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Deep Ellum - a new beer bar in Allston

Deep Elm is opening up any day now in the old Reel Bar spot in Allston.

Looks like many familiar faces from Bukowskis in Cambridge will be there. Aaron the GM, Max the bar mgr, and the guy that ran the kitchen at Buk's are running this place.

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  1. Deep Elm...based on the name, am I to assume these folks are into the indie music scene? Will they have live music there?

    3 Replies
    1. re: hiddenboston

      Do you know the band Lock & Key on that label?

      I never went to the Reel Bar but I heard this is supposed to be a divey type probably hipster place. We'll see.

      1. re: Joanie

        I think I heard about them from a music-crazy friend of mine who has since moved to Seattle. 80's-style punk, right?

        I never went to the Reel Bar, either. If the new place is a divey type joint I'll definitely check it out. (I still miss The Rat!)

        1. re: hiddenboston

          This place is going to be hardly divey.

          The Reel Bar had an entertainment license... but I think new owners decided to stick with the beer and food instead of entertainment.

    2. I totally botched the spelling... I guess it is Deep Ellum.

      2 Replies
      1. re: ponyboy

        Don't worry - it will become Deep El'm soon enough.

        Now is it Waltham or Walth'm?

        1. re: Bob Dobalina

          In Mass. every town with the ending is ..haaaam

          In England there all ...h'm

        1. Yikes. A bar/restaurant based on the "rich culture" of Dallas.

          Hoping for the best, but still, an Austin place would have peaked my interest a lot more.

          1 Reply
          1. re: Bostonbob3

            Better Dallas than Flint, Michigan, I guess...

            Based on the press release above from LStaff, it sounds like it might be a decent place to have a beer or two, at the very least.

          2. Deep Elm... Interesting coincidence since these guys have soem indie rock roots.

            I'm pretty fired up to see how this goes. I've really enjoyed the beer specials Max has put on at the Cambridge Buk's location. The food there really improved when Josh arrived from New Orleans as well. He actually did a pretty decent Mardis Gras menu last year. Since food will be is as much a focus as the beer/cocktails at Deep Ellum I'm looking forward to seeing what his true cooking chops are like.

            I know they installed a true cask engine and I got a look at their cocktail menu and there are some nice twists on some classics (updated Side Car sounded good but the specifics escape me). Max also has (INMO) pretty great taste in Bourbon and Tequila. He makes this "sangrita" to shoot with Tequila shots that is fantastic.

            When I last ran into these guys they were not going to have live music.

            1. What I am trying to figure out is, what is going to make this place different from the other beer bars/specialty coctail joints?

              It just seems as if they are doing a Publick House type of thing with coctails.

              1. The Publick House is totally unique. If they can be that good, and have great cocktails and a different food emphasis, they'll be an extremely valuable addition. Heck, even a Publick House clone would be welcome. Plus, I bet their beer selection will be different, not quite so Belgian all the time.

                1 Reply
                1. re: jajjguy

                  If they're truly going for a Texas vibe, I've got my fingers crossed for Shiner Bock, the beer of my homeland that I miss the most up here.

                2. Just visited Deep Ellum. The place is great. A real labor of love by beer and food fanatics. In addition to Aaron, Max, and Josh, a couple of the other bartenders from Cambridge Buk's are there, including Casey, so we know there'll always be good music playing. Aaron bragged about the gas mixture for the taps; I can't argue the technical points, but the beer tasted really really good. The cask handle is in plaec and ready to go, though it was not pouring tonight. The food is a good step up from standard good bar food, a big improvement on the stuff at Buk's, but remains in the affordable range. We had a nice lentil stew and a tomoto soup and grilled cheese sandwich combo. Looking forward to trying the cassoulet and the Moroccan lamb shank on the dinner menu. Very promising start, fellas, you'll be seeing more of us.

                  1 Reply
                  1. re: jajjguy

                    Was this a soft open or are they actually up and running?

                  2. Up and running as of Thursday. My issue with Buk's, which has transferred to Deep Ellum is why they have to play the music so damn loud. It is something that I've come to accept when going to Buk's and I've spent at least a few hours out of my life there, but I just don't understand why.

