Last night, after a long afternoon of digging a 105-foot trench, my husband and I went up to the Cities for some food and beer. We settled on Busters on 28th. We'd heard some good things about it - particularly its wide craft beer selection.
We walked into Busters and immediately got that neighborhood bar feel. There were are great mix of folk - families with kids, twenty-something hipsters, couples of all ages. It had that true "pub" feel - it wasn't just a bar people went to in order to get drunk and party, but rather a place people went to for a good time with family and friends.
It was pretty packed, but we got a table right away in this "seat yourself" establishment. We had very nice service throughout, even though it was very full.
Their fairly extensive draft beer menu had several I had tried and liked and a few that I had not. So I ordered the mixed (American and Import) beer flight. It is nice that Busters allows you to pick any 5 beers on their draft menu for the beer flight.I like beer flights - and not every place does them. I like trying new beers, but obviously can't do full glasses of more than a couple at one sitting. I ordered the Uinbroue Maudite, Lift Bridge's Farm Girl Saison, Blvd Tank #7, Magic Hat #9 and Kwak. As you can tell, I like Belgians. I'd already tried the Maudite, Farm Girl and Kwak, but Blvd Tank #7 and Magic Hat #9 were new to me.
The Husband and I both really liked Blvd Tank #7 - it was a very nice, easy drinking summer beer. It had a lot of aromatic hops, but didn't have too much bitterness. Very complex and fruity. Magic Hat #9 was quite different. It was dry but had almost no aroma (that we could smell). Malty and nutty. Interesting, but not something I could really drink a lot of. But, it was definitely leaning more "autumn" beer.
One thing I must talk about is the house-made potato chips. The menu calls them Sea Salt and Vinegar Chips. They are very nice, thin chips with the skins on. We didn't notice a lot of sea salt or vinegar on these chips (I had a few that had some good sea salt). But they were very snackable. We plowed through these babies - with the help of their french onion dip - in no time.
The Husband had the mock duck pizza and I ordered the oddly named "Elian Gonzalez". The pizza had a lot of spices going on - which was probably necessary or you would have had a very dull pizza. The crust - more that cracker-style. It certainly wasn't soggy, but it wasn't very exciting or flavorful.
The Elian Gonzalez shredded pork with sliced ham sandwich had a really nice ciabatta bread (from the bakery next door - A Baker's Wife). It had a good chewy crust and a nice soft texture inside that didn't disintegrate with the sandwich ingredients. I'm a sucker for good bread. I love bread. Unfortunately, the sandwich was overwhelmed by the pickle aioli. This seems to be their signature sauce (it was listed on several of their sandwiches and burgers). The problem was that the pickle aioli mixed with the gruyere and shredded pork in a way that reminded me of a tuna melt. It wasn't bad - it just didn't seem to achieve the flavor palette that I think they were trying to achieve.
I have to give a shout out for their fries. They weren't really crispy, but they brought me back to my childhood. They really reminded me of the fries my dad would make up at the potato warehouse during potato harvest. Again, that homemade/house-made fry - a bit soggy and greasy. But, I was immediately transported back to a small, cramped, poorly-lit room off the side of a huge, cavernous potato warehouse with a black deep fryer and thick, just-sliced potatoes browning away - and several dirty farmers snatching a few off a grease-soaked paper towel.
In the end, the beer selection was very good, the ambiance nice (although a bit loud), and the food ranged from ok to pretty good. I think it would be worth a return visit with some friends.
Do you have a favorite beer hall?