Monday, April 23, 2012

Bru Burger Bar

So a lot of you seem to really like Bru burger and a friend of mine reminded me of it the other day when I was trying to find a quick place to eat lunch after a meeting downtown.  Honestly, I have heard some mixed things from other people though, so I was a little wary.  Having not been in the place at all yet, the first thing I noticed was how confusing it was to find the front door (is it just me?).  I first went in where the old Elements door was (which was never ideal either), then went to the patio area which is under the giant “Bru Burger” sign and would appear to be the front door—I went in there to find that in fact there is an even further door that is the appropriate door and I could tell by the servers sort of shaking their head at me that this annoys them when people come in the wrong way.  Oh well.  So I went in and surprised the hostesses by coming up behind them.  I got seated and looked over the menu while my teeth chattered in the intense cold.  I know I say this all the time, but why why why do restaurants in Indy keep the thermostats so low?  It makes me crazy.

So anyway I figured I ought to go with a burger in a burger joint right? So I ordered the Bru burger ($11) which sounded interesting—a beef burger with Taleggio cheese, bacon, tomato jam, braised onion and mayo (normally comes with lettuce but I asked for it without).  I also appreciated that they asked me how I wanted it cooked (medium rare).  I also got a side of onion rings ($3).  The burger looked pretty when it was served with a couple of pickles on top—but when I cut it in half to make it easier to eat I quickly saw that it wasn’t medium rare—it was sort of uniformly gray honestly.  And while my normal toppings on a burger are more minimal, I went with this because it seemed like it was sort of their specialty—and it was too much stuff for me.  As soon as it was served the very thin bottom bun was already soaked through with the juice from the tomatoes and onions.  The bacon was fairly plentiful but was completely soft as well and didn’t have a lot of flavor.  I am not sure really how to describe the whole thing other than to say it was just was a little mushy and didn’t have a lot of the distinctive flavor I was expecting from the ingredients.  I wanted crispy, salty bacon and stinky Taleggio and neither of them were particularly distinctive.  The flavor of the tomato jam and the onions wasn’t bad, but I have a feeling they may have been a leading contributor to the sogginess problem.
There was redemption with the onion rings though—they were really good.  They were large and tempura beer battered and nice and crisp and hot.  You could taste the beer in the batter and that is my favorite way to taste beer—in beer batter.  They were also served with house made ketchup that was good with them—a little thicker than your average ketchup and not so sugary tasting.  It went well with the rings.

So, after I ate here, I asked around on twitter about what people like at Bru (after several of you had recommended it again) and I found it interesting that more than half of the people were recommending the non-beef burgers (veggie, tuna, turkey).  So maybe their strength lies in other kinds of burgers, or maybe it was just an off day, but I don’t think I would be rushing back for another beef burger.  To be fair, they are thick burgers, which generally aren’t my favorite anyway, but I can appreciate a good one when I have one.  So tell me if you haven’t already, what do you think of this place and what do you like there? I always give a place another chance (well, almost always). And those onion rings were pretty tasty.  On the other hand, a bill for nearly $18 for a burger, rings and a soda is a little steep for lunch when the burger didn’t knock me out.  So let me know what you think.

Bru Burger Bar
410 Massachusetts Avenue
Indy 46202

BRU Burger Bar on Urbanspoon


  1. I went once, after my husband had already been twice and given it a mediocre review. My response was the same -- (granted, I ate mine bun-free, but I think a burger can still be really amazing even when bun-free).

    My beef was overcooked, and all the toppings, while they looked really interesting on paper, just seemed bland and uninspired in reality (I think I had the provencial burger?).

    We won't be going back unless a social event demands it.

  2. I've only eaten here once - I was working my way along Mass Ave and just wanted a small plate. They actually have a $4 burger that I found to be rather tasty. Adding fries at a modest upcharge, I think it would be a decent meal... and the bartender told me I could sub any burger sauces for free.

    I'd rather have another one of their (more expensive) beers, but a $3 pint of PBR would round out a mighty fine, inexpensive lunch.

  3. I really like the burger snack. I usually go with that and either fries or the Gorgenberry salad. Also, the chili cheese fries are a favorite if I'm in a splurge mood! --Cortnee M

  4. I also got their burger snack- I think its the half size of the reg burgers. I like skinnier burgers so I am sure that makes me a little biased but I liked it quite a bit. I ordered it med-rare and it was actually med-rare, which kind of surprised me considering it was the half size. The onion rings and homemade ketchup were really good. I would stop in for a drink and to snack on those alone.

    Erin, do you think burgers are similar to pizza in that peoples tastes in either can be so varied and subjective? Like I said, I like skinnier burgers and I tend to not like bigger, fatter burgers...just a thought.

  5. Personally I think their pricing is a ludicrous. $14 for a fancy burger and some onion rings? Luckily, they're pretty willing to split a burger between two people, and that works well for us. As you noted, they're big thick burgers and a whole one is WAY more than I need myself.

    The things that have brought me back a couple times are (a) the very good beer menu and (b) the fact that they're one of the few truly kid-friendly places on Mass Ave.

  6. btw - I likewie totally tried to walk in through the wrong door! -tom

  7. thanks for all your comments you guys, sounds like maybe the mini burger is the way to go if I go back and try another beef burger.

    indyLindsay, yes, I do think burgers are fairly subjective and I am clearly a thin burger kind of girl too. However, I think if a burger is really good, I can really appreciate a fat one (well, I guess the same is true for pizza--if it is really good, it is really good). I do think there are a lot of people who would subscribe to the same pizza philosphy I talked about before that there is no such thing as a bad burger only better ones, but I am not one of them. I don't order a burger a lot, but I think it is really clear if it is bad or good right away (soggy bun? not cooked to order? Those are all bad signs.) But then again, all food taste is ultimately subjective right? Ok, I am rambling now.... :)

    Tom, Glad I am not the only one!

  8. Erin,

    Just a personal question, do the restaurants ever contact you and apologize, explain or deny the things you find wrong with them on occasion? I love all your reviews and when I see some where the place clearly did a half-ass job I want to forward them your review and say fix your damned mess. I am just curious how many places ever contact you and if you reply, what happens, etc. (In Chicago as well as IN.


  9. Jay,

    Actually, sometimes they do contact me--sometimes to apologize or sometimes to tell me I am totally wrong--but probably only about 5-10% of the time when I write something negative. I do appreciate the fact that they care enough to respond either way though. (Incidentally, I have not specifically heard from Bru, and I don't think I have ever heard from any restaurant I have reviewed from Chicago).