                    Moving on, I had an excellent glass of Dogfish Head Castle Jiahu from tap, a beer that I'm looking to find more of before they stop brewing it. Also had the Hot Damn Wings which were crispy on the outside/moist on the inside, a good vinegar-based sauce but definitely not hot enough. I remember that Buk's had these habanero hot wings about 8 months ago that were really tasty and had some serious heat

                    Anyone try the brunch yet?

                    2 Replies
                    1. re: avial

                      The loud music is not good news. If I want loud music, I would go to a club, show, or concert, not a beer bar. Who can relax and enjoy the beer when the music is so loud you can't think? And its not like they played good music or anything either.

                      1. re: LStaff

                        That's what I was thinking at the Lower Depths. I don't know what they were playing, faceless rock and indie altho the Pixies were in there at one point (I'm one of the few non fans). And some Queens of the Stone Age. But it'd go for 4 songs then he'd abruptly take it off, just annoying overall. I'm sure they're thinking "if it's too loud, you're too old".

                    2. Tried the brunch this morning. Just ordered basic. The eggs were perfect, good rye toast, amazing house smoked maple sausage. And a really delicious black fly stout.

                      I haven't been there yet at night, but the music has been very comfortablly in the background during the day.

                      1. Went again last night and can report that the wings have gotten hotter. They had really good kick last night. Bartender/Owner, Max, told me that they discussed and decided to kick up the heat a few notches. They are pretty darn good now.

                        Also tried the prime rib and cassoulet. The prime rib was great! Medium rare and so tender it cut like butter served with a nice rich au jus. The pernod creamed spinach was so great that we got an additional side. It's very light in texture but is very heavy on flavor without being too rich and dense. The spinach tasted very fresh. The extra side took a few minutes to come out because they make it to order - no nuking in the kitchen.

                        The cassoulet of pork tenderloin, duck confit, sausage and navy beans was also good ($15). It's a very heavy entree and the portion is pretty large. Skip an app if you get this. Thankfully we both had pretty hearty appetites so we did a pretty decent job attacking this. The duck was the stand out item in the dish, rich and tender.

                        Of the two entrees I look forward to having the prime rib again, ASAP! It really was great at $16. I imagine the prime rib lunch sandwich is also good so I'll shoot for that when I get over there again.

                        Volume wasn't an issue at all last night. It was quite pleasant, conversation (place was 1/3 full) was louder than the stereo. I feel like it was a perfect cozy comfort food experience on a chilly late night.

                        1. First time tonight: general verdict was extremely promising, but with some kinks.

                          First off: they're still cash only at the moment, but with only one small sign in the window that we hadn't noticed coming in. Oops. Hint: there's a Store 24 with a Citizens Bank ATM in the next block, behind Twin Donuts.

                          Music: loudish, but not unbearably so, and my wife and I like the indie rock ourselves, so it's not like we mind. The thing is, it's a bar. Bars are gonna be loud. It's the nature of the beast.

                          Crowd: every single table was taken for most of the time we were there (around 7:30-9 on a Wednesday night with a frigid, cutting wind blowing) and the bar was about a third full. There was a large party at three pushed-together tables, and I think that caused the main problem...

                          Service: very attentive and very friendly, but it's a tiny two-man kitchen and they were swamped by the big party in the center of the room, which was causing our orders to take a while. Apparently, the wings are already famous: I watched six orders go out in a row.

                          Beer: most impressive bottled selection, and a good draft menu. I wasn't feeling adventurous, so I went with a standby, Allegash White on draft. I noticed that their list of what they termed "nostalgia" beers (read: cheap and canned) includes pounders of 'Gansett for $3, and frankly, since the revived Gansett has appeared, it's become one of my main beers of choice even when there are "better" beers available: it's a good, solid, unpretentious American-style lager that doesn't taste completely nasty and which doesn't compete with what I'm eating. The idea that I can go up Cambridge Street on a slow afternoon and have a chili dog and a beer for lunch for $6 appeals mightily.

