You may remember the 2 reviews of Liter House. One solo and one a few months later with Pat. Well this is the long anticipated Beer Garden and BBQ joint built on the back of the Liter House. It is a large space with an upstairs bar and the menu is all about smoked meats.
They serve the food on a paper lined school lunch tray and give you paper plates to plate your food.
Pat ordered from the combo section of the menu. One meat 2 sides for $13.95 I am afraid I did not do a very good job highlighting his brisket in the picture. I did what I could with cropping the picture but the only thing that really shows well are his sides.
I had to try their ribs so I went to the From the Smoker section where they sell their meats by the quarter pound. I don’t usually think of ribs by the pound but by the bones so I had to guess one pound would be approximately one half rack. That was 14 bucks and I splurged on Pat’s dime and ordered a side of Collards for $4.
Wow. As someone younger might say. These ribs are Fire. Tender and a great smoky flavor. They had a beautiful smoke ring. I really should have taken a picture. Both meats are placed on top of a slice of white bread. I used mine to sop up the liquor from the greens. Not as good as corn bread but it worked. As for the greens they were very tasty, not as much meat as I am accustomed to ( a few pieces of bacon) but they had a deep flavor with a nice vinegar tang in the broth.
All of the smoked meats are served without sauce. They offer 3 sauces. A sweet sauce, a mustard sauce and a “hot” sauce; which tasted like a combo of steak sauce and a Louisiana hot sauce.
This place is the coolest of all Sahm’s spots. Well to me it is. You get Liter House and Big Lug beer plus some of the best BBQ in the city. Be advised they have a special board inside which features the Special of the day plus the veggie, soup and fish of the day. Just in case you don’t want BBQ. I can certainly see myself going back. Trust me though it won’t be on a bike.
Today we headed North to Fishers; the high rent district. It seems as though the new breweries,with few exceptions,have bypassed the far north of the Metropolitan area. That is why I was surprised when I realized that I had missed this one. It is a new construction in a strip mall in a heavily traveled area of the North side.
It is an attractive joint and the brewing equipment is highly visible as you enter.
As soon as you walk in you are greeted by the large semi-circular bar in front of you and the aroma of smoked meat and brewing beer all around you. If that doesn’t get your appetite up and running you are a lost cause.
The menu offers some unique items not usually found on a beer joint’s menu. Battered and deep-fried artichoke hearts or a basket of hush puppies on the appetizer menu. The artichokes at $7.49 are reasonably priced,I supposed, as I have never seen them on a menu around here. I do question the pups being priced at $8.49 though. I think across the board the food prices are a bit higher than what you would find at joints closer to the city.
We thought the beer they brew is excellent,having a beginning,middle and finish. Something desirable in food as well as drink. The pricing is from $5 to $6.50,with imperial pints selling for the higher price. That is the going rate for a lot of microbrews. They do offer a flight of 6 5 oz. glasses for $10,but I was told they would be raising the price to $12. So that may be incentive to go sooner than later.
Pat’s sandwich was $10.49. Frankly I thought that a bit high for a below average portion. If I may digress a bit on the sliced vs pulled “controversy” pulling as opposed to slicing would save some money.
The sandwich I ordered was unique to me. It included items that I would not necessarily put together but I was intrigued. Here is the description from the menu.
I have looked forward to this place opening for a while. It is the restaurant part of 12.05 Distillery. The distillery opened several months back;the second one in Indianapolis. The whole facility, distillery,dining room and kitchen is in an old bank building,built-in 1924. The exterior features the original terra-cotta exterior and uses an abundance of old wood in the interior. The name is a dedication to the date when Prohibition ended. December fifth. I think they are trying to capture a 1930’s vibe and the menu reflects that.
The chef did his due diligence in making some dishes reflective of the era. They offer a Mock Turtle soup as well as a Cream Mongole.
I opted for a cup of a cup of Mongole to start. This is a crazy combo of split pea, creamy tomato and various root vegetables. It was very earthy and flavorful. It would be great winter time fare for $4 per cup and $8 for a bowl.
The only critique I could make is the soup,as good as it was cries for some cracker. A bit of a crunch to balance the creaminess.
For my main dish I was really torn. They offer a Hot Brown, a Monte Christo and a smoked beef Manhattan. Well I decided on the raw Beef “sandwich” for $13. It was a half pound mound of chopped steak on a thick slice of a rye type bread, topped with a raw egg, pickled onion and a neon relish.
