eating indy

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  • unleavened bread cafe 002
  • 506
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  • king bbq 003
  • thai paradise 006
  • bent rail 021
  • Chatam 019
  • Mimi Meatball 003
  • Ludwig 003

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Courses Restaurant 2820 N. Meridian Street

I had the most singular luncheon experience today. Courses is a student staffed restaurant connected to the Culinary Program of Ivy Tech. From the preparation to the presentation, everything is done by the students. The building that the Culinary Program calls home was originally  Stouffer’s Inn. Built in 1966 it was operating as a hotel until 1980.

When Ivy Tech acquired it in 2010 the thing was redone to meet the needs of a growing College. I believe the Restaurant proper and its production kitchen are in what once was Stouffer’s Lounge and dining room. Some of that ambiance remains.

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They offer a Prix Fixe Menu which changes periodically. They also offer, beer and wine.

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Yes the price is $12. That is not a mis-print. Three miles North; Broad Ripple, or South: Downtown and a burger would cost you 10 bucks.

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Naturally I opted for the sausage and cheese plate. Their cheese offering was a medium hard Gruyer cheese and a semi soft brie. For the meats they provided a prosciutto and two salumi. I thought the combination was well thought out and executed. By giving both spicy and sweet meats with differing textures of cheese your taste buds had a delightful workout. They also kept the pickled accents small. Enough to break up the richness of the meat and cheese but not enough to skew your mouth.

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For my entre, or featured part of my lunch I decided on the duck sandwich.

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I must say I was very pleased. The duck was excellent. Moist and unctuous,with a great flavor. The portion was massive as well. All in all it was one of the top 5 sandwiches I have had in the last couple of years. The bread, which they make as well, was a perfect partner to the duck. Speaking of bread. As soon as you are seated you are brought a basket of bread and a plate of butter. This particular service they offered a sourdough. To me the best possible bread with butter and sausage.

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Now what could possibly be the perfect ending to such a rich and luscious lunch? How about Chocolate pots de creme.

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Now when was the last time you saw something this decadent? The chocolate wasn’t completely smooth. Every now and then you would get a tiny chunk of chocolate. Chocolate so dense and thick your spoon stands up in it. Delicious.

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The restaurant is only open for lunch on Wednesday and Thursday with seating from 11:00 to 12:15 PM. And reservations are recommended. We first heard about it late last year but couldn’t get in. Unfortunately Pat had to go out-of-town this week so I had to go solo. They also serve dinner. So now I have to start going out in the evening. This is a hidden gem. Excellent food and a warm and wonderful staff. It is definitely worth the wait for a reservation.

Courses Restaurant on Urbanspoon

Unleavened Bread Cafe 3003 N. Central Ave.

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This little place sells their food for the greater good of their ministry. They are very upfront about that. They have the cafe to spread the word and to make the money for their works.

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They are open from 6:00 AM to 2:00 PM for breakfast and lunch only. You won’t find any sauce reductions here and their idea of local sourcing is whatever the neighborhood grocery sells. But what they offer is well made and reasonably priced. And don’t expect any urban chic or otherwise trendy decor.

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We were on the road today before 10:30 so naturally our thoughts turned to breakfast. This cafe has been on our radar for some time, but we were never able to catch it open before today. As you can see their breakfast menu is very straightforward.

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We split a full order of biscuits and gravy, for $4.50.

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My eyes were bigger than Pat’s. I chose pancakes over French toast and added potatoes and a sausage patty to the bacon.

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Well their bread may be unleavened but you can’t say the same for the biscuits and pancakes. The pancakes I had were nearly one inch high. Now that is fluffy. The same goes for the biscuits. The gravy was loaded with sausage and quite good. It was the sort of biscuits and gravy you could eat with regularity and enjoy every time.

I thought the hash brown was the weakest link of all the food. You can buy shredded patties like that in the meat case of several grocery stores. That was hardly a deal breaker though.

So if you’re in the area and are hungry you know where to go. I think if you ask them nice they may be able to add some blueberries to those fluffy pancakes. There is room, and you know you want to.

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Unleavened Bread Cafe on Urbanspoon

Burgerhaus 335 West 9th. Street.

