Thursday, August 6, 2009

Scotty's Brewhouse

Well, Scotty’s has been on the list awhile, and we had the kids and my parents and it was a great day to sit outside, so we thought, why not? I have to start by saying they do a nice job of making the place pretty kid friendly for a “brewhouse.” Inside there are TVs at each table (can you change the station? I am not sure. If not, sports may not keep the kids entertained after all). We sat outside though, and they had one of those nifty bean bag toss games right outside the fence on the sidewalk that kept the kids entertained until their food got there. And since it was Sunday, the kids’ meals were free (with the purchase of an adult meal) which was a nice surprise as well.

Before I get into the meat of it, so to speak, can I just complain about something? This menu is an assault on the senses. What is it about these types of restaurants that makes them think they a) need to offer every type of food under the sun; and b) print them all in screaming bold graphics that just make me dizzy. Seriously, there are so many things on the menu, it was a bit overwhelming. My Mom even commented, with so many things on the menu, you wonder if they can do it all well.

Anyway, since there were 6 of us, I ordered some starters for the table. According to everyone and everything I have ever read about Scotty’s, the fried pickles are the thing to order, and since I love pickles, and even fried pickles (anyone ever had the fried pickles at the Irish Lion in Bloomington?). The pickles come with a horseradish sauce or ranch dressing. I asked for both (and eventually got both). But the horseradish was definitely the best I think. Not too spicy and nice and creamy. A really nice complement. And by the end of the meal, I think hubby and I agreed that they probably were the best thing on the table. They are sliced pickles (as opposed to the spear-type ones I have had before) and were clearly hand battered (since a couple that were stuck together still had quite a bit of wet batter in them). They were tasty overall for little fried items, and I enjoyed them. And I think pretty much everyone did, even my 3 year old.

We also ordered the 7 tidals buffalo chicken dip because it sounded interesting and was designated as a house specialty. It is described as chicken, bleu cheese, cream cheese, cheddar cheese and mild sauce all blended with blue corn chips and celery. Well, it wasn’t very good. Tried a couple bites and couldn’t eat any more. And judging by the amount left at the end, no one else liked it either. Chicken? Really? There was chicken in there? Sorta reminiscent of that Velveeta con queso dip people used to make in the microwave with salsa. But funkier. And it was very, very orange.

Because I was attempting to try lots of things, after that, I opted for what are called “scooty snacks” on the menu, which are basically Scotty’s version of sliders. There are several flavors you can try, so I chose the turkey Caesar and the buffalo chicken. These are intended to be a smaller portion (which I do appreciate that they are offering), so not served with a side or anything (and if you get a side, watch out for all the choices on that front too. Whew!) Well, the turkey and Caesar sandwich was pretty dang boring. It was like two slices of turkey with some very lightly dressed Romaine. Oh wait, it says there was Swiss on it too…really? I don’t recall that at all. (hey, now that I look at my photos, you can see cheese on one half, I think that was the half I didn’t end up eating.) Anyhow, bland was the word for these. After about 2 bites, I was done. The buffalo chicken was much better, the chicken was nice pieces of white meat, fried and covered in buffalo sauce and supposed to be served with a side of blue cheese dressing. Well, I had to ask for mine, but when I got it and put it on the little sandwich, it was tasty. The chicken was tender, the sauce not crazy hot and the blue cheese dressing a very high quality with large chunks of cheese in it.

I also had a couple of bites of my Mom’s bayside turkey wrap which was a honey wheat tortilla with sliced turkey, lettuce, tomatoes, pepper jack and guacamole. It was certainly better than my turkey Caesar “snack,” but nothing amazing. Better dipped in some ranch. Could have used some sort of dressing or something on it.

Hubby had the “bugle blazing blues” burger which was described as a burger with Cajun spices, crispy bacon and blue cheese crumbles. He thought the beef itself was very good, and the proportion of meat to bun appropriate, although still a huge burger if you ask me (and since he basically wouldn’t eat dinner that night, I’d say I was right). I had a bite and it wasn’t bad—I appreciated that the meat wasn’t cooked to death. It wasn’t spicy though. And I think hubby nailed it on the head when he described it as really nice ingredients that were too dry together. The blue cheese and bacon were good, but the sandwich was dry. Maybe if they used some of their blue cheese dressing which was quite tasty and full of those nice sized chunks of blue cheese instead (which is basically what hubby ended up doing with my left over blue cheese dressing), it would step it up. The waffle fries on the side were good.

