Tuesday, August 14, 2007

Elysian Brewing Company (Bigger Isnt always better)

Elysian Brewing Company Dual Review

Original Elysian Public House/Brewery Location:
221 E Pike
Seattle, WA 98122

Elysian Fields/Sodo Location
542 First Ave S
Seattle, WA 98104
Elysian's brews have a special place in my heart. Ive enjoyed buying there bottles (Immortal IPA among others) in local grocery stores as well as drinking fresh draft pints all over town. Naturally you would think going to the brewpub location itself would be a great experience and the best way to enjoy one of Seattle's best local Brewers. This is where my dillema is. Although never perfect the original location has been a pleasure to eat and drink at for years. It feels like a real part of the Capital Hill neighborhood where all are welcome. High ceilings and huge windows make you feel like your in a giant living room. The seating consists of low-backed booths and basic wooden tables/chairs. The vibe is almost always noisy (not overly) and full of people having a good time or simply catching up with friends.

Service is probably the biggest downfall of the original location although after several dining experiences Ive gotten used to it. Never bad, but simply slow. The bar seems to always have too little people working for how busy they are yet servers have been mostly friendly and willing to do what they can.
Photo Credit: http://wendyhome.com/

The Food is impressive as far as brewpubs go. Offerings include a variety of unique pub grub including Bangers and Mash (My favorite), Gourmet Mac & Cheese, and Steak Frites, as well as more traditional yet still tasty dishes (A gourmet burger, fish and chips, Philly cheese steak sandwich). Many include some of Seattle's best fat French fries with a variety of dipping sauces to choose from. Vegetarians/Vegans can also eat well with several options. Although I personally cant review them, my friend was very happy with her meal.

The second part of my review is covering the new Elysian Location on Occidental near Quest Field/Safeco Field. The idea seems perfect. Putting another local Micro-Brewery (In addition to Pyramid) near our two local Sports Fields to offer fans something besides the overpriced hot dogs/bud light and henry weinharts they can find inside.

I had only passed by on foot but finally had a chance to eat there this past week. I met a friend who accidentally went to the wrong location. My excitement to try the new location faded quickly upon entering and browsing the menu.

The decor seemed much different than what i was used to. The building felt more like a large chain-brewery (Gordon Biersch, Rock Bottom) and much less like the neighborhood brewpub i loved. The artwork was much more modern and the crowd was completely different.

After getting over my quick judgment of the atmosphere I was hoping eating/drinking would redeem the restaurant and remind me why Ichose to eat there in the first place. Unfortunately that didn't happen. They were out of the summertime favorite Jasmine IPA and the server did not know anything about the Belgian Bottle i asked about (which was featured on the menu). The food menu was half as small as the Capital Hill Location. Although many of my favorites were missing I decided to try the burger. Yet again it didn't come close to its counterpart. The fries, which I had raved about to my friend prior to eating were not the same at all. They had been replaced with generic frozen, skinny fries that lacked flavor or substance.

I applaud the Elysian's success and reputation for there great local beers but I was highly disappointed in there new "bigger" Downtown location. Bigger really isn't always better. See you on the hill.

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