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I <heart> Lord Hobo

Blumie Sep 4, 2012 07:59 AM

So it's been almost three years since Lord Hobo opened, and for a variety of reasons -- including less than stellar reviews here and an early chef change -- I never got around to trying it. Until now. And now I can't get enough!

It started a few weeks ago when I walked over for a beer. I guess I hadn't paid attention to how good their beer list -- both draught and bottles -- is, but the beer menu was the first thing to suck me in. I sat at the bar and thoroughly enjoyed a St Bernardus, as well as the great vibe. I have now been back four times in the last few weeks, and am working my way through both the beer and the food menu.

Of the beers, I have always loved Sinebrychoff, a Porter from Finland, and was excited to see it on the Lord Hobo menu. The Stone 16th Anniversary Ale was not a winner, but the Stone Sublimely Self Righteous Ale was, as was the Achel Trappist Extra (albeit at $30 for a 25.4 oz bottle).

The food has been consistently solid: fried chicken on biscuits (two with fries for a ridiculously cheap $10 on Monday night biscuit night), a very good burger, pan roasted duck breast (a special last week), and a veggie burger. They also offer a simple salad with chevre -- a fairly large serving, very nicely dressed, for only $6 -- that I have enjoyed. I'll continue to pay $30 for premium beers like the Achel when the food is this cheap, and solidly good.

For those of you who haven't tried Lord Hobo, or for those who haven't been in a while, I strongly encourage a visit!

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  1. t
    tdaaa Sep 4, 2012 08:03 AM

    FWIW - I thought the 16th anniversary Ale was one of the best beers of the year. So good I bought a case, which I rarely do given all the great craft beers out there. A matter of taste, I guess.

    1. l
      LStaff Sep 4, 2012 08:08 AM

      Been a few times on Saturday afternoons this summer - really nice beer menu when they aren't doing some theme or tap takeover - always something hoppy on tap that I want to drink.

      Had a couple pints of Port Summer Ale on Saturday which was nicely hoppy and quite drinkable.

      Kind of dissapointed that some lagers come in pint glasses while others are in mugs. Asked for Victory Braumiester pils to be poured in a mug instead of a pint glass and bartender refused since he didn't have a 16 oz. mug - guess the .9 extra ozs. the .5 liter mugs they have was just too hard to figure out how to charge for it?

      1. g
        gltsoi Sep 4, 2012 08:41 AM

        Monday night biscuit night? Tell me more... I couldn't find anything about it on their website. Thanks!

        1 Reply
        1. re: gltsoi
          Blumie Sep 4, 2012 08:48 AM

          I've been on the last two Monday nights, and both nights they've offered a choice of fried chicken or pulled pork on biscuits. Two sandwiches and a generous portion of fries for $10!

        2. b
          Blumie Dec 9, 2013 10:19 AM

          Well, it's been a good run. I've been back to Lord Hobo numerous times since I started this thread, and initially was quite enamored with the place. Unfortunately all of that has changed, as the quality of the food has steadily diminished over time, and I now am giving up on the place. My search continues.

          6 Replies
          1. re: Blumie
            jajjguy Dec 9, 2013 10:41 AM

            The food has gone up and down in waves over the years. The selection and condition of the beer, however, has never wavered. I use it as a beer destination, with the food as a convenience if needed.

            1. re: jajjguy
              Blumie Dec 9, 2013 10:54 AM

              I hear you about the beer. But while it's hard to match the beer selection, I find that I can get much better food and an acceptable beer selection elsewhere. Russell House is an example, where the food is much, much better and I always can find an interesting beer that I like (although I do prefer a divier ambiance than Russell House).

            2. re: Blumie
              huuvola Dec 9, 2013 10:50 AM

              My experience with Lord Hobo is similar: Love the beer selection, but the food quality has just been up and down ever since the place opened. I live in the general neighborhood, so I wind up there about once a month for a beer or two, but the times when I eat there are rare -- probably only about 2-3 times a year. I had too many misses in the first 2 years, so I'm gun shy. Have had good experiences with the burger... but burgers are hard to screw up.