Mom wanted a margarita and they were offering a pitcher for $7 so I had a margarita as well. Again, not bad (and freakin’ cheap for sure) but nothing to write home about. And on the topic of drinks, why is it a “Brewhouse” that doesn’t brew beer? Is that a question that everyone else knows the answer to except me?

The thing about Scotty’s is, it is bar food, generally done with pretty good ingredients and seemingly some of it is done in house. So I guess what I am saying is, nothing was making me crave going back there, but if you want a large (very large) selection of classic bar food (you can certainly see how Scotty’s started in college towns) that is made fresh (at least what we had), and is a local alternative to all the chains doing similar, but not as good stuff, give Scotty’s a go.

Scotty’s Brewhouse
3905 E. 96th Street (and there is one downtown)
Indy 46240
317-574-0101 (wow, the website reminds me a lot of the menu!)


  1. For me, the only reason to go to Scotty's is the beer selection and drink specials. I've always found the food to be mediocre at best. It's too bad, really, because the menu has potential.

  2. Thanks for the review. I always appreciate blunt honesty. It's funny, as a restaurant owner, every time I get a review, I can feel my stomach drop and think "God, I hope my servers and kitchen were on their game today." I've been waiting with baited breath for weeks, as I receive your weekly reviews, wondering every time I open my email "will this be the one that I get hammered on?"

    Well, like my high school grades, I'll take this review as a C grade. Not stellar; but, I didn't flunk, so at least I can still go to the football game and dance on Friday night.

    Our menu is huge and maybe a bit overwhelming. We will be editing soon, so I'll take these comments into consideration. (I don't think our website is at all, however.)

    I wish your server would have recommended more of our "specialty" items. The Turkey Caesar Mini Hoagie is definitely not one of these. Sorry, next time try a Buffalo Wrap, the Bar-B-Q Ranch Chicken Salad or even our wings.

    I think that our food is an upgraded version of typical "bar fare." We are local, independent, make 80% of items fresh in our kitchen and work in an industry that is being beat to death by this economy. I'd hope all those things are considered when any of your patrons are dining and choosing between a chain and us.

    I think fresh flowers on the tables, beautiful flat screens, incedibly clean restrooms and kitchens, French Press Coffee, Doughnut Holes for dessert - I think we offer things that are fun, offered with a twist and none of which are mediocre or bland. But, I'm a bit biased.

    Thanks for the review.


  3. from what i understand, a Brewhouse just has a large selection of beer and a Brewpub makes their own beer.

    I love the freaking Tidals dip though. that stuff is the best. Not to say you are on crack but...

  4. "Brewhouse" is sort of a generic term. It basically defines a place where beer is served. Take BJ's for example on the southside - no beer is brewed on the premises, so they label themselves as a Brewhouse instead of a Brewpub.

    "Brewpub" and "Microbrewery" do have formal definitions and describe establishments that brew beer on the premises. The definitions are located here:

  5. This article is a joke. I don't understand food critics sometimes the same way as I don't understand film critics. If I going to into a movie wanting see a drama and instead go see slapstick comedy and then critique as if it should be a 4 star oscar award winning drama then I'm punishing the people reading my review and the people who are apart of the film. I'm not offering an open opinion of the movie but instead a biased opinion because I'm viewing it wishing it was something else. Thats what I think you did in regards to this review. And seeing that I am one of those college kids who grew up with Scotty's on their campus and now support it as a late 20 year old I feel I should at least back it up. You reviewed this restaurant as if you were at Eddie Merlots in which i don't believe that was what Scott Wise is going for and think you were extremely unfair on critque. His main objective is good bar food. Food in which I he says on his menu he enjoys, this includes Burgers, Wraps, Wings, etc. Thats his backbone and I think it has worked pretty good so far seeing that he has five locations and rarely are they dead. In regards to the Brewhouse comment. Did you see the how may beers are on the beer list while you were there? Did you think maybe that was the reason they were called it a brewhouse?

  6. Thanks for all your comments—and for straightening me out about what “brewhouse” means. Not being a beer drinker, I guess I plead ignorance on this.

