By Will Carroll
I was lucky enough to be invited to the Scotty’s Brewhouse menu introduction. It was a bit odd, since I’d been to Scotty’s a couple times during the last week —it’s very handy for the NFL Combine — and the event was supposed to be a week previous, but was delayed by weather. Regardless, seeing the presentation and work that goes into a menu is cool to see.
Scott Wise, Bruce McClain and Ryan Kellerman do a great job of answering questions. Indeed, Wise remains a singular figure in Indy cuisine. He won’t pretend to be more than he is, but in the face of challenges, his vision and commitment is one that makes Indy a lucky place for having him. He spoke passionately about his restaurant and plans (which Jolene told you about earlier).
The menu itself has a great look. The menu is in an actual album cover and the attention to detail is great. (Wise joked that some of his staff are too young to know what the hole in the album jacket is for. “That’s where we put the music!”) There are more pictures and descriptions that the previous stark menu.
We were given samples of all the new food and drinks. They had a great run of burgers, some new wraps, and some solid appetizers like Buffalo waffle fries and parmesan garlic fries that had a taste like I was at a Giants game (That’s a compliment, in case you haven’t been to San Francisco.)
Several of the dishes, including a quesadilla and a burger, involved pulled pork. This is a tough protein to get right in this kind of venue, but it drew raves from everyone around me. Another high point was the Big Ass Burger, which was described by one of my twitter followers as “looking like a cartoon.” It’s well named and should come with a defibrillator on the side!
If there’s any argument, it’s that the menu seems a bit burger heavy. This is hardly a complaint and even with these, there’s an option to have a different protein or a veggie burger. As a vegetarian myself, I’m a bit more conscious of this than most, and know I’m in the minority.
The cocktails were solid as always, including a Pineapple Sriracha Margarita and a mai tai. Maybe they didn’t come in a fishbowl like one past favorite, but they’re an elegant alternative to their own beers. That said, Scotty’s will still feature their own Thr3e Wise Men beers as well as local and regional brews, which they hope will rotate regularly.
The new menu takes Scotty’s Brewhouse forward without deviating too far from a successful path. It’s good food at good prices in a good atmosphere. Calling it a local alternative to Chili’s, Friday’s and the like is apt. Wise may bristle a bit at being called a chain, but he’s building something he should be proud of.
Want to try the new menu yourself? Leave a comment about your favorite item or drink at Scotty’s and you could win a gift certificate. We’ll select a winner at random on Friday.