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So go West all you diners.

Byline: David Lockwood ,

When you have been bombarded by the usual Christmas fare day after day over the festive period, it's always nice to give your digestive system a break with something a little bit different.

So with that in mind I decided a visit to the Clothiers Arms at Stocksmoor, and their newly-refurbished and re-named American diner Fargo's Roadhouse might be just the ticket.

I was always a fan of the Baltimore Exchange at Aspley before it closed and went through innumerable face changes, and although there are a couple of American diners in the town centre (Rock Cafe, Frankie and Bennys), Fargo's is probably the first offering that sort of fare in the outlying districts.

The wooden floors, open staircase to an upper dining level and red and white checked tablecloths give it very much of a mid-west American feel, but at the time of visiting a neon-lit Harley-Davidson sign, a couple of flags and a handful of pictures were the only concessions to Yankee culture.

However, as the restaurant has been open barely two months, and owner Susie was at the time of writing busily working on the American ambience with more signs and other assorted memorabilia, the look will certainly have improved for later diners.

One thing that was definitely American was the size of the huge portions!

Mistakingly thinking my wife, daughter and I were truly hungry, we opted for starters and mains - and then struggled to do justice to the latter!

And that was despite virtually ignoring the complimentary peanuts which were heaped into empty ice coolers on each table and gleefully shelled onto the floor by fellow diners ("It's easier to clear up", we were told).

Daughter Tienne dived into a hefty plateful of hot wings in smokey barbecue sauce for starters, which contained five or six pieces obviously from some pretty hefty birds, while mum Conise chose deep-fried mozarella fingers with sour cream and barbecue dips and the ubiquitous side salad.

I probably made the biggest judgment error by tackling three chunky loaded potato skins with a bacon and cheese filling, which although very tasty, were also incredibly filling!

Other appetizers included Cajun mushrooms, crispy fried chicken tenders, Caesar salad and a combo featuring hot wings, skins and cheese sticks with THREE dipping sauces.

I followed up with South-West chicken smothered in Swiss cheese and barbecue sauce, accompanied by savoury fries (which could have been a touch more savoury), baked beans and yes, more salad - and I almost cleared it before the trouser waistband started to pinch.

My wife was particularly impressed by her two skewers of Teriyaki steak kebabs ("very tasty and tender") which came served on a bed of spicy rice, along with a skewer of vegetables.

As a teenager brought up on the fast-food style, I think Tienne probably expected a glorified big Mac when she order a Fargo's Deluxe Burger, and was just a tad disappointed in that because this was made from real steak it was very rare in the middle, but she was lifted by the humungous corn on the cob, which she chose as the free side order to accompany the burger.

There were a variety of chicken options, burgers and steaks, chops and ribs available on the main menu, with the combo section always looking interesting with shrimps going side by side with meat for a "turf and surf" option as well as vegetarian offerings.

We never got as far as the sweets as we were all far to "pogged" but if the Key Lime pie, chocolate fudge cake, pecan pie and knickerbocker glories came as generously portioned as the rest of the menu, then it's going to take quite an appetite to get through the card!

There is also a children's menu for pounds 3.95 for those with smaller appetites and a good selection of coffees and varied wine list on offer.
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Copyright 2005 Gale, Cengage Learning. All rights reserved.

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Title Annotation:Sport
Publication:Huddersfield Daily Examiner (Huddersfield, England)
Date:Jan 14, 2005
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