Tuesday, July 21, 2009

Brewers Who Can Cook

McCoy's Public House & Brew

In the past few years, microbreweries have become all the rage. Piggybacking on this trend have been public houses who brew their own beer. Generally speaking, one of two scenarios arises at these places. Either one, they have great beer but mediocre food, like Morgan Street Brewery in St. Louis, or else they have fantastic food and crappy beer like 75th Street Brewery (Yes, I dislike 75th Street’s beer and really couldn’t care less if you disagree). Occasionally, however, you will find a place that does both really well. McCoy’s at 4057 Pennslyvania in Westport is just such a place.

Packed with the after work crowd, we really wanted to sit outside and enjoy the pleasant summer weather this weekend. Unfortunately no one on the patio was leaving, not that I can blame them. Luckily, there was plenty of room inside, which was almost as nice. The crimson walls and dark wood accents gave the place a nice atmosphere.


Quickly shown to a table by a hostess wearing purple boots (I remember because Natasha commented on it; who wears boots in the summer?), we found the ambiance of the place charming and inviting. Skeptical of the beers at first, I opted for an Infamous Artie, which is their Raspberry Wheat mixed with their Brown Ale. Natasha had the Raspberry Wheat. Surprisingly, these beers were pretty good. While I found the Raspberry a little sweet and not beer tasting enough, I really enjoyed the Brown Ale that I ordered next. And considering that I compare all brown ales to Newcastle, it wasn’t bad. (Don’t misinterpret me, it’s not as good as Newcastle, but it’s not bad at all).


Of course because this was quality beer I was expecting unremarkable food. Thankfully, I was wrong. While the meal wasn’t perfect, it was definitely good.


We started with the tomato basil bruschetta with a garlic-ricotta spread, which was a well-executed and well-presented. The balsamic reduction drizzle was a nice touch, not just from an aesthetic point-of-view, but also for the sweet flavor it added.


For mains, I had the Santa Fe Burger, a ½ pound patty (allegedly, it seemed a little small to me), topped with pepper jack cheese and a roasted Anaheim pepper. While the burger had excellent flavors, it was a slightly under-done for most people. Personally I prefer my beef rare (yes I know this is dangerous with ground beef), so I liked it, but many people would have sent it back. That said, it was delicious and paired well with their crispy, well-cooked fries. Served sans-condiment, I requested some mayo. It took a bit longer than I had hoped to get this, but considering our waiter brought out the ramekin on a salad plate with a black napkin, this classy touch more than made up for the slight wait.


Natasha ordered one of their signature dishes, the Tuscan chicken. Two chicken breasts topped with prosciutto, brie and sautéed spinach, sat on a bed of pea risotto. While the chicken was succulent and moist, its flavor profile was nothing spectacular. The risotto, on the other hand was perfectly executed. Anyone who has ever tried their hand at risotto knows the perils it can present; it’s easy to overcook and nearly as easy to undercook. However, at McCoy’s it turned out perfectly. Even as the side, it easily outshone the protein.


As my lovely wife has a severe sweet tooth, she insisted we try McCoy’s dessert menu. At our server’s recommendation we split the chocolate peanut butter ice cream sandwich, a brownie sandwiched around peanut butter ice cream and served with a hot chocolate dipping sauce. Personally, I don’t care for peanut butter, but this was a good way to finish off a meal, if a bit messy.

Overall, I liked McCoy’s. I don’t like making the trek into Westport in the evening all that often because I don’t like fighting the crowds. However, if you don’t mind that sort of thing, it’s not a bad place to grab a bite.

    Scorecard
    Food: 4
    Atmosphere: 4.5
    Service: 4.5
    Menu: 4
    Price: 3.5
    Total: 20.5
    Average: 4.1
http://www.mccoyspublichouse.com/


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