              I know they have a very tiny kitchen space and at first that makes me want to forgive some of the lack of quality on certain items. But then I realize that Deep Ellum puts out some pretty fantastic food in a similarly tiny kitchen (and also maintains a great beer & cocktail selection).

              1. re: huuvola
                Blumie Dec 9, 2013 10:57 AM

                Maybe it's time for me to cross the river.

                1. re: Blumie
                  jajjguy Dec 9, 2013 12:03 PM

                  Deep Ellum is very much worth the trip.

                  1. re: jajjguy
                    CportJ Dec 11, 2013 09:39 AM

                    I've been to Lord Hobo quite a bit. I agree that it can be hit or miss, but I think the highs are higher than the Deep Ellum average, if that makes sense. Also much more convenient for me, so I'm not crossing the river on a regular basis. :)

                    West Bridge and Abigail's are not bad nearby alternatives with kitchens open late, or Green Street.

            3. yarm Dec 10, 2013 05:29 PM

              I put it in the same realm as Publick House. Great beer served with indifferent hospitality; not sure I have seen any of the bartenders there show an excitement towards a beer or towards a guest that wasn't their friend. As opposed to Deep Ellum where the service is generally more warm and the beer just as good.

              3 Replies
              1. re: yarm
                LStaff Dec 11, 2013 06:28 AM

                Eh, take my order in a timely manner, put the beer in front of me without a 2 inch head *cough*deepellumbukowskis*cough* and I'm happy.

                My only complaints about LH is that sometimes they charge top dollar for beer that isn't in that great shape, and when its busy, the glasses don't get rinsed properly and reek of whatever cleaning product they use which just ruins the beer.

                1. re: LStaff
                  CportJ Dec 11, 2013 09:44 AM

                  I've never had that glassware issue. That would be a problem for me. But I try to avoid busy times.

                  The service for me has been fine, certainly not nearly as bad as Publick House, which is sadly on my No list, but I do agree that Deep Ellum does a very nice job with service.

                  1. re: LStaff
                    opinionatedchef Dec 16, 2013 08:53 PM

                    yikers (you have sent it back, yes?) that's as bad as servers spraying ammonia products to wipe down tables next to you while you're eating.....

                2. m
                  mkfisher Dec 11, 2013 05:59 AM

                  The food does swing wildly depending on who is in the kithcen. We've had the waffles on the brunch menu twice. The first time, they were absolutely. The second time was a total disaster.

                  That said, I have to disagree on comments about indifferent service. Yes, there are a couple bad servers but as a whole I find them to be a really friendly bunch.

                  1. enhF94 Dec 11, 2013 07:59 AM

                    obligatory "what an offensive name" comment.

                    3 Replies
                    1. re: enhF94
                      yarm Dec 12, 2013 06:18 PM

                      Coupled with an obligatory "how dare they reside in the old B-Side location" comment.


                      1. re: yarm
                        enhF94 Dec 13, 2013 07:18 AM

                        Who stole - stole! - it from Windsor cafe? ;)

                        1. re: enhF94
                          jajjguy Dec 16, 2013 09:54 AM

                          no Hot Lunches!

                    2. b
                      Blumie Dec 13, 2013 07:38 PM

                      Tried to go to Deep Ellum tonight, but parking was far more difficult than I anticipated. I didn't have a lot of time to drive around looking for a spot, so I doubled back to Cambridge and went to River Gods (my fist time notwithstanding five years in Cambridge). I liked the food very much. The beer selection could use improvement (although I was pleased with the Leffe Brun on tap).

                      8 Replies
                      1. re: Blumie
                        gini Dec 16, 2013 12:48 PM

                        River Gods is the best. I love the church pews.

                        In case you try again - there's a load of parking behind the Walgreens near Deep Ellum. It looks a little sketchy, but those streets are great for parking.

                        1. re: gini
                          Blumie Dec 16, 2013 01:23 PM

                          Thanks for the tip. Sketchy doesn't bother me!

