One of the toughest parts about writing reviews is remaining unbiased, even when I WANT to like a place. But, I’ve come to realize, perhaps the kindest thing I can do for a restaurant is to be accurate and impartial in a review, so the owners/management can realize they might have a problem and take whatever steps are necessary to fix them, should they so desire.
Broad Ripple Brew Pub has a rich history, and was the first brew pub in Indiana. Located right across from the Monon Trail, the patio is a great place to sit and watch folks going up and down the Monon.
There’s ample dining inside, spread about several different rooms.
We were meeting friends for dinner, and none of us had ever been here, so thought since it was Indy Tenderloin Week, it’d be a good choice for us.
We had planned to meet at 6:15. When we arrived shortly after 6PM we were promptly seated.
Then the wait began. After being seated for 30 minutes, my wife went to the host stand and told them we’d not seen a server, and was told they’d send someone over.
15 more minutes, still no server, another member of our party went to the host stand to tell them we still didn’t have a server. We were assured someone would be right over.
15 MORE minutes and still no server, another trip to the host stand, and finally, after an hour(!), our server showed up, and said “I’m sorry, I didn’t know this was my table”.
Service was an interesting experience. We saw other diners arrive after us, order, get their food, finish and leave before we got our food. We also saw one other table come in, sit, finally get up and leave after not seeing a server. There didn’t seem to be any pattern to what servers were waiting on what tables.
We weren’t off to a good start, but I understand that off nights do happen. We all ordered our food, got our drinks, and then another wait began. After having been in the restaurant nearly 2 hours, our food arrived.
The first thing I noticed was that one of my dining partner’s tenderloin was burnt. Not just dark, but black and crispy around the edges. Mine wasn’t exactly burnt, but certainly well overcooked. Then I realized it was cold. Not lukewarm, but cold. The meat, the bun, everything, cold. I then did something that I NEVER do–I sent it back. (I’ve long said I will not send a reviewed sandwich back, I’ll eat it as it’s served, but after waiting 2 hours, by golly, I wanted at least a HOT sandwich.)
They brought my replacement sandwich out, and it was–cold. At this point, I decided it was best to cut my losses and just eat it so we could leave. We’d already spent far more time here than anticipated.
The first thing I had to do was cut a significant portion of fat/gristle out of the sandwich. The sandwich itself–in an attempt to be accurate, the meat was tender and tasty, although a bit on the dry side, and pounded out a bit thin for my liking. To be fair, it WAS a true tenderloin, not a fritter. The breading was bland and, as mentioned before, far overcooked and burnt around the edges.
Attention to detail was certainly lacking, as the sandwich wasn’t served dressed as I requested. I requested mayo, ketchup, and onion, and I got lettuce and pickle. However, I WILL say the pub chips I chose as my side order were outstanding.
For her dinner, Holly chose the lemon tahini chicken wrap. When our order finally arrived and was served to us, Holly’s dish was not what she had ordered. The person dolling out the food kept saying “Who ordered the chimichurri wrap?” When no one spoke up, the server who took our order asked Holly if she had ordered the chimichurri wrap. Holly said no – then the server, after a moment of realization, said, “Did you order the lemon tahini chicken wrap?” And Holly answered “Yes I did.” So they quickly swept Holly’s plate back to the kitchen. A few minutes later, they brought her wrap, and it was basically grilled chicken with romaine, chopped tomato and some kind of red wine vinaigrette dressing. Still not what she ordered, but at this point, after two hours and everyone else eating, she kept it and ate it.
I’m torn on how to rate this sandwich, for it was technically edible–barely. Based on the sandwich, the service, and the 2 hour wait, I’m going to rate this a 0 out of 5 bites. It certainly doesn’t merit a return visit, nor a recommendation.
Broad Ripple Brew Pub is located at 842 E 65th street in Indianapolis. You can find them online at www.broadripplebrewpub.com
Update—a response from Broad Ripple Brew Pub
Rick, somebody shared your review of the Broad Ripple Brewpub on Twitter and I just felt the need to reach out to you. My name is Billy Hannan and I’m the GM at the Brewpub and the one who ran your food. Let me apologize for the poor service you got. It was caused by a number of factors including one of the few warm days this year, a lack of available staff, the fact that we were running a Dine to Donate event for Girls Rock and not least of all Tenderloin Week itself. But the biggest problem was an already extremely busy server mishearing your table number and everyone else being too busy to notice at first that you weren’t getting service. In other words, it was probably the worst possible night for anyone to write a review of our restaurant. Had you come in any other evening that we’ve been running the tenderloins as a special – we started on Wednesday, you’d have had a much better experience. I was forced to stop seating customers a one point and finally ended up closing the kitchen two hours early to allow them to catch up. I’ve been running shifts at the Brewpub for over fifteen years and I’ve never had to do that before. I don’t offer this as an excuse, but to let you know that your opinion of the Brewpub is not based on the usual level of service you’re going to get. After all, if we were as terrible as we came across to your group, we wouldn’t have been as full as we were nor would we have survived as a popular destination for the past 28 years. I’ll close by saying I’m truly sorry that you saw us at our worst. Billy Hannan GM