Editor's note: A fire reported early Thursday morning caused extensive damage to Pour Haus, which is currently closed. Click to read more about the fire.
When Pour Haus Restaurant & Tavern opened in March at Maple and Seneca, the menu got my attention.
All of the dishes somehow used beer in the preparation, which is a fun concept for a bar that keeps 30 varieties on tap and stocks many more in bottles.
But the food didn’t fulfill its promise, and though a recent visit to Pour Haus was oddly enjoyable, it wasn’t because of what we were eating.
Bottom line: Pour Haus is an interesting place to grab a beer and hear a band, but it’s not a dining destination.
Owners have dramatically improved the building, which went from being a dank gentleman’s club to a dank pizza place to a nicely remodeled, clean-looking neighborhood tavern. But they need to keep working on the menu.
We decided to start with an appetizer and liked the idea of pairing our beer with one of my favorite fried creations — fried pickles. An appetizer combo that costs $6.50 offered a choice of three beer-battered and fried veggies — mushrooms, green beans, onion rings, pickles, jalapenos or zucchini. We picked green beans, pickles and jalapenos, which arrived at the table in a paper-lined basket and coated in alarmingly fluffy fried beer batter. It was so fluffy and bready, in fact, that it was difficult to decipher a pickle from a jalapeno from a stray piece of fried beer batter. The finished result wasn’t bad. The breading was overwhelming, but it didn’t taste of old festival food grease as we feared it would upon initial inspection. It also was surprisingly not greasy, and the veggies tasted good dipped in a creamy, stone-ground stout mustard sauce. But a little of that appetizer went a long way.
The fluffy batter also coated the fish in the fish and chips ($8.99), and it worked pretty well with the flaky white cod inside. The generous serving, which came with a side of under-seasoned homemade potato chips, was tasty enough but just too much after the beer-batter-palooza we’d experienced during appetizer hour.
We also sampled two burgers — the Pour Haus Burger ($6.99), a stout-infused burger with cheese and standard fixings, and the Lucy’s Other Brother ($8.99), a take on the famous “Jucy Lucy” burger that is stuffed in the center with oozy, hot cheese. (This one added bacon and jalapenos to the center.) Both burgers were a bit too charred on the exterior, and the medium-well Pour Haus Burger was dry and chewy. The Lucy burger was more flavorful, but there wasn’t nearly enough ooze in the center. The thick-cut fries served on the side needed seasoning but were potato-y and good.
We also ordered the Fidel’s Cubano ($7.99), an interpretation of a Cuban sandwich made with beer-braised pulled pork, ham steak, pickles and Swiss cheese. Though it had the right ingredients, it didn’t have the right flavor, and the thin hoagie was overly greasy and overly charred — though the pulled pork inside was good.