Saturday, October 24, 2009

Lincoln Square Pancake House

After a viewer's suggestion, we decided to try Lincoln Square Pancake House.  It was a Sunday morning, bright sun, and a packed house.  We were seated almost immediately by a very courteous and eager host!  After settling in our booth, another enthusiastic staff member, our waitress, brought our water and got the coffee goin'.  One look at the menu, and Libby began to question if this might possibly be another Grecian family-run diner...the presence of the Greek Omelet and attention by a noticeably older gentleman helping staff made sense.  This place only opened up within the past year or so.  Most men over 60 aren't opening and working in new establishments, but instead, planning or practicing retirement.  Yes, this place smelled of hard work and determination.

After reading a posted newspaper article, Libby's suspicion was correct...owner, George Katris immigrated from Greece in his teens to Canada, eventually became a US citizen and started the Indiana based chain in the late 80's.  There are 13 locations, with one in Ohio.

As newcomer's, there were a couple of breakfast musts...for Fred, a benedict of sorts, for Libby, something to sample the house sausage gravy, and for Ozzy, the breakfast carb of champions, flapjacks.  Fred went with a little twist to the classic benedict, the Florentine...spinach and bacon instead of canadian bacon.  Libby went with the Country Benedict or basically, biscuits and gravy with poached eggs piled on for good measure.  Both entrees came with the "American Fries" aka house hashbrowns.  For Ozzy, the kids pancakes with bacon.

Our waitress was a coffee pusher, as with most good breakfast places...and we are happy to say, this brew was decent for a basic house coffee...fresh, medium-strength with a mellow flavor.  Fred and Libby typically like the french-press, knock you on your arse variety, but found this quite satisfying.

The food arrived quickly.  Fred tried his dish first thing, as he is very particular about the level of acid, or lemony-ness in any hollandaise.  Not impressed.  Too bland and no noticeable lemon flavor.  Having said that, the buttery-ness was there and at least, it was an actual hollandaise and not a cheese sauce as so many breakfast placed think of as hollandaise.  He loved the spinach and found the American Fries to be the highlight of the meal.

Libby, always excited for a tasty gravy, was also nonplussed.  This was the overly floury variety with little seasoning and flavor.  Nothing special.  The biscuit was fine and the eggs were perfectly poached.  The American Fries were very good. 

Ozzy, on the other hand, was quite impressed with his pancakes!  Libby and Fred had to sample and agreed...there is something special in that batter...vanilla? spices?  Regardless, the flapjacks are the way to go...wonder how the blintzes/crepes weigh up? 

Although, not the sweeping successful impression we were hoping for, this establishment showed promise with it's sweeter variety of breakfast.  There is also a bakery counter at the much possibility!

Wrap Up
Price- $, Cheap Eats!
Atmosphere-**, Clean but cramped, and somewhat odd design.
Service-****, Most accommodating and friendly!


Fred - C+, While not my ideal breakfast place, it would certainly do in a one would walk away unhappy.
Libby -B-, The gravy was a real disappointment, but I feel the sweet carb menu is most likely quite impressive!
Ozzy -A, Ozzy loved his pancakes!

Lincoln Square Pancake House on Urbanspoon

Saturday, October 17, 2009

Chatham Taps

After a month-long break due to the birth of our newest reviewer, Estelle or "Stella", Fred & Libby were able to have a "grown-ups only" date for Libby's birthday.  (Thanks, Grammy!)  We decided on a place we would rarely get the opportunity to visit, a British inspired gastropub on Mass Ave. called Chatham Taps. 

This is no bud-light-guzzling, nachos and wings place.  The patrons seemed to be primarily regulars as they chatted with the waitstaff on a personal basis. There were even a couple sporting supportive chatham taps t-shirts.  The menu was very leaf thai wraps, fried pickles, taponade, a variety of salads and sandwiches...and let's not forget to mention homemade potato chips!

We were delighted to see there was not a single domestic macro-brew on tap.  No Bud.  No Miller Lite.  If you want to drink crap, you have to do it out of a bottle.  And shocked as we were, we still saw someone partaking.  Will they never learn?!  Oh well.

We decided to try a couple of pints from Indy's newest microbrewery, Sun King.  Libby tried the Octoberfest while Fred opted for the Saison.  Both of us agreed that they were clean and crisp, but not as complex on the finish as we would hope.  The Octoberfest didn't have the spiciness Libby looks forward to and was a tad too bitter for her palate.  Fred's Saison was nice and tart but he couldn't help thinking how it needed the addition of... something?  He considered asking the waitress for lemon, or maybe an orange, but eventually decided against both.

For our starter, Libby chose the Montauks -- Bread baked with smoked gouda and fresh basil topped with either rasher bacon & pan-seared tomatoes or sauteed mushrooms all served atop a devilishly delicous mayo based pool of sauce (or was it an aioli?).  Holy cow.  We might have been happy paying twice the $7.50 pricetag.  Or perhaps we should just get 3 orders and call it a meal?!?!

For the main course, Libby chose that old English stand-by, Fish and Chips.  The fish, although of good quality, was too heavily battered for her taste.  This in turn made the outside deliciously crunchy, but the inside too mushy which detracted from the flavor of the fish.  The fries, on the other hand, were of the seasoned variety that were very comparable to a Rally's type of fry.  The dish would have been completely satisfying if it weren't for the gooey
non-fried batter issue.

Fred immediately chose the gorgonzola, pear and rasher bacon melt.  Wow.  If you're a gorgonzola lover, this one's for you!  Hot and gooshy.  And then you add the bacon and it just goes over the top!  Served on ciabata bread this was a sure-fire Fred pleaser.  It came with Chatham's wonderful homemade chips which were well done, nice and crispy.  They were pretty thick for a chip and not at all oily.  A perfect plate of upscale pub grub.

For desert, Libby gave the tiramisu a try.  Oddly enough, she believes it to be one of the best she's ever tasted.  It was light with perfect coffee undertones and a delicate creamy texture.  A true pleasure and perfect after the nice fried platter.  We are unsure if it was made onsite, but our compliments to the pastry chef.

Fred, per his norm, decided to drink his dessert.  And boy is he glad he did!  How had a beer snob such as himself missed trying Wychwood's Hobgoblin Ale before?  Unlike any other beer FLO has tasted, it was incredibly complex and a reason alone to return to this outstanding pub. And yes, it was on tap!  Incredible.

Wrap Up
Price- $$, Great value for such upscale food.

Atmosphere-****, It screams English pub.  Even the clientelle seemed to fit the mold.
Service-***, No complaints here.  Fast and personable.


Fred -A+, I want to live upstairs and have my own personal bar stool. 
Libby -A, Love this place!  In another life, we would be living in Real Silk and regulars.  But for now, it will remain a grown-up treat from time to time.

Chatham Tap Pub on Urbanspoon