First impression of this place? Loudest. Restaurant. Ever. Let’s just get that out of the way. If you have a loud kid (as I do), you will not have to worry about anyone hearing them over the roar of the game being played over the speaker system. There are also a ton of tvs playing lots of different sports, and there really doesn’t appear to be a different dining room for families (or non-bar folk) so you are in it if you are there. The regular tables sort of surround the bar on all sides. The interior was a bit nicer than I thought it would be—on the walls where there weren’t tvs, there were large photographs of travel destinations around the country. We had fun picking out some we recognized.
Honestly, I did not have high hopes regarding the food based on everything I had heard and read (42% on urbanspoon--ouch)—but I was pleasantly surprised. Hubby ordered the fish and chips ($15) and it was good. There were 4 cod fillets that were beer battered—they had a nice crispy exterior and the fish was still moist inside. A lot of restaurants use other fish in their fish and chips and often it is too thin to be cooked as long as you need to for the outside to be the right crispiness. These were very good. The fries were fine—nothing special—honestly we had so much food on the table, we didn’t eat many of them.
I decided to be adventurous, and possibly a little hard headed, and order the tuna poke appetizer ($12). They had a couple of seared tuna dishes on the menu as well and our server told me they were popular, so I was hopeful that the fish would be good and fresh. You know, I was pleasantly surprised again. The dish had quite a bit of flavor from their marinade—there was even a bit of heat from what appeared to be chili oil (ok, I did add just a bit of soy sauce). The dish itself was made up of chunks of tuna, avocado, lots of radish sprouts and thin sliced onions. It was served with fried wonton chips to scoop it up. The only bad part was the wontons were stuck underneath the tuna mixture for presentation which made one edge of them soggy. It might not have been as pretty, but would be better off to serve them on a separate plate or something. I was happy with it overall though and would order it again. I appreciate that in a restaurant that focuses mostly on bar food that there was an option that was lighter and not as heavy and traditional options.
My daughter was thrilled to see that they had a grilled chicken breast option on the kid’s menu instead of just the chicken tenders (which they also have, and which thankfully, she is starting to outgrow). It was a nice little plate with the chicken breast, broccoli and mashed potatoes ($5). The chicken was well seasoned and shockingly, fairly tender. And that was a good amount of food for $5 (which included the drinks as well).
My son had the mac and cheese ($5) which was pretty good as well. There was fresh grated cheese on top and it had a very homemade taste—not sure my son was a huge fan, but I thought it was pretty good for a kids meal. I don’t often even mention the kid’s meals, but these stood out to me as better than the average options.
Other then the crazy noise level (and I am hoping maybe it was just because it was a Saturday game day), this is a place that we as a family will probably add to the rotation. Everyone liked it, and it is one of the closest places to our house around. The service was a little slow, and it is a chain (a small one though with currently only 2 locations), but at least on our visit, they seemed to be taking care in the kitchen. I love it when a place surprises me.
Who else has been? I know several of you have told me about it, would love to hear what you think and see why their ratings are so low.
Brewstone Beer Company
3720 E. 82nd Street