                          1. re: gini
                            Taralli Dec 16, 2013 01:53 PM

                            Beware of Walgreen's parking & make sure you read the parking limit signs or else you'll be towed at considerable expense. Think tow yard may have cameras on this lot.

                            1. re: Taralli
                              Blumie Dec 16, 2013 02:43 PM

                              I read Gini to be recommending the streets behind the Walgreens, not the Walgreens lot.

                              1. re: Blumie
                                gini Dec 17, 2013 07:30 AM


                          2. re: Blumie
                            CportJ Dec 16, 2013 10:20 PM

                            I like River Gods more for the eclectic look and entertainment than the food and drinks, which are good but not all that exciting. I think Atwood's has a similar place in the Cambridge bar firmament.

                            1. re: CportJ
                              mkfisher Dec 17, 2013 07:45 AM

                              Atwoods has a terrific beer list. Probably a step behid Hobo, but still very solid.

                              1. re: mkfisher
                                jgg13 Dec 17, 2013 02:23 PM

                                Absolutely a step (or two) behind Hobo but better than most.

                                Although with most normal spots upping their game, the distance Atwoods has on the pack has been closing, IMO.

                          3. b
                            Blumie Dec 16, 2013 11:45 AM

                            Just read about State Park, from the Hungry Mother team, opening this week in the old Think Tank space. Haven't seen a menu or beer list yet, but I'm hopeful that this could be a new go-to place in the area.

                            7 Replies
                            1. re: Blumie
                              viperlush Dec 17, 2013 07:37 PM

                              Eh, their beer list doesn't compare with Lord Hobo. And the wine list is tiny. But the space is more comfortable than Lord Hobo. Being that they just opened tonight, I don't feel comfortable critiquing the food menu.

                              River Gods ( for the burger) Green Street (especially taco night), the bar at Rendezvous ( Monday tapas), Friendly Toast ( nachos or onion rings), and the bar at Hungry Mother (when they have the ham biscuits) are our go to places in the Kendall/ Central area.

                              1. re: viperlush
                                Blumie Dec 18, 2013 11:10 AM

                                Pretty sure that Green Street's taco night is, unfortunately, a thing of the past.

                                1. re: Blumie
                                  viperlush Dec 18, 2013 01:06 PM

                                  Well that sucks. Last time we went was a couple months ago and we have trying to get back over ever since.

                                  1. re: Blumie
                                    jgg13 Dec 18, 2013 03:41 PM

                                    This couldn't possibly be more anecdotal but a regular at a bar i frequent typically left for a bit on Wednesdays for taco night, and now at you mention this I don't recall him doing that lately

                                2. re: Blumie
                                  CportJ Dec 18, 2013 01:26 PM

                                  I think they had 4 beers on tap. Can't remember which ones, other than the Harpoon Stout that I had. A bunch of lawnmower/hipster beers, many in cans, some paired with shots, a High Life with rye and amaro called the State Park Cocktail, maybe a dozen or so imported bottles, and some good cocktails.

                                  The menu has lots of fried food, some pickled items, some BBQ. Basically what you would expect for Hungry Mother's downscale Southern cousin.

                                  More importantly, shuffleboard! Also 2 pinball machines and pool. Works with the 70s basement rec room decor -- wood paneling, taxidermy, lots of nice old beer signs and lights, booths and bar stools from the old Paddock in Somerville.

                                  1. re: CportJ
                                    viperlush Dec 18, 2013 01:38 PM

                                    Here is the online menu. Prices are slightly different than actual one, but the items on it are them same. They just need to add those ham biscuits from Hungry Mother on the menu and I will happily return.


                                    1. re: CportJ
                                      Blumie Dec 18, 2013 02:02 PM

                                      The beer selection looks pretty good to me. Not Lord Hobo good, but still plenty of good options. And the food menu has me salivating, especially because I expect it to be light years ahead of Lord Hobo.

                                  2. b
                                    Blumie Jan 16, 2014 08:41 AM

                                    How's the food at Plough & Stars?

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