This joint is on the Canal walk. Which means it is tough to find the first time. There is a parking garage above the it and they do validate the parking. So it is free to park. Just don’t be confused by the credit card only sign. You can get a ticket and then go ahead to the parking area. Don’t. I repeat don’t back up and go park someplace else.

As for the place itself it is really nice. Oak wood throughout. A charming and cozy little place. With a killer out-door space right on the Canal.

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They have a little bar in the front. We chose to sit in the dining room. We thought it would lessen the temptation for beer drinking. As the name suggests they offer burgers. They have a proprietary blend of local source meat portioned out into 1/2 pound patties. I had a few questions about the source of the beef, and the buns. Also what was in the slaw etc. Unfortunately our server,Suzy had only been there 2 weeks so she did not know.

Now Suzy did a bang up job in service, I just would like to see more knowledge of servers about the stuff they are trying to sell. So maybe the bosses should stress that a bit more.

Well as for the burgers. They really and truly rock.

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Their Haus burger is served on a Brioche bun with butter lettuce , tomato and red onion. Also with a choice of “typical” cheese and fries or coleslaw. All this for $9.50. In some areas that is pricey. Downtown it is, unfortunately typical.

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I ordered my burger mid rare. And that was exactly how it came out.

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It was a delicious piece of meat and bun. Simple food is so wonderful. This was one. I must say this. They offer more exotic cheeses as an option for a $1.50 upcharge. I opted for Brie. Now that was a mistake.

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The Brie was okay. The portion was not. I think that this burger is best served sans cheese. If you feel as though you need a bit of dairy just go for the more typical options.

They have other stuff on the menu. Salads and such. But if they have Burger in its name. What does that tell you. They also have a Burger of the month, and you can sub a portabella cap for any burger for no additional charge. So this is a serious Burger joint. Enjoy.

 

Burgerhaus on Urbanspoon

Chef Dan’s Southern Comfort Restaurant 5539 E. Washington St.

Anyone familiar with the Indy food truck scene is aware of Chef Dan. They have served their food out of a little yellow truck since 2011. Their decision to go the brick and mortar route is a big move for them and Indy. Now everyone knows exactly where to go to get their Delta food itch scratched.

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As you can see the menu covers the Mississippi and Louisiana food culture pretty well. You order at a counter and the food is brought to you when it is done. We ordered an appetizer and dessert when we ordered our main meals. We wanted to try as much as we could. Without going crazy. We started with Boudin balls.

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Without getting into the weeds on explanation Boudin is a blood sausage with rice. A piece is removed from the casing, breaded and deep-fried. These were pretty good. As expected it had a nice smooth texture with that welcome coppery flavor you find in cooked blood or organ dishes. They were served with a mayo based dipping sauce. The sauce was so-so and I found it too thick to actually dip the sausage in. But actually I think the balls can stand on their own without the need for a sauce.

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I took a of Pat’s chicken breast and I agree it was indeed exceptional. I opted for a catfish dinner so I could get 2 sides.chef dan 026The presentation of the fish is very down home. By cutting the fish and bread in half I was able to have 2 sandwiches. Which is a pretty good deal. The fish was nicely breaded and nicely fried. Nothing to make it unique but it was tasty . I ordered greens and beans and rice as my sides. As Pat said the greens were indeed spot on. They use smoked turkey when they cook down the greens so I guess it could pass for a healthy dish. The red beans were nicely done as well they didn’t have much rice in them though and no sausage. The last part enables them to say that they are vegan.

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As for our dessert, beignets they were pretty good. Although I thought they were more dense than I have had before.

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So there you have it. Chef Dan’s and his Southern comfort food. A nice little joint that is well worth a visit. I plan on going back to try something from the Louisiana side of the menu. And some pie, and or pudding.

 

 

Chef Dan's Southern Comfort Restaurant on Urbanspoon

King Rib’s Bar B Q 3145 W. 16th Street

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King Rib’s is an old-time local chain of BBQ joints. They have four restaurants, and according to some folks this is the best. I don’t know about that; but this place is pretty darn good.

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This is their “smoking” area. They have three of these bad boys out back. It has fencing all around so you can’t really get too close. I took these shots from the car, only because it was too cold to get out.

They have a small and sensible menu, featuring smoked meats, a few sides and pie. That is probably one of the reasons for their success and longevity.

