We’ve got a guest review today by my pal and fellow comedian Lyndsay Curran. You can read more about Lyndsay at the bottom of the review.
Hop Cat is a restaurant chain that started in Grand Rapids, MI in 2008 and Their fun, lively atmosphere, and interesting food, and great selection of beer, has enticed locals and tourists alike.
There are 12 Hop Cat’s in the MidWest area and Indianapolis is lucky to have one.
Hop Cat Broad Ripple was the first of its kind outside of Michigan and has been in Indianapolis since August of 2014; and brought with it 131 of the best local, national, and international beers to the burgeoning Indy Craft Beer scene. Broad Ripple has no lack of diverse bars and eateries, but it’s safe to say that Hop Cat has been a staple on the corner of Broad Ripple Avenue and College Avenue since opening.
I have lived in the Broad Ripple area for several years and have frequented Hop Cat on a number of occasions for beer and their famous “Crack Fries” and let me tell you they have never disappointed. However, I have never taken the time to delve into their menu beyond those fries..I mean really, what is better than fries?!? Another bonus, they do allow children with a parent until 10pm but no kiddos after that. Since I have a two year old, I appreciate the semi-family friendly vibe, and anytime I take Wyatt with me, he is treated with the same respect as the adult patrons.
Once you enter Hop Cat you quickly recognize that you are not in a typical bar. The place is enormous with a hipster vibe and velvet paintings of Rock idols on the walls. On a Tuesday night it was packed, loud, and full of young patrons waiting for the Vogue to open. In other words, just my kind of place. You have to understand that I LOVE bars of all types do to the intense amount of people watching. Hop Cat does not disappoint.
Now onto the good stuff! Our waiter was kind, attentive, and had an extensive knowledge of the beer list. After choosing our drinks, we settled on Vladimir Poutine “Crack Fries”.
These are not your typical fries. Not only are they well seasoned and cooked to perfection, They were covered in Wisconsin Cheese Curds, stout carmelized onions, bacon, spicy sausage grave, and, wait for it…..potato and cheese pierogies. Yes, that just happened! If you are drinking or hungover, these fries are your cure. There is no need for ketchup with these beauties, but it’s an option if you must.
Since my fabulous date and I indulged in beer and fries we decided to share the “I Am the Pork Sandwich Who Knocks.” The menu identifies the sandwich as a beer battered and pretzel encrusted pork tenderloin topped with topped with Swiss cheese, sesame citrus slaw, lettuce, tomato, and haystack onions. Served on a jumbo toasted English muffin and topped with a pickle spear. It comes with…you guessed it, more crack fries. (I could NOT have been happier.
The waiter asked for our tenderloin to be split in half and we each were given our own basket. This is customer service at it’s finest no awkward cutting of the sandwich at the table or discrepancy on portion size of those fabulous fries. The sandwich was visually appealing; the colors of the condiments really added appeal and freshness to the plate. The bun was a perfectly toasted English muffin, the softness of the muffin with it’s crispy edges really added a nice twist to the typical bun. The breading had a nice crunch, was well seasoned with the beer pretzels, and the perfect amount of salt. The pretzel breading was an enjoyable break from the traditional.
The meat was thick and had a nice flavor, but was, unfortunately, slightly dry.
The description of the included toppings made my mouth water, but did not deliver in reality. The swiss cheese was barely noticeable–who wants to waste calories on something they can’t even taste? The slaw was uneventful. I was hoping for a great vinegar/citrus punch, but that never happened. The haystack onions were unnecessary. There was no need for the crunch of the crispy onions, as the tenderloin itself was cripsy and they didn’t add much flavor.
I give this a 2.5 yums on a scale of 5. I liked it, but would pass it up for their mac and cheese and a side of crack fries.
The service was fantastic! I would like to give a WOO HOO to our waiter, he was quick, knowledgeable, and ensured our needs were met. While I may not indulge in another “I An the Pork Sandwich Who Knocks”, Hop Cat is clearly here to stay and I look forward to trying other menu items while getting my fill of fantastic beers and their WONDERFUL crack fries.
Lyndsay Curran is a single mother of one beautiful 2 year old living and eating her way through Indianapolis. She spends her days educating future nurses at Marian University and her nights trying to wrangle a wild toddler. Some nights you can find her roaming the Indy comedy scene as an amateur comedienne. Being a lifelong Hoosier her love of tenderloins is deep and real. Please check out Lyndsay’s blog at http://www.wyattpatricksmom.wordpress.com or you can follow her on twitter, @LyndsayH1