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Goose Island Brewpub

Posted in Food and Drinks on September 18th, 2011

During our trip to Chicago Adam and I visited the Goose Island Brewpub, Clybourn location. It’s set back away from the road in a cluster of stores. Once we found it though, we had a terrific time.

The food was excellent. I had a Black Earth burger, which was made from organic beef. The toppings complimented each other well. Since watching Food, Inc., I’ve made an effort to not eat beef that was not grass fed, and it was a pleasure to be able to indulge with my beer. Many of the ingredients the brewpub uses are from local farms which were listed on the menu. Adam got the Pulled Pork and also enjoyed his meal. We split an amazing dessert – chocolate malt cake with ice cream.

The Goose Island beer menu is serious business. The descriptions were detailed, down to the type of glassware used for each. The image above is of the 312 and the Hefeweizen. The 312 was about average. The Hefeweizen, however was notable in that the banana flavors were really distinct. The fruit flavor was delicious. Next I tried the Sofie, with hints of vanilla, white pepper and citrus, was just a perfect bliss of a beer. The overall experience reminded me of champagne, in the way the flavor and carbonation went together. I will definitley be on the lookout for it in the future. With dessert, we split a Pere Jacques, a darker Belgian beer. It complimented the chocolate really well. The beer was excellent, and it made a great meal even better.

Dinner at Goose Island felt like hitting the jackpot. Check it out if you get the chance. The brewpub was not sold to Anheuser-Busch with the Fulton Street Brewery. It’s a special place and I hope it stays that way.

Loui’s (Greek) BBQ

Posted in Food and Drinks on April 5th, 2011

Note: This restaurant has closed.

Last week, I went to Loui’s BBQ Greek Restaurant in Bayside Queens. I had noticed the new venue while driving by, and from across the street the logo and signs in the window only appear to say “LOUI’S BBQ” and so I had assumed it was a new barbecue restaurant. I had asked my husband and another couple along with this in mind. Our expectations of pulled pork, cornbread and brisket were quickly dashed when we entered the almost empty restaurant to find a menu of standard Greek cuisine.

It didn’t help that they did not yet have their liquor license. Wine and beer were on the menu and the waiter told us they were in the process of getting it.

We ordered salads – greek and house, both were good. I ordered the grilled chicken with wild rice. I received a very generous portion. The chicken was fine, and I loved the rice – there were small pieces of dried fruit in it, and it was delicious. I had excellent left overs. My friends ordered the pork chops, ribs and souvlaki. They said it was decent food, but nothing extra special.

After dinner we ordered cappuccino and baklava. It was a very good dessert, and another large portion. However, I had to wait a few minutes after my baklava was served for my cappuccino – apparently they were still learning how to operate the new machine.

The staff was friendly but the service was very slow – especially considering we were the only people in the restaurant. Perhaps they wanted to keep us sitting in the window – an empty restaurant on Bell Boulevard at dinner time is normally an impossibility, and probably not a good omen.

Bottom line: Decent food, but with a misleading name.

The Meatball Shop: Wait Until the Crowds Die Down

Posted in Food and Drinks on January 5th, 2011

Sliders from The Meatball Shop

My first restaurant review!  I love trying out the new “insert specialty food” place.  Whether it’s “that taco place,” “that bao place” or “that falafel place” I get super excited when a new restaurant opens up that has one particular specialty dish.  So, when The Meatball Shop opened up in the Lower East Side, I was dying to try it out.  Of course, I had to wait a few weeks until the crowd died down a bit, and it didn’t help that Yahoo!  had an article on their front page about the place.
But finally, a couple weeks ago, on a Sunday night, a fellow foodie friend and I decided to check out the place.  Even then, the place was still pretty crowded.  At about 5PM a wait for 2 was 45 minutes.  If you don’t want to wait, there are a couple options.  The bar seating is first come first serve, and they serve the full menu.  Or, if you’re lucky enough to have a place nearby, you can walk right up to the take-out counter and get your food to go.

The space itself is a bit cramped, especially when there are a lot of  people waiting.  There is a large bar that runs the length of the dining area, and the dining tables are one very large communal table (where my friend and I ended up sitting) and a handful of two-tops around the edge.  I’m not the biggest fan of communal tables.  It’s kinda like getting the middle seat on a airplane where you have to share the space; also it seems like everyone is eavesdropping on your conversation.

When you sit down, you get a laminated menu and a dry-erase marker to mark up the choices of what you want.  There are a lot of choices to make:  You pick the type of meat, the type of sauce, whether you want them “naked” (served plain), in a hero, over pasta, in a slider, in a salad, or in a brioche.  There are also several sides you can order.  Every day there are specials – for the types of meatballs and sauce as well as the sides.

We wanted to get a good sampling of the meatballs.  We ordered the “Special” meatball which that night was lamb – served “naked” style.  We also ordered 1 slider each of chicken, pork, beef, and vegetable.  We tried to sample all the sauces as well:   Tomato, Spicy Meat Sauce, Mushroom Gravy, Parmesan and Pesto.  If that weren’t enough we also ordered the Daily Green – which was Kale, and the Daily Roast Veggie – which was Squash.

The meal was pretty good.  My favorite meatball by far was the beef.  Sometimes you can’t change a classic.  A close second was the lamb – which was great!  The one disappointment was the veggie meatball.  Although the owners claim that this is one of their most popular orders for health nuts.  But, for me, I just don’t think you can have a meatball without meat!  The consistency just didn’t do it, it was falling apart on the plate, and it had a very plain taste.  Maybe we picked the wrong type of sauce to go with it – but I probably wouldn’t order that again.

If you do go: do NOT skip out on desserts.  The Ice cream sandwiches were excellent! You get to pick the cookie as well as the ice cream flavor (and yes, you can pick 2 different flavors of cookie) Hehe.  Again, we went with the special flavor – Oatmeal Ice cream.  With an oatmeal cookie and a ginger snap cookie.  My only complaint was that the cookies were not soft, so it was a little hard to eat with a spoon.  We also ordered an ice cream float – which were good, but not noteworthy.

Overall, I think it’s a fun place to visit.  While the beef and lamb meatball was excellent, a meatball is just something that I don’t usually crave, and it’s just not special enough food that I can’t easily get somewhere, or a food that can really be made so uniquely that a restaurant would be known for it.  If you do go, try to go at an off-time and make sure you go with a smaller group.  But I would wait until the hype dies down.

The Meatball Shop

84 Stanton Street
(between Allen & Orchard)
New York, NY 10002
Phone (212) 982-8895
Fax (212) 982-8859

Thursday-Saturday: Noon-4AM

Sunday-Wednesday: Noon-2AM

No Reservations