In a neighborhood traditionally known for stick-to-your-ribs Polish fare (Kasia’s, Lomzynianka’s), and more recently, massive, scrupulously curated beer bars (Tørst, Spritzenhaus), Greenpoint’s newly opened The Brew Inn seems the perfect happy medium between the two. Fat, potato-stuffed pierogies and mustard-slathered nubs of kielbasa pass for pub grub, accompanied by the requisite locally sourced suds (Bronx Pale Ale, Coney Island Lager, Captain Lawrence Liquid Gold), and crafty interiors (tap handles serve as doorknobs in the bathrooms). It also boasts a truly ideal location at the lip of the Greenpoint Avenue stop on the G-train, assuring a steady flow of both out-of-neighborhood visitors, as well as work-weary locals in search of a nightcap.
That’s why it’s a crying shame that so much about The Brew Inn falls oddly flat.
Take those two hand-scrawled scraps of paper that constitute the beer list. It’s a respectable undertaking to commit yourself entirely to NY State creations, and hey, we have a hard time saying no to Ithaca Flower Power. But being that it’s become increasingly easy to find this stuff at the average corner store, we’d love to see The Brew Inn think outside of the Bluepoint box with a few more esoteric options, like Trout Town American Amber Ale from the new Roscoe Beer Company, say, or the Caywood Station Oatmeal Stout from Wagner Valley on Seneca Lake.
And with a menu chock full of snacky easy-sells (what’s not to love about Kielbasa Corn Dogs?) that are seemingly simple to execute, it’s baffling to find so many missteps and foibles. For example, the aforementioned sausage puffs were woefully doughy on the inside. And the bizarrely misnamed Shrimp Po’ Boy read more like a piscine Big Mac; a pliant, hollowed out brioche inundated with rivers of sticky sweet “PBR-BQ” sauce, and studded with pickle chips and a few grilled shrimp, further obscured by a river of melted Swiss cheese. Not an altogether unenjoyable addition to the late night drunk food canon, mind you, but po’ boy this thing definitely ain’t. It also came with a choice of sides, either fries, frozen tots, or a sad scoop of over steamed, under seasoned kale; low on charm, despite being deposited in a mini mason jar.
Then there are the strange service stumbles…like when our second entrée order never made it to the kitchen (even though we were the only diners there at the time), which meant we had to take turns eating dinner, or the fact we were informed that the soy-marinated Riblets were the only unavailable item on the menu, but the pair of patrons that eventually drifted in after us were delivered stacks of extra napkins for mopping up the sauce.
We’ll undoubtedly be first in line for corn dogs if The Brew Inn makes an effort to improve, but until then, we’ll simply continue scheduling separate pit stops in Greenpoint for our kielbasa and our beer.