                          Food: I'll let Allstonian chime in with her thoughts about her meal, which I don't think she was entirely happy with. On the other hand, I started with a cup of chili that was truly excellent. Of course, I'm something of a heretic among Texans because I actually like beans in chili (although pintos would be better than the mix of kidney and black), but what struck me about this is that Josh got right something that almost no one outside of Texas ever does: chili is supposed to be, fundamentally, sludge. It's supposed to dern near hold its shape when you ladle it out. This chili was properly sludgy, and it was the best bowl of chili not made by myself that I've had since I loved up here.

                          For my entree, I went for a baseline reading and got the burger. The fries were outstanding, crispy and flavorful, though a bit cold from having sat at the pass-through for like five minutes before my wife's entree was done. (Again, swamped by the wing-crazed big party. I'm hoping that'll smooth itself out eventually.) The burger was a basic pub burger, tasty albeit a tad overseasoned and quite juicy. It was also cooked to medium, as I requested. However, if they're really going for the Texas theme, three things: 1) the patty needs to be flatter and larger around, 2) it has to be served with MUSTARD, not mayo (I just swiped some off of Allstonian's wurst plate), and 3) it needs some thin-sliced onions with the lettuce and tomato. Oh, and pickle chips, not a half-spear. So okay, that's four things.

                          Ambience: I was never in the Reel Bar so I dunno what or how much they changed, but it's a LOVELY room. Very homey, very simple furnishings, excellent floor, and very cozy. I had no idea the place was so small! I guess I was expecting it to be about as big as Bukowski's or something.

                          Theme: Okay...y'all, I'm from Texas. I know Deep Ellum. I've booted in Deep Ellum. Deep Ellum was a friend of mine. Restaurant...you are no Deep Ellum. Honestly, other than the mild vibe afforded by the Mission-style lines of the barstools and chairs, I see little Texas in the decor and not much more on the menu. I'm not talking about kitsch -- please god, no stuffed armadillos or Texas flags -- just a little bit of a Texas flair. Put Lone Star in the cheap-beer menu and Shiner Bock on tap. Play a little Terry Allen on the stereo every so often. Get a photo of the horizon outside of Lubbock blown up and put it on one wall. Find a reputable chile supplier (I understand Stillman's Farm in Lunenberg has been growing a lot of varieties) and offer a variety of fresh salsas and pico de gallo on the apps menu alongside some fresh homemade tortilla chips. Add some weekly specials, like:

                          Weekly special #1: chicken fried steak, mashed potatoes, white gravy, side veg and Texas toast. (For Texas toast: order pain de mie from Clear Flour; cut into inch-thick slices, butter and grill until golden brown; cut into triangles.)

                          Weekly special #2: big ol' plate of enchiladas, preferably cheese. House-made refried beans and Mexican rice. Side salad with olive, red onions and a dusting of queso fresco in a light, peppery vinigrette.

                          I mean, I like cassoulet as much as the next guy, but what's that got to do with Deep Ellum? However, I like the concept of the wurst plate: Germans and Czechs were hugely influential in Texas cuisine, and that side of the state's cuisine is all but unknown outside of the state. Work with that.

                          I'm on board, but with reservations right now. This could be something special, but it's not there yet. Of course, they've been open less than a week, so...

                          2 Replies
                          1. re: BarmyFotheringayPhipps

                            Thanks so much your great review. I too love the room but think it lacks some character. I've been Lubbuck a few times and love your idea of referencing is somehow. I could also LOVE to see some of the homey style specials you mention. After reading this I'm also really excited to have the chili. I completely agree, "sludge" is what chili consistency is all about.

                            1. re: BarmyFotheringayPhipps

                              On reflection overnight, I think the main problem with my meal was a result of the food being so slow to arrive - easily 15-20 minutes for that cup of chili, and close to another half-hour for the burger and wurst plate. (It didn't help that we didn't have a lot to chit-chat about, unfortunately, and I will say that the noise level made me a little self-conscious about that.) It was a simple meal, and it's hard for those things to live up to such a long wait.

