Saturday, November 20, 2010

Black Swan Brewpub

Nothing is going to wet FLOE's appetite more than a new brewpub in town!  When we heard of the Black Swan Brewpub's opening, we had to head west to Plainfield to check it out.   Having just opened a little over a month ago (10/10/10), BSB is still a little wet behind the ears.  But with a serious chef in the kitchen and the upcoming brewery taking shape, this place could be a serious force in the Indy foodie scene.

We were a little sad to see it was located in a strip mall, but once inside, you'd never really know it.  Rich, dark woods, a black tin ceiling, and local art displays gave a less conventional feel to the place.  It scored some cozy points with low lighting, comfortable seating, and an overall relaxed atmosphere. 

Even without their brewery up and running, the Black Swan offers 16 outstanding beers on tap.  Budweiser fans will be sorely disappointed as there is not a single macro-brew available.  Yes!  Since we couldn't decide on just one, we shared a 10 beer sampler. *sigh* :)

We started with a duo of appetizers -- an order of frites and the Brewpub Stuffed Peppers.  The frites come with your choice of toss and dip.  As these were for the kids as well, we chose the salt & pepper toss and the beer cheese dip.  The frites were light and crispy.  Nice. The cheese was more of a fondue than a crock full of cheese.  Stella certainly approved.  We were hard pressed to keep her fingers out of it.

The second appetizer consisted of sweet, roasted peppadew peppers stuffed with chorizo and served on a bed of creamy goat cheese.  Yowsa!  Tiny mouthfuls of bliss!  A light spice from the chorizo combined with a slight tang from the goat cheese simply left you wanting another.  Too bad they only serve 5 of them!  Actually, there couldn't be enough of those little happy bites.

Since it was slow, the chef, Nick Carter, came by and introduced himself.  Nick discussed how they use as much local ingredients as possible...yay! Fred, being a homebrewer, was psyched to discuss the future brewing plans and was even happier to be given a personal tour of the brew-room to be.  Nice touch. Thanks, Nick! :)

Fred had decided to try the Roasted Portabella Sandwich and Libby, the Braised Lamb Shank.  Ozzy went with the usual.  Our waiter was careful to mention that the Roasted Portabella was a cold sandwich...good to know.

Fred's sandwich was indeed, chilled, and he was thankful that the waiter had warned him ahead of time.  While it was very odd at first, the flavors worked wonderfully and the combination of veggies made for a well-balanced meatless treat!  Accompanied by a side of frites, this time Fred chose the Truffle Oil and Parmesan toss with the Kalamata aioli.  The toss was light and went perfectly with the sandwich, but wow! that Kalamata aioli would make an old shoe taste went on a little bit of everything!

Libby, eagerly anticipating her lamb, was slightly dissappointed.  Not so much by the lamb itself, but by the bland gravy accompanied by the uninspiring roasted veggies.  There is nothing worse than the urge to get a salt shaker out. The meat was good, some tougher bits, but the flavor was there.  This called for a seasoning intervention.  To experiment, we dipped a bit of the lamb in the Kalamata aioli and pop! a noticeable improvement.  A sauce can make or break a dish and this brown gravy was a disservice to the whole plate.

Ozzy was unimpressed with his mac 'n cheese, but couldn't get enough of the well prepared frites.  Not much of a stretch, we know, but the cheesy cream sauce wasn't doing it for him.  Stella couldn't agree more about the frites, but also enjoyed some of the roasted veggies and lamb. 

We had to do the deed and try a dessert.  A mere trifle; bourbon pound cake, cinnamon pastry cream, apple compote, and fresh whipped cream won the vote.  Yeah, basically a deconstructed bread pudding, as most good chefs feel comfortable with, but this was a nice variation.  The poundcake was cold, so it held it's shape and had some texture while the compote and creams gave it some real richness.  All parties present approved! 

Bottom line, there was room for improvement, but our overall impression is...we're going back!  Appy's kicked butt, and entrees and dessert were good, but we have to try the ambitious brew line-up when the time comes.  Oh!  And there is wonderful thing on the menu called a Brewpub porterhouse that is actually a pork porterhouse...yes, next time little piggy.

Wrap Up
Price-$$-$$$$,- Can be pricey, but a nice varied menu allows you to splurge if you have the desire.
Atmosphere***,-A good start, but needs to be worn in a little more.
Service****,- Probably a slow day, but wow, what a first impression!  Nothing beats the Chef's direct attention and our server was informative and very professional.

Fred- A-,  Love the idea of this place!!  But is the west side really ready for it?  Awesome apps, and I'd love to try 3/4's of the menu!  For a bud light and cheeseburger side of town, I worry this place is a hard sell.
Libby-B, Except for the blah gravy, everything was tasty.  When spending $20 on an entree, expectations run high.  Next time I WILL be having the pork porterhouse!  Beer selection rocks and is only going to get better once the brewery opens. And thank you, Black Swan, for doing your part to support locally sourced ingredients.
Ozzy- B, Didn't approve of the mac, but couldn't get enough of the frites.  Dug on the dessert as well.
Stella- A, She ate everything and was especially fond of the roasted zucchini that mommy snubbed. ;)  She also performed her staff-charming duties admirably. 

Black Swan Brewpub on Urbanspoon

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