September 12, 2012

Burger N' Brew (Review)

While blogging is a good excuse to go out and try new things, sometimes it is important to just go eat somewhere you love.  That is why, when I made a quick fifty bucks by participating in a focus group, I took Wife down the street to Burger N' Brew (4295 W. State Street, Boise, ID 83703 (208) 345-7700) instead of looking for the next big thing.  Well, that and I had a coupon from the Town Planner calendar.

Lots of good beer on tap.
I initially discovered Burger N' Brew by accident.  Well, not quite accident--they are close enough to my house it was bound to happen eventually--but happenstance, at least.  I was at home watching a Boise State game when the power went out.  The power in my neighborhood goes out quiet a bit, actually, but usually I am happy to put candles on and pretend it adds ambiance to my life.  My attitude was something else entirely during game time.  I ran out into the rain, desperate to find out if the Broncos would be able to hold on or if the other team would manage a comeback.
Cold and refreshing local beer.

The Broncos won, and I ended up having a good meal besides. Since then, it has become my go-to destination for every major sporting event.  A large part of the reason for that is that they have 22 beers on tap, with $7.50 for domestics (except PBR, which proudly comes in at $6,) and $10 for microbrews, as well as a full bar.  When Wife and I came in for our date, she got a glass of the locally produced Payette Outlaw.  During football games, the Brew is close enough of a walk for me to stagger home, but this day I stuck with the iced tea.  However, I did take a sip of her beer and it was fantastic.  I really like the beers coming from the Payette Brewery, but that is a different post.  Back at the restaurant, our waitress seated us promptly and with a big smile, quickly got us our drinks, and then hung back as Wife and I slowly deliberated our options.  In the end, she went with her usual--fish and chips--and I got a double order of finger steaks.
The food arrived quickly, and we split our proteins between us.  The cod was tender and flaky beneath just the perfect amount of breading.  They also have a version made with halibut, but we weren't sure if there could be such a difference in the two fishes once breaded and friend to justify a two dollar price difference.  Maybe someday we will find out, but for the time being we were perfectly satisfied with what we'd ordered.
I was likewise impressed with my finger steaks.  I keep reading that this preparation of sirloin isn't well known outside of Idaho and its surrounding states, but I can't fathom why.  Strips of meat are coated in a flavorful batter and deep fried, resulting in these crunchy bites of beef that are terrific.  And the ones at Burger N' Brew are some of the better ones I've had, even reigning supreme to a couple of places that put their finger steaks on their signs.  One big reason is that they weren't overly salty, but the biggest is that the steak inside the breading was still tender.  Lots of places overcook their finger steaks, but despite their humble origins, finger steaks are still made with steak--it's such a travesty to ruin good meat.  These were perfectly cooked.  One big surprise was that they served their finger steaks with barbecue sauce instead of cocktail sauce, which is the condiment that I was used to, but it was good sauce (with strong hints of apple cider vinegar,) and went well with the meat.  The best, though, was when Wife and I had them bring us some Frank's Hot Sauce and blue cheese dressing--that classic flavor combination was perfect with both my heavier steak and the fish.  This was especially welcome since the one nit-pick I can find for this whole meal was that the tartar sauce was a bit thick and uninteresting.  We ate everything except for one of the rolls--Wife finds them superfluous.  
We were back the following weekend to see the Broncos take on the Michigan State Spartans.  The game ended in a loss for the good guys, but we had yet another great experience.  Despite the enormous crowd, the waitress not only managed to keep selling us pitchers, but to keep Boy's strawberry lemonade full for all four quarters of the game.  Considering that most of her money was coming from alcohol sales, the fact that she still took time to pay attention to my son really stood out.  In fact, besides perhaps the beer selection and the local, the biggest recommendation I can give to Burger N' Brew is that I have never had a bad waitress experience in the two dozen times I have been there.  She even made sure Boy knew when new popcorn had been popped.  (Burger N' Brew has free popcorn, in case you just want to drink.  Or you're nine.)  I didn't take many pictures that night, but we thoroughly enjoyed our cheese sticks and nachos, and during their "second happy hour" Boy and Wife were able to get an order of beer-battered clam strips that they claimed to love.  (I am allergic, so I can only go by their opinion.)

Really, I have never had a bad meal here, and I've had burgers, chicken sandwiches, dinner salads, and more.  This isn't a fancy restaurant; just a down-to-earth beer and burgers joint, hence the name.  But you really can't go wrong if you are looking for a place to watch a game or just a local alternative to Red Robin or Applebee's.


Burger N Brew on Urbanspoon

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