Monday, June 6, 2016

Big Lug - Revisit

I met a friend for lunch at Big Lug the other day. I have been wanting to get back and try their Nashville hot chicken since the first time I went—when I just got a bite of my friend’s. We met over there and I ordered the hot chicken sandwich (well, I got the slider size) ($6). Our server once again warned me that it was really hot, even if you ordered mild. So mild is what I ordered. I didn’t love the side salad last time, which is often my go to side, so I went with fries this time. The sandwich is topped with a piece of the seasoned fried chicken breast, shredded lettuce, pickles and green goddess dressing. I really enjoyed it. I feel like maybe they over warn just a little bit as far as the heat. I do not love super spicy things that hurt your mouth, but this was a tasty sandwich. I also like the way the pickles and the dressing cut the heat a bit. Sort of like blue cheese dressing with buffalo wings. I also really enjoyed the fries—those are good fries. Nice and crisp and great dipped in the side of the green goddess dressing that I asked for (you know how I am with wanting to dip my fries in something besides ketchup).

My friend had a combo with a half a goose melt ($7) and a half version of the “Willie’s Special” salad ($6). That goose melt is quite delicious as well. If you like Smoking Goose meats, you’re going to like this sandwich. There’s capacollo, city ham, mortadella, chopped romaine, parmesan vinaigrette, and Muenster cheese.  It’s all on a toasty sub roll. I love the vinaigrette dressing with all this wonderfully rich meat and cheese—it is the thing that makes this sandwich special. And it’s the kind of thing that makes casual restaurant food stand out. The salad looked fine—I didn’t try it since it was the same chicken I had (only it was hot). The salad also came with mixed greens, black bean corn salsa, diced mozzarella, avocado and Frito salt. It’s dressed with ranch.

Honestly, for a place that specializes mainly in sandwiches, I really like it. They are taking basic ideas and elevating them just enough to make them unique. It’s the kind of place that would be a great place to take my kids for dinner, but sadly it’s an adult only restaurant. I’d be curious to know why kids can’t sit upstairs (although I haven’t been up there to see it). It’s kind of a shame, because it probably isn’t a place I’d go on date night; so for now, it’s going to probably remain a lunch option for me. I’m so glad to have it in Nora though, where we have such a lack of good independent options.

Who has been and tried some of the specials option at Big Lug? I’m curious about them.

Big Lug Canteen
1435 East 86th Street
Indy  46240


  1. I can't speak to the specials, but I have been upstairs. They have another bar up there and no separation between that and the seating. The other thing is that it isn't open all the time - only when they're busy, as far as I've seen, so I doubt they have consistent hours where they could open it for families, even IF it were set up to serve them.

  2. Great review! I take my team out every month for lunch and we ended up here last month. These guys tried a lot of different things. I had the Poutine (loved it). The wings & Burgers were a hit too. I met a friend there for lunch last week and had the Hot Chicken Salad & it was pretty darn hot, but very tasty!

    Big Lug & North Side are my top choices when looking for food in the Nora area.

  3. I'm a fan of the food and the ambiance. I, too, had the hot chicken salad and, boy, they weren't joking when they said it was hot. It's the type of spicy that hurts, but that's what I look for in spicy foods! I'm looking forward to going back now that I'm reading this.

  4. We have really enjoyed Big Lug being open. It's very close to us and we're never disappointed. We usually stay there for dinner, but have stopped in for take out a time or two.

    I almost always go for something on the specials menu and have never been disappointed...
    last time it was a burger, we've had the poutine special, a steak special, a tenderloin special and a couple of other items.

    I agree on the fries and always like the Hoss Dip, the Bahn Lug or their regular burgers.

    My compliant is that they don't allow kids so they are never a thought when trying to make plans with friends with families.

  5. Honestly, when I go there I'm consistently way more impressed by the specials than by the regular menu. Their stock menu is rather small and doesn't impress much - there are plenty of places I can go for standard pub food, or even high quality pub food. But the specials I have there are way better, both in diversity and quality.

    Like I went there once and had stir fry. Stir fry at a brewery sounds like a recipe for "not good". Instead it ended up being some of the best I've had. I've had ramen, pork belly, lamb medallions, ossobuco, and many more there. None of them staples of the menu, none of them standard pub food, all of them delightful.

    At this point I check their menu weekly and decide if I'm going to go based off the specials, not the regular menu.

  6. I am a fan of their wings, so the sandwich sounds great! My boyfriend mistakenly ordered me the hot wings once though because normally, the hotter the better. They were almost too hot to enjoy - my tongue hurt and my lips were numb afterwards. I've been getting the mild since :)

  7. This spot has become a favorite for both my wife and me...everything is so flavorful! Interesting combinations, good beer...can't ask for anything more!

  8. I've been wanting to ho here for a long time based on this review, but we don't make it up to the North/East side very often. We stopped in yesterday on our way back from Noblesville and it was very good. I had the chicken and beef slider with a cup of chili and my husband had the breaded tenderloin. I preferred the spicy chicken over the beef. My husband's tenderloin was VERY chewy, almost like they overcooked it. We also had the pork poutine, probably the best thing we had all day. Cocktails and beer was great, too! Just wanted to let you know that they allow kids now
    during certain hours downstairs.