It’s the holidays and I am enjoying the quiet rural life of my second home, in the south shore of Nova Scotia, just 10 minutes away from historic Lunenburg and zero minutes away from the ocean. When you think of small town Nova Scotia, you don’t often think of culinary awesomeness – but then again, one is often pleasantly surprised. Lunenburg is particularly blessed with a sizeable restaurant scene, as it is a UNESCO World Heritage Site favoured by tourists. However, much of Lunenburg closes down in the off-season, leaving residents with a limited selection. The Knot Pub is a year-round favourite of Lunenburg locals, as well as any tourists lucky enough to stumble upon this hole in the wall, barely noticeable from the street and a walk away from the waterfront. This is my favourite pub in the world, and a mandatory visit while in the Lunenburg area.
The first time I ate at The Knot was likely in 1995, when my family first moved from Dartmouth to Mahone Bay. I remember the first meal I ate there: The Philly & Fries. This is no ordinary Philly cheese steak sandwich. This is an open faced wonder of Sirloin slices, sauteed onions and green peppers, topped with melted mozzarella cheese. The steak bears no resemblance to the processed thin-sliced beef that you often find in the mediocre world of pub food. No! It is 4oz of perfectly sliced sirloin steak, smothered in cheese and veggies for only $6 ($9 with fries). If there is one thing I can say about The Knot, it’s that the prices can’t be beat for the quality you get.
The cream of mussel soup is a must-try for any lover of seafood, soup, or all things worthy of praise. It is a delicious and affordable appetizer at $4.50. If you try it and just can’t get enough, there is also a large size for $8.
One of our family favourites is the fish cakes and chutney ($10 with fries, $11 with salad). For a Maritimer, fish cakes are acceptable fare at breakfast, lunch, and dinner and are compatible with a range of sides – but I recommend the salad.
Perhaps the picture doesn’t do it justice, but there is just something about the salads at The Knot that makes them a fierce competitor to the French fries. The Greek salad is my favourite, but the Caesar is also quite respectable. Let me reiterate: the salads here are really good.
The Pub Club ($7.50 or $10.50 with fries) is The Knot’s best seller. A 4oz charbroiled chicken breast with tomato, lettuce, bacon, onion, melted mozza and your choice of mustard, the Pub Club is not your ordinary club house sandwich. But like your ordinary club house sandwich, the Pub Club boasts of an immense popularity that has always made me scratch my head in wonder. To each their own!
Over the holidays I personally consumed this lovely platter of pan-fried haddock and Greek salad ($13). I love this Maritime classic, and The Knot’s rendition deserves a nod. There are no frills at The Knot, just damn good food (and poor lighting for food photography – my apologies!)
This is one that I had overlooked for years, and only recently became curious about. The menu lists it simply as “Roast Beef on a Bun $6″, the idea of which reminded me of the Calgary favourite, “BBQ Beef on a Bun”. I figured I’d give it a shot and I’m glad I did. The beef is sauteed in garlic butter before getting smothered with cheddar cheese, tomato and mayo. It is so simple, and yet so satisfying. I would order this again.
Lunenburg, as you may have guessed, has a German heritage which is still recognizable in common family names such as “Rhodenizer” and “Eisenhauer”, as well as the two local sauerkraut plants and delicacies such as Lunenburg (meat) pudding and Lunenburg sausage. The latter is featured in The Knot Burger ($6, or $9 with fries), which is essentially a sausage patty topped with local sauerkraut, swiss cheese, and mustard. If you want a taste of local Lunenburg that isn’t seafood, this is certainly something you ought to try.
The Knotwurst and Kraut ($7) features a Chris Brothers smoked sausage in a bun with your choice of mustard, served with a GIANT HEAP of sauerkraut. I love Lunenburg sauerkraut. It is so chunky and fresh; a regional specialty I didn’t realize I would miss until I found myself on the other side of Canada without any decent sauerkraut. Who could have seen that coming?
Last but not least, I want to talk about the potato skins. The Knot often runs out of these because it actually requires potato skins, to make potato skins. I know, right? You can’t just take a potato and slice it up and produce the same effect. Potato skins, otherwise doomed to careless discardment, are set aside for glory! Spread out like nachos and baked with cheddar cheese and bacon ($7), they are then plucked up out of their oozing cheesy habitat and dunked in sour cream. This is a family favourite that always pleases!
The Knot Pub is a triple threat of atmosphere, quality, and price that can’t be beat. You can get appys like mozza sticks, chicken wings and deep fried pepperoni. Pub classics like hamburgers, fish ‘n’ chips, and even Alberta steak. Besides the local German influenced fare, there are also seafood selections like bacon wrapped scallops, fish chowder, and fresh steamed mussels. My Dad claims the fish ‘n’ chips are some of the best he has had, while my Mom prefers the smoked meat sandwich. I like to alternate my choices because everything is just so damn good. 18oz of Keiths is only $4.65 and $5.53 will get you Knot Pub Ale (made by Propeller), as well as Propeller Bitter. Things get a little more rowdy later into the night as all the young Lunenburgers (they do exist) come out to party. Lunenburg locals have it good, but this is well worth the drive from Halifax.
The Knot Pub
4 Dufferin St.