the vibe of this place reminds me of the bachelor farmer crossed with tilia. it could be because there's been tons of raves about it and i just thought it was fine, but not for me. they're also both dark wood, packed rooms (though shea messed this one up with all the hard surfaces and it's freaking loud).
this one has an open kitchen like tilia kind of does, but unfortunately we were seated in the bar. if i ever came back i'd nix that- too many people trooping by to get to the beer garden, many of whom i was allergic to. never fun to stop dinner to hit the inhaler. oh and sadly my favorite archetectural detail wasn't the penny floor but the full doors on the restroom stalls. a nice touch.
but it is an 'if i return' because even though it turned out to be above average, i don't feel like there would be tons of other things i would feel like trying. and yes, i knew getting into it the menu would be pork-centric menu (it's in the name, no?). but they do have some not red meat/shellfish things. not many, but some. the ones i had didn't wow me, generally, nor did most of feel like we got decent value for what we paid.
the menu, if anything kind of reminded me of tilia, if they were meat-heavy. various snacks and small plates, a few larger menu items, mostly designed so you can share them.
we started with some smoked olives ($7). i liked the smoke in them, but they were a bit too acid, that seemed to work better with the peppers. we also got texas toast ($3), which is one of those items that seem you don't get value for the money- it was two slices of toast. seriously. even if they handmake their bread, that's really a large markup. plus it wasn't quite buttery, garlicky or toasted enough.
they did get the name half right for the buttermilk mash ($6), as it tasted a lot like buttermilk, and not so much like potatoes. even the chive taste was more prevalent than the potatoes. they were also whipped (a bit overwhipped actually) and not so much mashed.
the other sides we tried were a decent skillet cornbread ($5) with some nice honey (i think) butter and the cedar planked mushrooms ($11), which could've used a few more minutes on the heat to get the white mushrooms up to speed, but had some lovely flavors and textures. but they could've used more mushrooms.
for my 'meat' main course, i went with the turkey braunschweiger and black truffle ($10). they do almost all charcuterie in house (see: the name of the place). it was unctuous and lovely, but even for the not huge jar it came in there was a lack of crackers and additional crackers- or any sort of bread product, cost more. i've ranted about that in the past, and still believe it a very bad way to cheap out (even if the crackers or bread are house-made). to me that makes the experience compared unfavorably with the larger jar of duck rillettes in tilia's potted meat of the day, with numerous slices of large pieces of toast. and it was $3 less, too.
one of the other meats was the the wild boar ham with bread and butter pickles and molasses bread ($8) had very tasty ham, i was told. the pickles could've used the acid from the olives, though, or more sweetness, they just tasted barely brined. the four wee slices of bread were again not enough for the meat pile.
someone was brave enough to go for the platter of sausages. it came with a wild boar hot link with zatarain mustard (Very good), texas beef link with four chile sauce (also quite good), and berkshire pork and cheddar (greasy and not as good as come commercially made brats). it came with two piles of crunchy tortilla-topped jalapeno slaw for $30. that made it seem like a bargain- usually the sausages are $12 each and the slaw $5, so you do save money on that. and get quite a bit of food.
our main server was a bit spaced, the other people who assisted were more grounded. maybe due to the business of the place. at least they seemed to know the menu. there was a bottle of water on the table, so no question about refills.
given the hype, i am glad i went once. it's one of those type of places. now i know what it is and all, i just think that there's other places that suit me better. foodwise. but it wasn't just me-. i think everyone pretty much thought at most they may stop by the bar for a drink, maybe a snack if they were hungry, but maybe not.
© the bent sun as risen