                              I had the Dogfish Head 90, and it was excellent. (Didn't see that Jiahu on the menu or I would have tried it!) I had a couple of tastes of the chili, and had to restrain myself after that because it was just the cup and it was BFP's, after all. Nice sludgy texture and good flavor - redolent of cumin and with a mild heat that lingered in a pleasant afterglow.

                              I actually liked the wurst plate just fine, but it had a few problems. First off, the sausages were perfectly cooked, with a nicely browned, crisp skin and an excellent, medium-coarse texture. But they were a little too lean, which made them, as kittychow noted in an earlier review, a little on the dry side.

                              The sides were the real disappointment for me. The cabbage was fine, though it would have been more interesting with a little seasoning such as caraway, but it was cut in unwieldy large pieces and could have stood about 5-10 minutes longer cooking. And the hot potatoes in cream and whole-grain mustard were tasty enough (though too al dente for my taste - they also would have benefited from about 5 minutes more cooking) but they were no German potato salad. I don't know whether they were actually described as such to kittychow, since the menu just mentions an unspecified and presumably varying selection of sides. But a German potato salad, to me, should be dressed in bacon fat and vinegar, preferably a good cider vinegar, with no cream of any kind.

                              The waiter was friendly and enthusiastic, and in spite of my initial quibbles I look forward to working my way through the rest of the menu, not to mention some more of the beers. The couple seated next to us got the stuffed artichoke, which looked fantastic, and the grubbins, which didn't seem to be what they were expecting and the guy didn't care for. However, it looked great to me! I couldn't see the proportion of "potato rounds" to fish, nor whether the potato was just a big cross-section or what. (A review elsewhere described it as "potato pancake" but it looked more like a plain slice of potato to me.) They also seemed a little nonplussed that there were fries on the side, since there was potato in the item, but the fries are outstanding, so that also sounds fine to me.

                              I agree with BFP that with such a specifically Texan name the place could use a bit more of a Texan vibe, at least in menu and beer selection. Decor-wise, I like the place just as it is, though I'd be happy to see that long wall become gallery space - one of the things I really love about Centre Street Cafe in JP is the ever-changing and always really interesting artwork, and Deep Ellum is just around the corner from Rugg Road...in any case, there's no question but that we'll be back a few more times to see how things shake out. We'd love to make it our regular "local."

                            2. Went there last night for beer, not food. Excellent draft beer list, the hand-pull should be on line no later than early next week. Music was not at all loud, it's a very nice space.

                              I'd have just a couple recommendations:

                              - offer up more varieties of bar chum for those not looking for a meal. I just glanced at the menu, the only thing under "starters" that caught my eye was the wings, and that didn't fit my mood.

                              - Put some more descriptive info in the draft beer list - beer style, place of origin, maybe alcohol content. The guy behind the bar certainly knew his stuff, and was willing to share his knowledge and offer up samples, but I'd think that when the place is busy the customers would be better and more efficiently served by having a little more info at their disposal.

                              - Get moving on accepting credit cards.

                              1 Reply
                              1. re: chucks

                                Yes, I strongly second your first two recommentations. There's definitely not enough munchy-type items on the menu other than those wings, and I found myself kind of intimidated by the huge list of beers with no descriptions - I realize that I could have told the waiter what I like and asked for recommendations, but I like a lot of different kinds of beers!

                              2. Thanks for the reviews, I am considering checking this out next weekend with a friend. I'll report back on the experience, if I make it over there. How extensive is the beer selection? Is it largely domestics or do they have a good number of imports?

                                1 Reply
                                1. re: kallis33

                                  The bottle menu alone runs about six pages, broken up like a wine list by country of origin. It's frankly pretty intimidating! I agree with the above posters that I'd love at least a one-liner on each of them.

                                2. I would just like to speak up for the big party in the middle of the bar on Wednesday night - a friend was heading back to school and I decided on Deep Ellum because I have been craving to try the dinner menu. Realistically, I knew that bringing such a large party would not be fair for such a small kitchen, especially because we were coming for food, so I apologize to those who were summarily inconvenienced by this. And just for the record, we took up four tables.

