DINING: Not quite as ordered

May 5, 2012

Brewstone Beer Co. (3720 E. 82nd St., 577-7800) is as different from the location’s former resident, the Music Mill concert venue, as Music Mill was from its predecessor, the Habitrail-like Discovery Zone.

The spot’s latest transition into a generically named but handsomely designed pub includes a sizable dining room with rich burgundy accents, a fireplace, and an ample quantity of TV screens (mercifully muted on our visit in favor of low-key music). If only what came out of the kitchen matched what was on the menu.

ae-brewstoneprint-1col.jpg Tomato and mozzarella dominate the Veggie Sliders at the new Brewstone. (IBJ Photo/ Perry Reichanadter)

That’s not to say it wasn’t good. The Shrimp Scampi ($16) had a half dozen sizable shrimp in an olive oil sauce accented with fresh bits of tomato, lemon juice and a generous-but-not-excessive amount of garlic. But it was served with spaghetti rather than the advertised penne pasta. A sizable Brewstone Burger ($12) demonstrated that the kitchen cares about its beef—the BBQ sauce, cheddar cheese and onion ring that topped it gilded an already delicious burger.

The problem: There was no sign of the applewood smoked bacon that was supposed to join its topping brethren. And when asked, our trying-too-hard-to-be-a-character waiter seemed befuddled: “Oh,” he said, “there weren’t bacon bits on there?” (He later surprised us by reaching over our booth wall at the far side of the booth to take away a used plate, nearly causing us to spill our drinks.)

Speaking of drinks: $2.75 for a soft drink is just gouging.

The kitchen did manage to correctly deliver the Tuscano Pizza ($11), a gutsy, original and surprisingly subtle pie with spicy marinara sauce, broccoli rub, peppers, lima beans (yes, lima beans) and Italian sausage sliced into discs in the way confident kitchens should. (Who knows what’s been shredded into the sausage crumbles many places serve?)

For our before and afters, a bowl of Lobster Corn Bisque ($7) and French Onion Soup ($6) were both sufficiently appetizing—although serving the latter in a large bowl instead of a crock turned the cheese into an island rather than a roof. The Veggie Sliders ($10) were so dominated by the fresh mozzarella cheese and tomato that they seemed more like Caprice Salad on buns.

From the limited dessert menu, the Brewstone Brownie Sundae ($7) held no surprises. If you’ve ever made a decent block of chocolate brownie and dumped a pile of ice cream on it, you’ve been there.•

–Lou Harry


First in a month-long series of Keystone Crossing/Clearwater Crossing-area restaurant reviews.


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