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anyone been to the Meddlesome Moth yet?

I have reservations for tomorrow night and would love any feedback on the food - what's good, what's not so good.

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  1. I wouldn't be rushing out expecting a magnificent out of your mind blow me away meal given they are still working out kinks and the menu is still in its infancy, but the potential for something special is very much there. Don't get the wrong idea though - I really like it a lot and have gone there way too much ever since I first got the chance, and I'd argue the Moth is one of the best places to have a beer in the entire state.

    Anyway to better answer your question at this point I've tried about 1/3, maybe half of the menu and I'll just start off with a few things. Sweetbreads with bacon jam are far and away the best thing on the menu. If you don't know what sweetbreads are, well, eat first, ask questions/look it up later. I'll say this much: the little breaded veal cuts are well augmented by super addictive bacon jam. Other strong suggestions for must-orders are fish and chips (meaty cod with thick crispy batter), shrimp and grits, and PEI mussels (big heaping mound that is great to share, have tried Thai and Bistro style).

    I'd also suggest the pork a holic platter (huge salumi and pickle platter, great for pairing with beer), as well as the pickled herring. Gave the lamb kofta a second shot and glad they listened to feedback; it's not extremely salty anymore, and would not be a bad idea to order.
    And yeah, they do fall short: Five spice pork belly reeks of five spice. Moth balls were pretty disappointing, had a lot of hype going for it but they're just tiny little balls of mozzarella. Considering it was $9 at the Moth, I don't know how I'd feel if I actually went to the Spotted Pig and had to pay $16 for theirs.

    I'm honestly always going to be there for the beer first though, and that'll definitely keep me coming back. Grab your share of the casked Oaked Arrogant Bastard before they run out, because calling it a pretty hard to find beer is an understatement. Hope you enjoy, cheers.

    17 Replies
    1. re: air

      I truly enjoy sitting at the bar and having a beer. Get in, get out, nobody gets hurt. Would I enjoy this place or is it a crushing, loud bar scene?

      1. re: Scagnetti

        I was there a couple of times - both times the scene was pretty low key. Most tables were empty, and the bar was only about half full. But that was pretty soon after opening night, and the times were not high volume (once on Thursday around 6pm, and on Saturday right at 4 when they open). I'm sure your experience will depend on the day and time you go. Saturday night, 8:30 pm... might be pretty crowded. Saturday afternoon at 4, maybe not so bad. The bar itself is nice, and the bartenders pretty cool to chat with so pick a reasonable time and give it a shot. The beer selection is fantastic, and coupled with the variety of taps and the opportunity for some good snacking (and proximity to my work) I'm really glad that they opened.

        1. re: Scagnetti

          I agree with gavlist and would advise showing up closer to opening time if you're interested in being in and out. Probably no later than 7 or 8. It gets pretty hectic once the dinner rush starts.

          1. re: Scagnetti

            Agreed with air. He's been a few more times than me, but I have put in many hours at the Moth (some with air). The bar is long, the chairs comfy, the food good and getting better and the beer selection phenominal. Good to have someone like air (or one of the other would be cicerones in town).

            Scagnetti, you will surely enjoy the experience. There was some hubbub about the valet, but I assure you it's free and they work on small gratuities. Well worth it in my opinion.

            1. re: DallasDude

              Sounds like I need to take a swim through this place.

          2. re: air

            Wow, as I'm not really plugged into the food scene, I'm glad I run across posts like this. Oaked AB in bottles can be found here and there (and in my 'fridge), but I've never seen it on tap, much less cask conditioned; I'd drive a long way for that...

            1. re: healthyscratch

              Captain Keith says they will be tapping casks every thursday at 5, and I'll be there as long as I'm in town that particular week.

              On deck is Ska Nefarious Ten Pin Porter, and considering (as far as I know) there are no reviews for the cask, I would bet a firkin of this has likely never stepped outside of Durango, or special events like GABF.

            2. re: air

              Bacon jam sounds sooo good ... will have to try the sweetbreads.

              1. re: foiegras

                PS Oh dear ... just checked the menu & now I see why the mention of veal--they are veal sweetbreads. I don't eat veal ... do you think there might be another way to enjoy the bacon jam?

                  1. re: foiegras

                    call it small cow and eat it. Or... order the bacon jam with their terrific slices of crusty bread.

                    1. re: DallasDude

                      Thanks, that sounds good.

                      (Btw, this is why I don't eat veal ... http://hfa.org/campaigns/boycott.html)

                  2. re: foiegras

                    sweetbreads+bacon jam+512 pecan porter = outstanding

                    the waiter said the shrimp and grits was the other best thing on the menu

                    1. re: luniz

                      I tried the Shrimp and Grits and I would have to disagree with that waiter. I would say the Point Judith squid stuffed with Oxtail meat is the third best and the pickled Herring is the second best option off the menu. Reverse order I know but not a whole lot of people like pickled things let along pickled herring. Just try it out.

                      Pickled herring was midly spiced and let some of the fattiness of the herring come through. It was serve with sour cream and a bit of lettuce. I have had many jarred varieties and just have never caught on but this is the one dish I could eat over and over.

                      The Point Judith squid was perfectly sauteed and the oxtail meat added the bit of gameyness that you would need. I thought it might need a touch of pepper or even a chile of some sort. The parsnip puree did not detract from the dish either and was a mild compliment.

                      I tried the fish and chips on two occasions: one in a small group with one person ordering the fish and chips and they came out perfectly golden brown, light, and a rather large portion. The second time was a bit over cooked on the batter (almost burnt) and a much smaller portion.