                                  I had the cassoulet, which was more of a white bean casserole - the pork tenderloin that came with it was off the hook, tender like a steak, slightly pink in the middle, I suggested that they make this an item on its own. The beans were a good constrast in terms of texture and taste to the meats in the dish, though extremely dry and crumbly - same consistency as the chili I think. I still wish the wings had another notch or so of heat. They were still crispy and moist while the vinegar fragrance and taste of the sauce had improved. One of my friends had grubbins which he said were excellent, another two had prime rib which was OK - typically prime rib is a large roast and they cut a piece closer or further from the center depending on how rare/done you want it - this was just grilled/roasted in the pan/oven but it was still tender, nice side of cream spinach and a popover. I would have enjoyed my cassoulet more had I not decided to drink several beers that drowned my taste buds - Great Divide Hibernation and a 90 Minute IPA. After that, I could barely taste the bitterness in the my third beer, which at that point was somewhat beneficial.

                                  1 Reply
                                  1. re: avial

                                    No, the chili was sludgy, but it wasn't "dry and crumbly." I'm no authority on cassoulet, but I didn't think that was how the beans were supposed to be in that dish either - that doesn't actually sound too appealing to me.

                                    It's nice that your big crowd had a good time, and I certainly don't begrudge you your outing or them the business; I just kind of wish it hadn't impinged on our own experience to the degree that it did. I'm hoping for better luck another time.

                                  2. The beans themselves were dry but not crumbly, it seemed like there was a crust of crumbs akin to panko perhaps, that covered the beans, hence the crumbliness. I compare this to the only two other cassoulets that I've had in my life - the tapas dish at Tasca and the entree at Eastern Standard, both of which I assume to be the 'real' thing. Either way, there was no liquid stew/sauce that I would normally think belongs in a cassoulet.

                                    Two of my friends had the chili and it seemed far advanced beyond a sludge, more of a solid paste. I didn't get to try it unfortunately. I think I might go today for lunch, the prime rib sandwich seems like a good way to go.

                                    1. Does this mean there's been turnover in the management of Bukowski's?

                                      1 Reply
                                      1. re: Sgt Snackers

                                        I would say so... Aaron was the former gm, Max was the former bar manager, and the chef was the former chef of Cambridge Buk's

                                      2. I dropped by for lunch last week and had the Gruyere grilled cheese with a bowl of tomato soup. The grilled cheese was excellent in its radical austerity, while the soup was a home run - nice and thick with thinly sliced onions and great chunks of garlic. Furthermore, the half dill pickle was one of the best I've had in some time. Looking forward to trying some more items from the menu.

                                        22 draught offerings, and I counted 83 bottles, with vinatge offerings that included North Coast Old Stock Ale 2005, Sinehbrychoff Imperial Porter 1997, Fuller’s Vintage Ale 2000, and A Le Coq Imperial Stout 2001. Aaron, one of the owners, said they would be getting more vintage bottles in, and he plans on aging some barrels too.

                                        All in all, a great new addition to the Allston eatery/beer scene.

                                        1. I visited one time and they had so many beers, but no Guinness. Sorry, but a bar in Allston without Guinness can't last.

                                          1 Reply
                                          1. re: samsam

                                            On the other hand, I'm thinking that a lack of Guinness and the other cliches is an excellent deterrent. I personally love the fact that I now have a bar in my neighborhood that's not overrun by emo-hair-and-girl-pants students. Deep Ellum will last forever simply on the idea that it's where the grownups can go.

                                          2. yes, it's a few days from Marathon Monday, and there's sleet falling, warnings of a nor'easter on Monday.... Deep Ellum is almost empty for lunch, save for Casey, Josh and I discussing the pros and cons of our family's chowders, the virtues of the Portland Sea Dogs, and where a decent oyster can be had. The Best Wurst plate should have a line out the door in waiting... if you haven't been here, DON'T COME!!!! Don't make it too crowded, k? :)

                                            19 Replies
                                            1. re: okra

                                              a foreign chain bar in rock city? oh the horror!

