Follow path to Snohomish’s Trails End for nice pub fare

I have a new favorite place to go for lunch.

A tavern with modern decorative touches, Trail’s End Taphouse and Restaurant in Snohomish seems to be a favorite of locals, too. On an early Sunday afternoon, we were seated immediately, but it wasn’t long before there was a short wait for others coming in. The brewpub, a few blocks from the tourist area of Snohomish, drew families, couples and groups of friends.

In spite of the full house, service was spot on. Our server always had a smile on her face and obligingly answered our questions. Our appetizer, entrees, beverages and refills arrived quickly.

Choosing from the two-page tap list, however, could take time for the indecisive. The 27 selections of beer, from both permanent and rotating taps, was impressive. Each type of beer — available by pint, schooner or growler — had a detailed description: “Snoqualmie Haystack Hefeweizen: Spicy-citrusy aroma that carries over to a clean, mellow flavor with spice, citrus and yeast overtones,” and “Fort George Java the Hop: Mornings are for coffee and evenings are for beer, so Java the Hop is timeless. As you raise this pint to your nose there is absolutely no doubt what you are getting — a coffee IPA.”

While the beer choices are many, the food menu is more modest, but certainly sufficient. The lunch menu features six panini sandwiches. They include the Italian Stallion ($6 for half or $9 for a whole), with pepperoni, salami, mozzarella, roasted red peppers, wilted spinach and balsamic glaze; the Reuben ($7 and $9.50), pastrami, Swiss cheese, sauerkraut, caramelized onions and Thousand Island dressing; and the Trail’s Ender ($8 and $10.50), grilled chicken breast, bacon, Swiss cheese and ranch dressing. All paninis come with your choice of potato or pasta salad or house-made potato chips.

My husband, Tom, ordered the Smoke Bomb panini ($7 and $9.50), thin slices of smoked turkey, smoked Gouda, bacon, tomato and honey mustard. The sandwich arrived nice and warm from the panini press with a scoop of potato salad.

Tom loved the smoky flavors of the sandwich and the potato salad, which was chunky with bits of bacon. My chowder-loving husband and I ordered clam chowder ($2.50 when added to a sandwich order) on the side. It passed muster, with lots of clam pieces, vegetables and flavor.

Their six hand-thrown pizzas include the Margherita ($10), tomato sauce, fresh mozzarella, fresh tomato slices, basil and shaved parmesan; Smoked Salmon and Arugula with garlic cream sauce ($11); and Buffalo Chicken ($12), which I tried. Small pieces of modestly spicy chicken work well with the blue cheese crumbles and ranch sauce. The pies have a somewhat thin, flavorful crust.

Several salads and starters sound as interesting as the paninis and pizzas.

After 4 p.m., the paninis are replaced with two steak options (a 12-ounce New Your steak and a 12-ounce rib eye; $21 each), a chicken breast, a steak sandwich, pork chops and salmon. You could also choose from four pasta dishes: chicken linguine, crab macaroni and cheese, beef stroganoff and sea scallop linguine ($15 to $18).

We are eager to try something from the dinner menu. We thought of several people we’d like to take next time; it’s just the place to enjoy casual but carefully prepared food with friends.

Trails End Taphouse and Restaurant

511 Maple Ave., Snohomish; 360-568-7233;

www.trailsendcatering.com

Hours: 11 a.m. to 10 p.m. Sunday through Thursday; 11 a.m. to 11 p.m. Friday and Saturday.

Specialty: Homemade Northwest brewpub fare

Vegetarian options: Some

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