    Scotty- I appreciate your response and the fact that you are reading reviews and give a shit. Would love to see you advertise the 80% of things that are made in house on the menu (“hand battered” or “house made” etc. in the descriptions).

    Anon—I was not expecting Eddie Merlot’s (in fact, you will be more likely to see me at Scotty’s again than at Eddie Merlot’s). I can appreciate good pub food, and I went to college too. I’ve been there, eaten it, and well, maybe my tastes have changed, but I can tell the difference between good pub food and bad pub food (and fresh vs. frozen). And as I stated, there were some good things/aspects about Scotty’s. I would certainly choose it over a chain attempting the same stuff.

  7. "I wish your server would have recommended more of our "specialty" items..."


    I don't mean to be snarky here, but this was the same argument used a while back by the server at Adobo. The gist of which seems to be, "don't order the weak items on the menu, of course you'll be disappointed because they're lame."

    I can see where an owner would be tempted to broaden the menu's appeal as much as possible. But why have something on the menu if you yourself acknowledge it's not very good? I don't think it's fair to the customer - what's the message you're sending, shame on me for ordering the wrong thing?

    If you read the comments here about Brugge, you won't see one person complaining that, "the mussels and frites are really awesome, but Brugge sucks cause they don't make burgers." They have a very limited menu, but what they serve across the board is very solid - and they're not hurting for business either.

    Just my personal preference, but I'll always side on quality vs quantity.

  8. I absolutely love Scotty's food. I don't consider it bar food at all. Every single time I have visited, the food is amazing as well as the service. Give it another try .... lots of other goodies on that massive menu. Which by the way, I appreciate! Lots of choices and all that I have tried are fab!

  9. Pete -

    By saying, "I wish your server would have recommended a specialty item," does not equate to "don't order the weak items... they are lame." I understand the point you are trying to make; but, that is the incorrect assumption here.

    That is not a bad item. And, our menu is vast and diverse to offer something for everyone. You are right, this can be a recipe for disaster by trying to be something for everyone and pleasing no one. But, 13 years of business and growth tells me that is not the case with us. I taste every item I put on the menu to make sure it is quality. I may not order it; but, I won't sell it if it isn't up to my standards.

    My statement was simply to say, "you don't go to a steakhouse and order sushi," nor do you go to a burger joint and order a deli sandwich. It isn't a bad sandwich, it is there if you want something light. But, if you are doing a review on the type of establishment we are, it should be authentic to the style of food we are known for. And, if the guest doesn't know it, it is my server's job to make it known.


  10. The Mofo Chicken Wrap with the onion rings is the it! The next best is the Sourdough Turkey Club (probably not the exact name but it's really good, and the Peanut Butter pie is to die for! Can't get enough of Scotty's....Thanks for all the great food choices.

  11. Scotty said,

    "...if you are doing a review on the type of establishment we are, it should be authentic to the style of food we are known for."


    That's fair enough. But I dunno... I'm from out of state, what are you known for?

    I would think this would especially be of concern for you at your new downtown location, where you'll be getting a lot more customers who haven't worked over your menu before. I mean, if you make a burger that the gods themselves would be proud of why do you want people fooling around ordering a burrito? You only get one chance to make a first impression.

  12. Personally, I've been enjoying the black and bleu salad with a gumball head. If the cheeseburger soup is on the menu, I will order it. And the bathrooms are ALWAYS very clean.


  13. Cheeseburger Soup? Only in Indiana...

    -Disgruntled Foodie

  14. I absolutely go out of my way (occasionally multiple times a day) for the food and the beer selection. I'm glad someone finally mentioned the mofo. I order a side of it with ANY meal I whether it is supposed to be a mofo dish or not. Great food, great service, absolutely fantastic environment.

  15. Let's be honest about menus and what servers push -- specials are created for a number of reasons -- good and bad (a special ingredient becomes avaialble or something needs to be used up); but let's also be honest about why mgmt/servers sometimes push some dishes over others. Some items are popular -- but low margin. The idea is to get the check average *up*. Lower priced, lower margin dishes get people in the door and they order, but restauranteurs hope they'll move on to more profitable dishes. The tacos at Adobo? When they put them on the menu, the found they were hugely popular and people order a lot of them, but they drove check averages down.