                                                1. re: Bighead

                                                  It's not a chain, at least not so far.

                                                2. re: okra

                                                  I had The Best Wurst plate and was really excited about the home-made sausages, but it was a dreadful experience. They were supposed to be pork sausages, but were dry and mealy. Their skins easily split open, casting what seemed to be nothing but oatmeal around the plate.

                                                  A friend and I eventually concluded that it was not a vegetarian sausage, but at least some kind of meat one, only when we found a piece of gristle in it. Other than that I could not detect that an animal had been near it. I can't tell you how much of a joke these sausages were.

                                                  Other dodgy meals had by my our largely disappointed group included the leg of lamb which had no meat on it, the tasteless veggieburger, and the buffalo wings.

                                                  I'd go again, but only on account of the beer.

                                                  1. re: chickendhansak

                                                    Agree with you 100% on the "Best" wurst plate. My wife ordered it a couple of weeks ago and was really disappointed. It was around 8PM or so and she hadn't eaten all day, and was famished. Even with hunger gnawing away, she still could not get it down.

                                                    I think what Max and Aaron are doing for that part of Allston is great! Nothing much was happening over there until they came in. You can tell that their hearts are in it and it shows with the level of service that they provide and the quality of their cocktails. I do have a few issues, though.

                                                    1. Many of their beers are priced $2+ higher than other places less than 1.5 miles away (i.e. Publick House) This bugs me a bit because I don't see how something like Smutty Imp. Stout, which comes from Portsmouth New Hampshire costs me more in Allston than it does in Brookline.

                                                    2. The food has gone downhill a bit since around the time of their opening. I thought that the chilli was pretty decent a couple of months back, but when I ordered it recently, I found it to be nothing more than refried beans and tasteless. Also, the wurst plate was solid back in January, but my wife's experience with it the other week was terrible.

                                                    3. Music is way too loud. It's fine early on, but it just seems to get louder the later you go.

                                                    Here are the pro's

                                                    1. Excellent service all around whether you're at a table or at the bar. Big kudos!!! Water glasses are refilled constantly without asking and they're always ready with another brew or cocktail. Real friendly folks working there too. This is one of the reasons why I keep going back.

                                                    2. Really good cocktails and bourbon selection. They make their own bitters and pickle their own garnishes. I like to see that there's a place closer to me where I can get an outstanding cocktail without having to deal with the crowds at Eastern Standard.

                                                    I will continue to frequent Deep Ellum, but I'll just be more conscious of what I order. I will probably stick more with their cocktails than with beer. I would go more often if their beer prices would come down a bit or if they had some stuff on that is different than Publick House or Redbones.

                                                    Hats off to Max and Aaron and I hope they stick around awhile!

                                                    1. re: Chrispy75

                                                      I think you're comments are spot on. I think that they have some real challenges in the kitchen; one being that it's so tiny and the menu is pretty diverse when it comes to prep methods. I'd love to see them remove some items, like the grubbins for instance, and focus on finding a way to consistently deliver the other dishes that have great potential, best wurst plate being on of them. I'm bummed to hear the chili when you had it. I thought it was very solid, and tough to mess up. My only complaint that it still a problem now is that they tend to under cook items - like the potatoes in the grubbins or vegetable sides. I tried the braised cabbage a couple times and it wasn't cooked long enough but had a lot of promise.

                                                      I've got whole lotta love for Max, Aaron, and Josh and I have confidence that they'll iron out the quirks over time. In that neighborhood they're sitting on a gold mine if they continue to serve up stellar cocktails and good eclectic beer offerings.

                                                      1. re: Chrispy75

                                                        That's too bad - I had the Best Wurst plate a little over a month ago and it was excellent. My understanding is that it's a monthly rotating selection, so maybe they are just having an off month. I was also really excited that they had Chambly Noire on tap (only temporarily, sadly), which is nearly impossible to find anywhere.

