Religious Experience at the new Earth Bread Brewery in Mt Airy
In the interest of full disclosure, I fully admit that I was prepared to like this place for no other reason than my walkable pub options have diminished over the past few years. So as my friend and I carefully picked our way on foot through the construction nightmare that is my end of Germantown Avenue, I was mentally preparing myself to give these guys a LOT of slack. I was not prepared to absolutely, genuinely LOVE the place. If you were ever there when it was that horrible pub there previously, the space has been opened up, lightened up, and windows added that open to the Ave. The second floor has been expanded for additional seating and another small bar. The layout is funky with its multiple levels and the first floor is largely dominated by the beer tanks and the bread oven, but it manages to be charming in its awkwardness. The menu is small, and I would like to see a few additions, particularly to the apps options, but the warm marinated olives are delish. It was just two of us, so we ordered two small pizzas - Traditional and Seed. The Traditional was very nice with a fresh tomato flavor and the perfect amount of cheese, topped with a handle of fresh arugula...very nice. The Seed was outstanding - a white pizza with roasted pine nuts, sunflower seeds and perfectly roasted garlic was chewy and earthy and fragrant...
But the highlight is the BEER. There were four house brews on tap, and although the server was sweet about offering us tastes, they unfortunately are not doing "flights" yet. They really need to do flights....but my intrepid companion and I decided to go all in and got a 13 oz glass of each. The 'Love Your Mother' was a disappointment...there was a nice flavor hidden behind a texture that could only be described as 'watery' (I know - it's beer - duh), but your entire mouth gets wet before any of the flavor hits, and all in all I would recommend this beer only to people who don't like beer. The Biere d’ Earth (Farmhouse Ale) was an exponential improvement, and perfect with the warm olives we had as an app. The Sedgwick Pale Ale (Lemon Verbena and Local Hops) had a wonderful wild sweetness followed by a hoppy punch that made the Traditional Pizza sing. But the Religious Experience was the Terra Fume (Smoked Wheat Ale)...it is undescribably delicious and unlike any other flavor beer I have ever experienced. The smokey nose is followed by a full earthy sweetness that I tasted on my entire palate. Paired with the Seed Pizza, angels sang, the skies opened, and the strains of Ode To Joy floated above the conversations of my fellow diners.
The service is still working out its kinks, and the kitchen seemed a bit strained, but I was so very VERY happy with my collection of beers, I barely noticed that our entrees arrived ten minutes before our appetizers. I have faith those minor things will work themselves out in no time. Perhaps the best of all is that two pizzas, olive appetizer and five beers cost $46 with a 20% tip..and we left to face our trek back up the Ave full of food (and beer...).
Welcome to the Neighborhood!!
Thanks for the report. We're going to try to get there Saturday night. Thanks again...it is so hard to find great places in this area!
we ate there last night.
religious? no. but definitely going back.
i like their approach - do two things, do them well. beer and pizza. (aka 'flatbread' but ours was a lot like pizza).
i was dissapointed with their beer selections, just because i tend to like darker beers (porters, bocks) which apparently used to be their specialty, but none of the house-brewed options were particularly dark. a friend was speculating that, in their seasonal brewing, we are still drinking the beers that were meant to be there when the opened months ago, before L&I delayed everything. Seems likely.
In any case, yes, welcome to the neighborhood.
oh, real family place, too. that we weren't expecting. saturday night (admittedly, early- 7ish) and lots of folks were there with their kids.
i've heard such great things about this place, i made it the last place i visited before getting rid of my car. ooooh i wasn't disappointed. i sampled the terra fume and one other beer as well... started with a "b" ... and now i can't remember its name. anyway, that's the beer i ordered and it was great and smooth and malty. we knew before even seeing it we were going to love the seed pizza and my goodness. you're right - there's nothing as good as two things done very, very well. i will be back. once i can figure out how to get there without a car from the other side o' town.
Have been there several times and now and the service, mostly waitresses, is flawless. However, the kitchen messed up our orders each and every time. They just can't seen to have good communication. They did not bring our salads until after the flatbread and did nothing to correct. There should be more than just "sorry". Also wierd how taking and delivering orders seems to be divided along gender and ethnic qualities of the staff. Still like it but starting to lose patience.
We've been three times since Christmas and while EB&B will remain on our list for a casual neighborhood meal, I can't help but wonder if it is a risk of losing the plot amidst its apparent success. Our last visit the place was packed with a mix of families and a Mt. Airy singles at the bar. But service was spotty, perhaps because of the number of servers or the way they tables were assigned. Most disappointing were the skimpy portions and the apparent lack of care in the way the food came out of the kitchen. It felt like there were corners being cut. Hopefully it was just a one off busy Friday night, and they get the balance right.
On our way back to the car we were sad but not surprised to see a completely empty dining room at Mi Puebla. In this economy it seems that people would rather stay home than settle for mediocre food.
While I know the construction project on the Avenue didn't help, it seems that with the departure of Cresheim Cottage and Bitars, only the consistently good places with a strong neighborhood following are surviving.
I don't think the economy is to blame for an empty dining room at Mi Puebla. As McMenamin's, EBB and Tiffin can attest, people will go out for food that's good and that's worth the price. I live a half block from Mi Puebla, and I love Mexican food, but Mi Puebla is not good Mexian food. A basic taqueria (like La Lupe) or even a good TexMex place would pack them in.
Unfortunately, the food at Creshiem Cottage was also subpar.
Mt. Airy would be a great location for Thai or Vietnamese. Mt. Airy is ripe for reasonably priced Pizza restaurant alternatives.