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Pat’s ribs were big, meaty and cost 9 bucks and change. No sides. I decided on their Tuesday special. Rib Tip dinner with two sides for less than $8.00. Their prices are more than reasonable. Especially when you factor in the amount of food you get.

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They offer their sauce three ways. Mild, hot and mixed. I ordered my tips with mixed. I also got mac and cheese and baked beans. I read one review that suggested that their sides were their weak link. Well I am not sure I necessarily agree. The beans were tasty, just not as thick and gooey as I like. As for the mac and cheese it was more than passable. There are better examples out there. Unfortunately more, that aren’t as good. Now as far as the main act goes it was right on point. In addition to being a generous pile of meaty and tender pieces it had an excellent smoky presence. The sauce they prepare is thinner than the more Southern style. But it had enough leg to cling to the meat. All in all I think it was a stellar example of the smoking art.

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One last thing; the pie. They have Chess Pie and Sweet Potato Pie, both made in-house. Both $2.25 per slice; $8 for a whole pie. I had a piece of Chess pie. Wow. It was good. Very good,and very sweet.

So we thoroughly enjoyed our lunch. Good food with good prices. Just make sure you save room for pie.

 

King Ribs Bar-B-Q on Urbanspoon

Thai Paradise

This is another new restaurant that has just opened in the last few weeks. I haven’t counted but it seems that Indy has several Thai eateries. This one is just a block off of the Circle,on Market. Making it the most urban place.

Their menu is pretty much like every other Thai restaurant. Noodles, rice and veggies in varying degrees of sweet and spicy. And as most Asian style restaurants around here you can get a great lunch for $7.99, complete with soup and egg roll.

The place is small,with two rows of tables along both walls and  an aisle running down the center. They seem to have a regular lunch crowd and the joint filled up really fast. Under these circumstances you really need to have your act together or else the scene can turn into a fiasco. In that regard they really know what they are doing.

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As you can see the soup wasn’t the most photogenic of dishes. It was barely a cup but it was pretty tasty. It was also lukewarm, which leads me to believe they stage them in advance to get a jump-start on the service. The egg roll was okay, I prefer a spring roll, but a crisp fried roll is pretty good on a cold winter day. We had just finished our first course when our main dishes were delivered. I ordered a Pad Thai with chicken, I had a major hankering for rice noodle.

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It had a nice balance of sweet and spicy and a good composition of textures. About what I would expect from an Oriental” dish. I did order it hot, not Thai hot. The result was an excellent level of heat that accentuated the inherent sweetness of the sauce. The combo of mung beans and noodles is one of my favorites.

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So now all of you downtown workers have another lunch spot. I can’t say it is a superlative example of Thai cuisine I can say it is well made and good food. Also for all folks that don’t drive downtown it is no more than a block away from the two major bus stops in the city.

Thai Paradise on Urbanspoon

Bent Rail Brewery

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Another new joint. According to the Star newspaper twenty new places are opening in Indianapolis this year, most of which are locally owned.  This place was the most anticipated, to me because it was the most ambitious project. A large property right on the Monon Trail with a huge old building that started its life in the 1930’s as a commercial cleaner. I doubt that the folks that put the building up could have guessed that 70 years later it would become a brewery. Or at least will soon be an actual brewery. Right now they are pouring other local beers. Of course some folks are whining about that. After all this time, etc. My thoughts are, get a million bucks and try your hand and see how easy it is.

I got a look at the menu just the other day and I was pretty excited. Naturally it all depends on the execution if it flies or not.

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The place is enormous. It will seat 200 folks. Right now they are not jamming tables into every inch, so there is plenty of room to move

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Yep that is a pin ball and a Pac-Man game. They also have a pool table by the brewery tanks.

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Surprising,to me they have a three-way license so they can sell spirits at their bar.

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But we are here for the food. I knew it would push Pat’s comfort level because all of their sandwiches are complex builds. That is to say they offer a protein and other “stuff” to both enhance the taste and the size. Pat likes, basically no more than two things on his sandwich. Preferably meat and cheese. I think he would have enjoyed other sandwiches on the menu, but he decided on the pulled pork.

