Wednesday, December 30, 2009

Brickhouse Burger Company

Location, location, location ...You definitely can see this place going south on 465 at the Kentucky Ave. exit, but it isn't quite clear how to get there.  Fred had noticed this Damon's takeover more than a couple of times on the way home.  Recently, FLO was able to make an appearance.

After a round about way, we were glad to arrive and see that the place was busy on a monday evening.  Inside, we were immediately seated in a comfortable booth and had the pleasure of 4 large screens to choose from.  We were excited to see a speaker box on the table, but to our disappointment it was out of order.  We later found out from our waitress that a server had cut the wires during carpet replacement and it was decided not to fix it...bad move.

The menu promised several appetizer classics, ribs, steaks, seafood, salads, sandwiches, wraps and some very exciting burgers...and that was what we were there for.  Libby knew right away it would either be one of their stuffed burgers or the Rockefeller Spinach burger.  Since Fred had his eye on either the Italian Stallion or the Three Cheese, Libby went with the latter.  Not to be horribly redundant, but Ozzy had "the usual."

With Stella in tow, we were glad to be in a family friendly environment.  On her best behavior, she seemed happy to look at the moving pictures or check out the activity outside the kitchen.  The layout was very open and much larger than it appeared from outside...definitely an awesome place to watch a game or hang out with a group of friends.  So, in essence, a venue for the masses.

After ordering a delightful Fat Tire draft, Fred had finally decided on the Three Cheese stuffed burger, as the pizza sauce on the Italian Stallion left him a bit skeptical.  To change it up, he asked for it to be served on their pretzel bun but left on the standard house fries.  Brickhouse certainly did not disappoint.  The three cheeses oozed out of every bite and just to put it over the edge, they added a layer on top of the burger as well.  Yowza, that's an artery clogging, gotta be good the rest of the week kind of burger.  The pretzel roll really held up to the juice rushing out of it and added a bit of bite to the whole ordeal.  A real home run.  The fries, while certainly prefab, were well fried.  Not overdone, but had a great crunch to them.

Libby's Rockefellar looked spectacular (as pictured above)!  Ordered with the sweet potato fries, it was a wonderful balance of salt and sweet.  There was a layer of cheddarjack cheese, spinach artichoke dip and crumbled bacon on top.  Perfectly cooked and juicy...the only thing missing was more bacon and spinach.  Not to downplay a good burger, but the size of the burger begged for more topping.  Very well done all in all.  And those fries were very tasty.  As you would add to any sweet potato, they had sweet/cinnamony spices and the more fried bits were a bit caramelized.  Sweet and crunchy. Yum.

Ozzy completed the meal and actually gave an enthusiastic "Pretty good!" 

Wrap Up

Price- $-$$$, If you came to watch the game, you could get 2 big beers and a great burger for under $20. A steal.
Atmosphere- ***, Clean, good layout and noise level.  Stadium seating so that everyone can watch the game's on the projection TVs.  But they've GOT to fix those speaker boxes!!
Service- ***, Personable, laid back wait staff.


Fred - A-, One delicious burger and I could certainly enjoy a game there.  I need to try their brioche bun next!  For the money, the great food and the TV's, these guys have it going on.
Libby - B+, Was it the best burger in Indy, no.  Boogie Burger and Ted's are my favs, but if you are looking for a family friendly sports bar atmosphere, this is the place to go.  The burger rocked and I will be back for another.
Ozzy- A+, he loved his meal, finishing the entire thing.  And as a typical 5 year old, he could make an ass of himself and no one heard or cared.  Unlike BW3's, where all the good TVs are in the bar area, these guys have family seating in front of the massive screens!  Yeah Rah!

Brickhouse Burger Co. on Urbanspoon

Thursday, December 17, 2009

Barley Island Restaurant & Brewhouse

Choices.  Choices.  Choices.  Oh, and we guess they have food too....

Libby and Fred had an afternoon together while the Oz was in pre-school.  Not sure if it was kid-friendly, we'd been waiting for just such an occasion in order to visit the new Broadripple location for Barley Island.

Fred's one and only stop at the venerable Noblesville brewery had been very dissapointing.  Not only was the food only so-so, but he was working and therefore couldn't really sample the beer. (ok, maybe he still had one.  so sue him.)

Fred instantly zeroed in on the Beastie Barrel Stout, a malty cocoa stout.  It was surprisingly light and refreshing.  If he weren't driving, he certainly would have ordered a second.  Libby was undecided and therefore went with the sampler.  As per our usual, we loved both ends of the spectrum, but the middle, not so much.  Pale Ales just aren't our thing.  While the porter and amber were good, the real standouts were the stout and blonde ale.  But Libby agreed that the real winner was the Beastie.  Get it while it's still in season, folks!!

Remembering that we were actually there for a late lunch, we chose a starter of the beer cheese and bread.  Libby then ordered the spinach melt with homemade kettle chips, Fred, the "ultimate" grilled cheese with waffle fries. 

We were originally heartened to see our server almost bring us our appetizer and then begin a quick low grumbling with another waiter.  After a little back and forth, the plate was returned to the kitchen.  It's wonderful to see quality control and a staff that really does care, even if they all unquestioningly blaze up out back.  It was later explained to us, as our appetizer and entrees arrived in unison, that the bread had been over-toasted.