                      The fried hominy was decent and I probably wouldn't order it. Think of cornmeal battered (like I do my okra) canned hominy and then seasoned with lemon and a chile powder of some sorts.

                      Lamb kofta on my first visit was over salted on the lamb but had an awesome hummus underneath. I have heard that they have rectified the over salting now.

                      I tried the hummus, pickled tomatoes and grapes with feta and pita points. Hummus was too dry, too much cumin and not enough tahini or lemon. Pita was like stale pita neither crisp like toasted pita or soft and pliable like fresh pita. I did like the feta though not sure which variety they use (I am thinking either a french or greek mashed and blended with a touch of olive oil)

                      I tried the five spiced pork belly over a corn blintz (I believe) with a pickled carrot. Pork was fine except for the heavy hand on the chinese five spice. The pickled carrot was the worst pickle I have ever had. It had no flavor except salt. It was the only thing I have had that was inedible.

                      1. re: LewisvilleHounder

                        I think the dark battered fish and chips may have just been because of the smaller portion, probably just an isolated thing especially given the nature of that particular dinner. I've seen many plates of their fish and chips and it's come out with the same hue of golden brown as the first one you'd mentioned.

                        I'd like to try both the pork a holic platter and the pickled herring again. Enjoyed both and I'm still learning to appreciate pickled things. Good dishes to compare since they both have pickled items; pork a holic is a plate of salumis accompanied with pickled tomatoes, grapes, and pickles, as well as some bread.

                        And I feel odd replying to a post bout the Moth without discussing beer. Found out from a reliable source that Avery Depuceleuse is supposed to be hitting stores sometime in the next week for anyone who is interested, but it will be pricy. Matt (a cicerone at the Moth) asserted that this barrel aged wild ale was comparable to Cantillon's beers.High bar to set but he was dead on target. Depuceleuse has a wonderful oak aroma without being too bretty. I could have sworn I heard someone say "I could sniff this all day." Take a sip and you'll experience medium-bodied, funky tart cherry sourness.

                        1. re: air

                          curious... have either of you tried the pickled herring at The Oceanaire? That was the first (and thus far, only, I think) pickled herring that I've enjoyed - not that I've sampled it extensively. I'm interested to see how the Moth's version compares.

                          LH: I agree that the shrimp and grits were underwhelming. There wasn't much flavor in that dish... the gravy had promise - if the green chili flavor had been much more prominent and perhaps been a bit lighter (cream gravy on top of grits is a bit much) then it could have worked. The quality and flavor and preparation of the shrimp were pretty good, I thought.

                          Disagree about the hummus, though. I thought it was reasonably tasty - it didn't seem dry to me, the cumin didn't seem out of balance, and I didn't miss any tartness or acidity... I agree that those additions would have been nice, but just in a different way, not necessarily better. You're dead on about the pita "chips", though - severely lacking in texture... they were either too hard or almost stale seeming. And I loved the pickled tomatoes and feta.

                          Overall, I have yet to be impressed by the food at the Moth. Of course, I have not yet tried the sweetbreads w/ bacon jam, nor the porkaholic (although I wasn't impressed with the salami on the salad we tried), nor the Squid.

                          1. re: air

                            I will do my best to be at Moth tonight for the unveiling of another good cask.

                            I have to weigh in on a few of the items mentioned.

                            +1 Pork-o-Holic: Great assortment of salumi and accoutrement, get past the name and enjoy the plate with friends.

                            +1 Sweatbreads and bacon jam: It's the class favorite on many excursions. I think it is considered a given and debate on the rest of the dishes to order.

                            +1 Fish and Chips: Had them once and consider them in battle for top of the heap in town. Good fish and chips are as good as the beer used.

                            Meh Five Spiced Pork: As LH mentioned, the five spice was intense. I think I enjoy the spice blend more than he does, but when the plate was set on the table my eyes burned from the over abundance of five spice.

                            +1 Mussel Dishes: I have tried several of the combinations, and had one bad batch but quickly sent them back and the replacement was pretty damned good. not as good as Park's or Toulouse.

                            +1 Lamb Kofta: I heard about the salty incident, but the samples I shared were pretty damned good. They seem to correct problems quickly as air mentioned.

                            +1 Shrimp and Grits: I realize this is a hard item to mess up, or is it? I would not concur with the waiter as to its ramking on the menu, but certainly something worth ordering. This was my first Moth dish.

                            +1 Cheese Board: Brazos valley, handmade and delish. Replete with almonds and honey. Would prefer honey on side or better yet, honeycomb (for the price pony up the good stuff).

                            -1 Meat Pies: I did not care for this version, and until I see a better example I will pass. On 2 visits I noticed (didn't order but sampled) the crust was gooey, the filling was thin and mustardy. When I say mustardy I mean an insane amount of mustard. perhaps this is the way they make em in Ireland, but I have been to the Motherland and didn't notice this.

                            I am sure I have had a few other items but these are the most noteworthy. I am eager to try the stuffed squid. I do a similar recipe and think squid is a great vehicle for the taking.

                            No report on last Monday's dinner?

                  3. I've been a couple of times. There's a short review of my first visit at the link below. From the second visit, I'd recommend the Lamb Kofta, Buffalo Sausage and Arugula Salad. You also must try the pickled grapes and tomatoes that come with the Pork-a-Holic Platter. Amazing stuff! The only thing I'd stay away from are the Ham Hock Croquettes. They taste like mushy tater tots. Not a hint of ham hock. Too bad.

                    http://tablesandtravels.typepad.com/r...

                    1 Reply
                    1. re: hypemnd

                      It sounds wonderful. WE can't wait to go there.