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One comment on Pat’s reference to cumin as a herb. Most folks consider it a spice as it is a seed from a plant related to parsley. Like coriander is the seed from cilantro. He is right though, cumin has become rather trendy around here.

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I got the Banh Mi. It was not traditional, but I think it held true to the intent. Pork and sausage spiked with the pickled veggies, and punctuated with fresh jalapeno and mellowed with cilantro. The mayo was very unassuming, as it should be. The portion of meat was not huge I would guess it to be in the 4 to 5 oz. range but the other “stuff” made it  a big taste. I think anymore meat would have been a distraction. All food,especially sandwiches should have a proper balance and I think this one achieved that.

Oh as for Pat’s coleslaw it was very good. It would most definitely rock on a BBQ sandwich. As for the pricing it definitely has a downtown price, but then it is downtown food. I really want to go back. I mean look at that menu. And pints of a great beer for $4.50. Well needless to say we both liked this place. I think this joint will be rocking Sobro when it gets warm,especially when they start pouring their own beer.

Bent Rail Brewing on Urbanspoon

Chatham Tap Pub 719 Mass. Ave.

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As you can imagine,this is an English type Pub. Complete with soccer games on TV, English draft beers and a few English style food items. Pat swore we had eaten here before. I remember coming here I just don’t recall eating here. Obviously it was pre- blog days.

The menu struck me as one where the folks have a creative spin for their sandwiches. They offer different bread choices,which isn’t uncommon. The uncommon part is the 2 ciabatta choices they have. Both of which are done in-house. They buy the dough and then proof it and bake it. For one they add rosemary. They also offer a rye, a Parisian and a black bean and salsa bread. I like that. It gives the customer a chance to “personalize” their meal.

What sort of pub would it be without fish and chips? As we all know Pat is a freak for fried fish.

So naturally he ordered a full order.

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I was more interested in the sandwiches. My first thought was a pear and Gorgonzola with bacon. I loved the idea,I was concerned about how much heat was applied to the cheese. I love bleu cheese,I just don’t like it hot. It tastes metallic to me. Of course I didn’t ask before hand. I ordered a Granny Smith apple and smoked Gouda on rosemary ciabatta. I added bacon. They refer to their bacon as rasher bacon. Now what does that mean? Rasher means slice. Some people use that term in reference to a portion of bacon. Chatham uses a bacon made from pork loin not pork belly. Similar to “Canadian bacon. That is their Rasher Bacon. The sandwich was full of apple, with a slight taste of cinnamon. The bread was excellent, but I think the added bacon carried the sandwich. I think that without it I would not have enjoyed it nearly as much. As for the smoked Gouda, the cheese could have phoned it in. A very small piece that was hardly melted. Don’t get me wrong. I really enjoyed the taste I just, by default, ponder how it could have been better.

More cheese, melted, and maybe a “dressing” of a whole grain mustard. A Panini press would be a perfect tool. Also I appreciate the lettuce and tomato but I though it was superfluous. Oh I will be back. After talking with Taylor,our bar tender she gave me the 411 on the pear, Gorgonzola sandwich. The cheese was enhanced with a mayo so the result was a creamy and sweet. And it comes with Rasher Bacon. So you get sweet and salty and savory. Bonus

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So there you have it. Right smack dab in the middle of Mass. Ave. you too can enjoy the taste of an English Pub. Good food and good beer.

 

 

Chatham Tap Pub on Urbanspoon

Mimi Blue Meatballs 874 Mass. Ave.

This was the place I was headed to Saturday night when logistics got in the way. It is also the one joint I thought Pat couldn’t eat at. I couldn’t imagine a meatball without onion. As it turned out I forgot to even ask. Sorry Pat.

It is an attractive place, nice furnishings and decor. It is also on the small side. Which makes for a cozy dining experience. I arrived shortly after opening and they already had a good crowd. So I didn’t try to take any interior shots. I find it awkward taking pictures with a bunch of people in them. Not everyone likes their image up on the internet.

The menu is simple. You get a laminated menu and an erasable marker to check your choices. They offer five different meatballs and five different sauces. They also give you about 10 different sides to choose from for $5 each. All are available on the side or under the meatballs. The concept is simple, and pretty much self-explanatory. So much so that rather than confuse everyone by explaining, here is a link to their online menu.

http://www.mimibluemeatballs.com/menu/

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I decided on the 4 baller. Classic with marinara, veggie with garlic cream, turkey with mushroom gravy, and beef and spicy Bolognese. All on a bed of creamy polenta. A $16 meal with bread. For what it was I think the price was fair.

