Friday, June 6, 2008

Stick to the beer at House of Brews

Last night a group of coworkers and I hit up House of Brews on 46th and 9th for some beer, eats, and good times. I'll give you the moral of this story up front: the beer's good, the food's not.

The staff graciously set up a blind tasting of a few of our favorite brands by special request, which was much appreciated. Once we had finished with our tasting, we moved on to the extensive beer list, with most of us ordering tasting flights to sample as many as possible.

Tasting flight of beer

While we sipped and chatted, we ordered some food to soak up the booze. It took a while to arrive and was profoundly not worth the wait. I had ordered a bread basket, and the waitress said they didn't really have that but they'd see what they could do. What I got was a plate of small, thawed dinner rolls. Pretty gross, but at least they made do with what they had from the kitchen. Right? Below is the rest of what we got, with a few relevant comments on each:

Chicken fingers. Breaded in a panko-like crumby breading, not battered. This fact did not please this dish's orderer.

Appetizer sampler, with mozzarella sticks, loaded skins, and chicken wings. The mozz sticks were standard and were finished off; the wings and skins were left on the plate.

Fries-- really pretty to look at, not so good to eat. Whatever was sprinkled on top of them (parsley?) added visual interest but no flavor. They were fried so the outside was cooked but the inside was dry. There was no salt. And they were cold. Yech.

Shepherd's pie. I think this was one of the winners of the bunch-- this got polished off, one of the few dishes to earn that distinction.

Quesadilla-- shameful. I think maybe one of these triangles was consumed.

Chickpea burger-- deemed "not that good." About half was eaten; I tackled the side salad, very heavy on the chopped raw onion (why??).

Mussels with sausage. Okay, maybe we shouldn't have ordered this at a beer bar, but they're good at BXL, so why not? Almost this entire dish went untouched.

Some sort of other sandwich, with more of the pitiful fries. Not sure what this was, but I think it was eaten relatively happily.

I'm not even going to put forth a food rating for House of Brews (you pretty much know what it would be). All I can say is, in the end, when you go to House of Brews, that's what you should get. Drop yourself in a sticky booth, grab a greasy menu, skip the food and order a beer. Save your hunger for any of innumerable other decent restaurants along restaurant row.

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