The Sports Nut has been a powerhouse of flavors for quite a while. They have been known for a long time for the best wings in La Crosse and the sauces made in-house have won them many accolades. The place has been doing numerous things to keep stuff fresh. They have hired Chef Tom from Sheely House Saloon and are upping the game on specific days of the week. Thursdays now boast chef’s choice flavor bowls. I like the surprise factor, and they do post a pic on Facebook to check out but the mouth is the true decider if you’ll love it. Either way, it’s going to be good but you might get to experience a newfound favorite flavor. Sundays they have a different breakfast special from 9-12. They had a hot butter bourbon bacon jam. Which to me sounds like a dream.
In my opinion their in-house Friday night Korean is the hidden diamond of La Crosse. I almost don’t want to tell you about it as it’s pretty freaking special to me. I am a huge fan of Bibimbap. This comes with rice, veggies, and spicy beef or chicken. The marinades they use on their meats are flavors my white ass can’t comprehend but holey moley is good. The thing I like most is the experience. They bring out many mini bowls with all sorts of accouterments all of which offer flavors not commonly seen on the bar scene. Their house-made kimchi, one of them. So you get to chew on that while they are heating your stone bowl up to 100s of degrees, they toss in the rice and the veggies and crack a raw egg on top. This egg finds its way down to the bowl and cooks making the rice layer that touches the bowl a golden crunch something I never knew I wanted in rice. This process takes about five minutes. In front of you, the subtle sizzle sirens you to stir, and so you do mixing it all together. In the agitation, the steam bellows out and teases you of flavors to come. A bite with everything in there is what I like, with a dash of the gochujang sauce, is a one-of-a-kind flavor. I wish I had a picture to do it justice but I do not. You’ll just have to see for yourself.
They do offer some Korean staples throughout the week as well. I had their kimchi fries and the eggrolls.
The kimchi is awesome there, so obviously, their fries are too. The thing that surprised me was the crunch maintained throughout the experience. I believe the cabbage of the kimchi tends to protect the fries from the sauce that’s drizzled upon the top. It’s piled high and best shared but my sausagey self had no trouble downing the lot of it. They toss in the marinated beef then coat in shredded cheese, sprinkle some green onion on it, and call it a masterpiece. Kimchi if you’ve never had it is fermented cabbage with ginger, garlic, and scallions with the special ingredient of Gochugaru (Korean Chili flakes). It has a ton of flavor yet is stubble in its delivery. I would say it’s a very palatable spice to our weak Wisconsin pallets. If I get too spicy I end up in a hiccuping rage that takes an embarrassingly long time to stop. While we are on the topic of fries I would recommend Stolpa’s fry sauce, its a Wisconsin take on Utah fry sauce and I am happy to say it’s quite good, a smokey zest to my fries is always welcome.
Honestly, they got some rockin’ sauces and if I could I would just want a sauce bar to dip my fries, wings, whatever the things into the buffet of greatness.
Next up are the eggrolls all made and rolled in-house as well. Suki, the wielder of flavor, wraps every one of these with care. They come out piping hot and if you want to taste for the next couple of days wait a couple of minutes because it’s super fresh from the frier. My puny millennial patience cuts it in half and takes a bite. I knew it would be too hot for my mouth but I did it anyway and for the next 30 seconds I was breathing in weird ways to get my mouth to chill out. Its crunch was great flaking as it was breaking. The pork and cabbage are flavored to perfection. The sauce is cool and sweet with a hint of heat at the end.
There isn’t a day of the week Sports Nut doesn’t have some good food goin’ on. I love this place because it underlines America. We have all kinds of food here and who doesn’t love a good sport. Sports Nut offers delish classic American food or downright amazing Korean. I believe they now boast a bit of Mexican as well, all found under the same roof. Merica.
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La Crosse Local is an arts, food, and entertainment podcast and publication for La Crosse County and its surrounding communities.
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