                                                        1. re: cambridgejen

                                                          I think the reason for all the inconsistencies of the Best Wurst plate is that they make their own sausage and they change up the sausage styles. Once they make a batch of, say, German bratwurst, they serve it till it's gone, and then move on to some other style of sausage. So you're net getting the same one each time. The sides seem to change a bit too. Let's hope they'll work out the kinks and make them consistently good.

                                                          1. re: iss

                                                            After slagging off the food here (and it certainly deserved it), I paid another visit recently and stuck to the simplest of stuff. In a way, I got a new perspective. They couldn't make a mess of hot dogs and fries, and it occurred to me that their menu has a real, cheap bar food side to it. For 3 dollars or so you get a hot dog with fries. Plus, they have several exotic takes on the basic "large bowl of fries" option that often appeals in a pub, for about 5 dollars. That doesn't seem bad at all for snacking.

                                                            That said, their beer prices are on the high side, I think, making it impossible not to spend a lot of money on even a small, defeatist take on a meal and a few drinks. But, it is a nice place, with nice staff, and they seem to keep their beers OK.

                                                            1. re: chickendhansak

                                                              They also have an impressive cocktail menu as well. I've always thought the service was nice, and the hotdog and fries for $3 is unbeatable!

                                                              1. re: chickendhansak

                                                                Chat up Max sometime and you will fall in love with the place. I did. He is a ball of energy and of knowledge of all things alcoholic (I mean that in the most positive sense). And Aaron is a hoot.

                                                                1. re: chickendhansak

                                                                  I've occasionally popped in for a hot dog and/or fries with a beer on a slow afternoon, and I've found that the thing to do is to ignore most of the menu and just stick to the most basic stuff. If the place makes a go of it, perhaps they can figure out a way to expand the kitchen, but as it stands, Josh is just trying to do too much with too small a space and he's consistently falling on his face. I really really want to love Deep Ellum, but I don't yet, and the food is really the only remaining stumbling block, because everything else is great.

                                                                  1. re: BarmyFotheringayPhipps

                                                                    I'm OK with the food menu, it provides enough fatty items to help soak up the beer and cocktail selection with. I usually go with the best wurst but as of late, they've been doing the same pork & cheese sausage with braised cabbage (which I absolutely cannot stomach anymore) and I am very sick of the reptition. I do remember times when they had excellent haggis and even an attempt at chinese sausage. Nonetheless, it's become a weekly thing for my friends and I, it's not full of college kids, not too loud on non-friday/weekends, and they're friendly.

                                                                    New cocktails and beers to the menu this week - ommegang chocolate stout, absinthe among a dozen or so new additions

                                                                    1. re: avial

                                                                      I remember it being said that it was hard to impossible to get a table for a group in the 5-8 person range when it opened, particularly on weekends. Is this still the case? (both for weekdays as well as weekends).

                                                                      My friends & I have been talking about stopping over there for a while now, and it keeps getting forgotten.

                                                                      1. re: jgg13

                                                                        Having lived in that area for a long time, any time college is in session is going to mean all the places in that neighborhood will be packed on weekends -and a party that size will usually require them to put together two adjacent tables . Best bet would be a weekday or during college break .

                                                                        1. re: Msample

                                                                          Actually, the main thing Deep Ellum has going for it is that it, blessedly, is NOT full of college students. I don't think they go out of their way to discourage students from congregating there, but they also deliberately don't cater to a college crowd. Which is nice for those of us who have gotten to the point that we can't say the word "students" without putting a popular rude word in front of it.

                                                                        2. re: jgg13

                                                                          There were tables of 8 the last two Thursdays that I've been there, one at each end of the long bench where there is corner seating available

                                                                      2. re: BarmyFotheringayPhipps

                                                                        I had some wings at Deep Ellum recently -- they were really oilly with thick breading but, worse, were spiced with something like cloves or allspice. Jerk-spiced fried chicken wings? I think the chef is just having fun, but a really good rendition of classic buffalo wings would have been perfect for me.

                                                                2. re: Chrispy75

                                                                  Total agreement with this assessment. Amazing cocktails, love love love the staff, but the food is pretty iffy. I tend to go with cocktails while I'm there simply due to the proximity of the Publick House - if I want beer, that's where I'll go.