Each meatball had its own individual texture and flavor. The veggie was the most assertive, and not just from the cayenne pepper. It had a nice veggie component to it but it lost its charm after a couple of bites. I may have expected something more like a falafel. This tasted more cornmeal than chick pea. The turkey ball was fine. What you would expect. The classic was a nice example of a beef and pork combo. Flavorful and robust. The beef may have been my favorite because I tasted a bit of fennel seed in it. At least I think it was the beef. As for the sauces both red sauces were okay. If it weren’t for the spice I don’t think I could tell the marinara and Bolognese apart. One did have a darker color, as though it had been on the heat longer. The garlic and cream was good and just as advertised. The mushroom gravy was very delicate. I had it over the turkey ball,because I didn’t want the sauce to have too much competition. But really it is hard to keep all the tastes separate, after a while, on one bowl. On the bottom of all the balls and sauce was one common element. The polenta. It was indeed creamy and should have been an excellent accompaniment to all these balls,but I thought it was too salty.

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I think this place has a good idea. They have only been open 4 weeks so they are doing an exceptional job so far. I can see myself coming back for a slider or two.

Mimi Blue Meatballs on Urbanspoon

Ludwig Bavaria Haus 4302 S. E. East Street.

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It does have a bit of a Bavarian feel to it, doesn’t it. Originally it was built as a Steak and Ale. That was a local chain of joints that tried for an English Manor house effect, as you can tell from the name. This particular incarnation opened a few months ago. Since then it has been savaged by some of the reviewers. As a general rule I ignore the most complementary post as well as the meanest one. In this case I noticed that some reviews were awfully hostile, just because their steak was tough. Some almost seemed personal. You always have to realize that some folks will trash a place for reasons other than food and service. Just like some friends of the owner will try to help by heaping on the praise. Frankly I think the former is worse than the latter. If you get canned from the joint,deal with it. It makes no sense to trash a restaurant simply because you couldn’t handle the job. Move on already. And as for the friends of the owner you aren’t really helping the place out. Eventually every place stands or falls on what they do. Not what others say.

So one thing the new owners kept was the Salad Bar. A foundation of the 70’s and 80’s it is not seen much anymore.

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I know I took an awful lot of pictures of the salad bar, but as I said people don’t seem to have them around much;except for buffets that is.

They started out with dinner only and then opened up for lunch after they were under way. They have a nice website which features both menus so I didn’t add that to my post. I did get a scan of the beer menu,which I am adding at the end.

For lunch they offer a few lunch portions of their dinners as well as sandwiches. With the plates you get a side and a trip to the salad bar. Pat decided on Schweinbraten, slow cooked pork shoulder.

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What you see here is a Frikadellen. Germany’s burger! Fresh ground pork and beef, herbs, and spices come together in this awesome sandwich. Char-grilled with caramelized onions and served on a pretzel bun.      8. I have seen these at Claus’ before. Claus is where they buy their sausages. I asked our server if that is where they got theirs. Oh no they make their own. Sold me.

The sandwich was nicely built on a pretzel bun with lettuce and tomato and topped with carmelized onion and a white cheese. The cheese offered a nice creaminess and the lettuce had a wonderful crunch. The bun was able to stand up to the patty which had a great mouth feel to it and  a nice crispy exterior. The bite was reminiscent of a sausage, tight but still moist. It was really a great sandwich. I opted for German Potato salad for my side. It was cubed red potatoes and the vinegar flavor wasn’t as pronounced  as I have had before. I enjoyed it and I thought the potatoes were done perfectly. Not soft as in some cases just properly done with a slight bite to them.

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So needless to say Pat and I both enjoyed this place. All I can say is if your want a taste of German food try this place out. I don’t think you will be disappointed. And if people are indeed trashing this place simply because they have an ax to grind all I can say is stop it. Let these folks get on with running a business. Let the customers be the true arbiters.

Here is the beer menu.

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Ludwig Bavarian Haus on Urbanspoon

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