated and then smoked for $10.95 as well as BBQ Pork, Hot Pastrami, Turkey, and grilled Veggie ranging from $9.95 to $11.95
Handles has a nice selection of entrees, as well. I had the grilled wild salmon for $18.95. It was a nice, large piece of salmon that was tender and juicy. It came with squash risotto which was also yummy.
My companion had the O.M.G. Meatloaf. It wasn't meatloaf with the traditional bright red, tomato sauce, but rather a big piece of meatloaf with very nice flavors and a marinara sauce. The accompanying mashed potatoes were delicious as were the green beans with corn and tomato for $14.95.
You can also find a Chicken Pot Pie ($11.95), Steak and Fries ($21.95), Smoked pork loin chop ($17.95), Grilled chicken breast ($14.95), plus some other options.
A couple more fun facts about Handles; they buy local from Terra Bella Farms for produce and Brentwood for fruit. Their menu is also somewhat seasonal so plan to see up to a third of the menu change as the seasons are changing.
You may also want to check out their website from time to time as they will be featuring different types of live music in either their public room or patio on different days and times in the future.
One more thing I probably should mention is their fabulous carrot cake! It was served with a ginger snap that had a dollop of whipped cream and some glazed walnuts on top. Some of the whipped cream had also made it's way onto the cake which already had cream cheese frosting.
To look at this extravaganza, one would worry that you might take a bite and reach your suggested sugar intake for a month; however, it was perfectly balanced — not to sweet but simply delicious and definitely something worth trying.
Handles Gastropub 855 Main Street at the Pleasanton Hotel, Pleasanton (925) 399-6690 Sunday - Thursday: 11:30am – 10pm, Friday & Saturday: 11:30am – 1am.