About the bread...  This yeasty, flavorful, doughy wheat bread is an all-star.  It was the highlight, not only of the appetizer, but the whole meal.  If Barley Island were to use that on every sandwich, they could easily charge an extra $1-2 per plate.  Think about it, Mr. Island.    Unfortunately, it was served with a meek, bland, watery, one-note cheese sauce.  We could not detect which, if any, of their beers were present in it.  Come on guys. If you can't serve over-toasted bread (and thank you for not doing so!), you shouldn't be serving this either. 

Moving on to our entrees...Libby's spinmelt had a distinctly "healthy" feel to it.  Not a bad spinmelt, by any means, it was light on the cheese and heavy on the veg...topped with cucumber slices and mushrooms.  A slice of cheese on top and some of that beer bread would have changed the whole story!  It's ok for a spinmelt to be healthy, but there was no "melt" involved here.  Oh, and the kettle chips were pretty good.  Fred, not usually a fan of homemade chips, thought they were the best he'd tasted.

Fred's grilled cheese was just that.  A grilled cheese.  There was certainly nothing "ultimate" about it.  It was 3 slices of white bread with American cheese in between.  Granted the tomato and bacon were good.  But this is something anyone could have made at home, probably with items already in their fridge.  White bread & American cheese = ultimate?  Really?  Otherwise, the waffle fries were good.  Most likely out of a bag, but crisped up nicely.

Wrap Up
Price- $-$$, For the beer quality, you can't beat these prices.
Atmosphere-***, Open, contemporary, but felt like it wasn't quite broken in yetWe were happy not to see TVs every 10 feet.
Service-***, It was interesting that they contemplated serving burnt bread, but we're glad they didn't. 


Fred - C+, I'm actually surprised by my own rating.  The food really was sub-par.  But the beer!  I'll suckle on that any time.  And I really see potential.  They need to work on the food, but it's only been open for a few months...
Libby - C, Honey, the beer was fine.  But when I am lucky enough to get a beer in Broadripple, The Brugge gets my business.. 
Ozzy- Pre-K. :)

Barley Island Restaurant & Brewhouse on Urbanspoon

Sunday, December 6, 2009

Ram Restaurant & Brewery

Ah, the age old the beer glass half full or half empty?  Just send another one, quick!  To your left would be the Ram's seasonal Winter Wit beer...delish.  Unfiltered wheat that leaves your glass dirty inside...hmmm.  Fred and Libby liked it so much, we took a keg for the road!  The kegerator was pleased.

FLO decided to check out Ram after a long stint away.  For Libby, it had been close to 4 years since last there and she remembered not really liking the beer or the food so much.  Well, things have changed!

To start, Fred ordered the beer sampler and wow, not a bad brew selection.  Winter Wit was the winner here, with the Butt Face Amber a close second.

Arriving during the late lunch hour on the weekend, it was not very busy and we were bemused by the number of things we wanted to try.  To make things worse, the regular menu was supplemented with their seasonal menu.  Choices. Choices.

After much deliberation, she went with the Turkey Reuben and homemade chips.  Fred decided to go for the Red Hot Turkey Burger and sweet potato fries.  Both selections from the seasonal menu.  One cool thing about Ram is the large array of fried sides for burgers and sandwiches...sweet potato fries, homemade chips, regular fries, waffle fries, and onion rings.  Ozzy shockingly decided to try their rendition of *sigh* mac 'n cheese.  yay.  rah.

The reuben was really tasty.  Libby had to remove a little kraut as Stella would make her pay for it later, but the yummy havarti was a great twist.  And the homemade chips were just right...super crispy and the whole thing paired perfectly with that wonderful brew.

Fred's turkey burger was equally successful. Slathered in Frank's Red Hot sauce, it was dripping-down-your-hand good. While the flavor of the turkey itself was masked by the spicing and sauce, it all melded so well that you wouldn't necessarily recognize whatever meat they had used.  Usually not a fan of homemade chips, Fred went with the sweet potato fries.  Although seemingly unseasoned, they were tasty and crispy.  The slight sweetness from the sweet potato came through well and really offset the tangy, hot burger.

Ozzy finished his mac' n cheese with nary a word.  It was the penne pasta variety and the sauce didn't do much for either Fred or Libby, but it's Ozzy's dish to critique anyway. ;)

Wrap Up
Price- $$, It's downtown lunch prices...not cheap, but worth the price.
Atmosphere-***, comfortable booths, but overall you can tell it's a chain.
Service-**, Bad service.  It was not busy, but you would think our waitress was covering Sunday lunch rush before a Colts game.  She was slow and forgetful when present.  Ozzy did get a balloon though, when he noticed one hovering above another table. 


Fred - B+, While the food was a little pricey for lunch, the excellent and inexpensive beer more than made up for it....and did I mention we got a to-go keg tableside???
Libby -B+, Even though the waitress was aloof for the most part, the food and the beer stood aloneI even later went with a girlfriend of mine and had another impressive meal and better service.  My impression has done a 180 from several years ago. 
Ozzy- A, Mac 'n cheese gone and noise level was no issue with the not-so-quiet atmosphere. 

Ram Restaurant & Brewery on Urbanspoon