I thought it was a very elegant and tasty bite for lunch, but then I have a thing for tartare and Kibbeh Nayyeh and the like so I jumped at the chance. I think there are only 2 joints in Indy that offer this particular dish. Once again I must pick a nit. I don’t know if serving it on a thick slice of bread is the way to go. I slid the meat off of the bread and ate it with pieces of the bread I tore off. Luckily Pat didn’t eat all of his bread so I had enough to finish. Also I always though naan was a thin flat bread. Hey I may be wrong. In either event I admire the person that put it on the menu.
Pat, true to form, ordered the smoked pork sandwich, for $9.
So;this is Repeal. A nice little joint with a few minor details to iron out. We had two menus. One said Brioche bun the other said Cholla bun. I guess Cholla is the new name for Challah. Oy Vey. Still I think it is a great new joint. I want to go back and try the Mock Turtle soup and the Pimento Cheese. And while I am there I might as well have a cocktail.
Well Ladies and Gentlemen, this is a bar. A bar that dates back to the 1940’s. A bar that was redone about a year ago. A spacious bar with pool tables, about a dozen beers on tap and a grand out-door seating area with a fire pit. It also is a bar with some of the best tavern food I have had. They offer blackened catfish and frog leg appetizers, as well as real deal smoked pork sandwiches. We ordered some breaded mushrooms to start. Fresh breaded ‘shrums are always a bonus and they offered theirs for $5.50, with a horseradish sauce. Nothing prepared us for the monsters we were given.
We received 5 mushrooms that were in excess of 3 inches in diameter. Each one was impeccably breaded in a thin breading reminiscent of a cornmeal breading usually reserved for catfish. The horse-radish dip that came with the mushrooms matched well; as did the one buck pints of Pabst Blue Ribbon.
As for our “entre” Pat and I were both conflicted. Pat for the “Big Ass Bacon Burger” and the “Big Pig”. Me for the catfish special and the “Big Pig”. Pat decided on the Burger. A 1/2 pound burger topped with 8 slices of bacon and cheddar cheese. He substituted pepper jack cheese and ate the whole thing. With fries the “Big Ass Bacon Burger was $7.50.
They offer a catfish sandwich for 8 bucks, choice of fried or blackened. This day the lunch special was a fried sandwich, with fries for $5. Now I love bargains. But the lure of smoked pig drew me to the porcine side. The “Big Pig” is a toasted bun with smoked ham, smoked pork and smoked bacon. Now is that not a pig tri fecta?
The bun is nicely toasted. The ham appears to be a buffet ham exposed to extra smoke and then cooked on a griddle. The bacon looked as if it were deep-fried. No matter it was still pretty good. What carried it over the top was the pulled pork. They have a large smoker out back attached to the back of the kitchen. That way you can access the product without having smoke in your joint. Of course on the down side you must go outside to load and stoke. But heck artists must suffer for their craft.
This imaginative sandwich is only $8.50, with fries. It is worth every darn dime. When Pat and I went to Squealers, Pat had the smoked pork. After tasting a piece of my pork sandwich he was ready to declare Checkered Flag better. I don’t know about you but I think that is pretty good for a Westside bar.
We don’t think you can go wrong with this joint. It is simply a neighborhood bar with some outstanding food.
This joint has a rather large fan base and subsequently receives a lot of word of mouth advertising. Which is the best. It is sincere and heartfelt, and free. And it certainly seems warranted. They have won national awards for their pig and their sauce.
The place consists of 3 separate rooms. A large main dining area with 2 smaller adjacent rooms. They also have a full bar. Which was a pleasant surprise, I wasn’t aware they sold beer.
They have an extensive menu, covering all the BBQ bases. Hog, brisket, rib eye, chicken,turkey and sausage. I found out after the fact they purchase their sausage raw and smoke it in-house. My kind of joint.
I was torn between the brisket and the smoked prime rib sandwich. They smoke off the rib, shave it and serve it Philly style with peppers and onions and cheese. Now that sounds good. I felt compelled to go with the brisket sandwich. I really like brisket.
The sandwich comes with choice of 2 sides for $7.99, and you can order it wet or dry. You also get your choice on sauce. Sweet, hot or mix of both. Pat and I both opted for the both. Their Award winning sauce was really outstanding. Nicely sweet with just the right of amount of heat. The beans were tasty with bits of meat in it. They fit really well with smoked meat. I prefer my beans just a tad thicker, but that is merely a personal preference. The coleslaw was delicious. Thick and sweet a perfect complement to BBQ. Now as for the brisket. I can’t recall the last time I had brisket so nicely done. Tasty, tender and check out the smoke ring. Now that is one beautiful sight. I especially liked that they use sweet white onion. I certainly don’t know who issued that memo that says restaurants should use “red” onions, but I wish someone would rescind it. A Vidalia style onion is the best possible choice to eat with meat. Again my personal taste
So seriously folks this is one serious smoke house. They offer the best smoked I have had,to date in Indy. Once again. My personal taste. However I think quite a few folks would agree.
Well Ember has a new menu, and it looks pretty good, so I had to give it a try. Of course I had to go solo. Pat is the only lay about I know, and he had stuff to do. The rest of my friends are all busy with jobs. Lunch out on a beautiful day is special, even when you’re by yourself. And this time I remembered my camera.
I started out with a cup of their Wandering Chili. Yesterday it was sweet BBQ chili with smoked brisket. A chili purist ( Texan ) would undoubtedly throw up their arms in disgust because, not only did it have BBQ sauce in it the meat was in cubes and it had beans. The horror. Classic or not I thought it was pretty tasty. Sweet at the start, earthy chili flavor in the middle and a taste of smokiness from the meat. A great way to start a lunch. Especially paired with a pint of Fountain Square’s Working Man’s Pilsner.
For the main part of my lunch I decided on a Cuban Press. As you can see they added in-house smoked pork to the menu. No Hoosier could pass on smoked pig. For my side I opted on a side salad with a Dijon vinaigrette. The veggies were fresh and the dressing was first-rate. They did make a slight change on the salads. Before they had a Simple Spring Salad as a side option, featuring spring mix and romaine lettuce. Some of the folks wanted more romaine so they added a side salad with all romaine. Go figure.
Their version of the Cuban is really quite good and at $8.75 with a side more than reasonable. The pork was very tender and the smokiness fit very well with the other ingredients. Unlike some joints that use a yellow ball park mustard they use Dijon. Which set the tone for the sandwich from the beginning. Their choice of bread was spot on as well. A slight tooth and a nice density. A sammich is only as good as the bread.
Well ladies and gentlemen the third review of Ember Urban Eatery comes to a close. It’s just going to keep getting better.
Well, this post will not have any pictures. I forgot my camera and my cell phone and Pat has a new phone that he hasn’t figured out yet. It’s a shame too. They have a new,very photogenic draft system online and a center of the bar chalk board that has a very colorful beer menu. Complete with original artwork. Indeed a shame. Oh well it is all about the food after all.
If you may or may nor recall they have their own proprietary meat blend for their burgers. A mixture of chuck, sirloin, brisket and short rib. Similar to Bru Burger;if I recall. That was one of the reasons I was insistent on going back. My first try at a burger was a fail. But before the burger I ordered a cup of SOD. Cream of spinach and cheese. Intriguing. Actually it was pretty tasty. A nice light and creamy, cheesy soup with a touch of celery. The spinach was pretty much along for the ride. And they serve little packs of oyster crackers with their soup. Now who can not like oyster crackers?
Well enough of the foreplay ( in the original sense of the word) on to the main event. The Burger. As soon as I got it I cut it in half. First to facilitate the eating of same,and second to confirm it was indeed mid-rare. As soon as I cut my sandwich in two and exposed its moist and bloody insides to the world the rain stopped. The thunder ceased and the clouds parted. Seriously. Well maybe I exaggerate. But it was an excellent sandwich. Their combo of cow cuts was definitely worth the effort. The basic burger is $9 and comes with the usual cold set and choice of side. Cheese is an additional 50 cents. So their prices are in line with other downtown joints.
Pat ordered Four Cheese Pasta. Cavatappi with yellow and white cheddar,provolone and parmesan cheeses. It is served with a side salad for $9. When he ordered it our server asked him if he wanted to add some bacon or shrimp to “spice it up a bit”. A little “up sell” is always appreciated. A tip of the hat to our server. Pat opted for shrimp. He got 5 or 6 nice 21 count shrimp. A thoughtful portion, I thought. I think that up charge was $3.
After we ordered, the co-owner arrived and she appears to enjoy chatting nearly as much as I do. We spent quite awhile talking about some of the menu changes coming up. She told me they were adding a smoked pork loin. Smoked pork,thin sliced on a brioche bun. Makes a return trip mandatory. They have already added 2 salad dressings to the menu. Originally all they offered was an orange vinaigrette. Now they offer a bleu cheese dressing and a Dijon vinaigrette as well. While we were there they debuted a prototype humus plate, for the bosses to try out. It was a healthy dish of home-made humus and an oval plate loaded with accoutrement. Pita,celery,carrot,grapes and onion and tomatoes. It was a good-looking plate.
One more bit of “gossip”. Ember’s has a nice and wide front porch,and they are planning on using it. They have all the permits in order to have outdoor seating. That is always a great draw. They are even planning on having live music on select nights. Now that would make it even more special.