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Oct 7, 2012 09:04 PM

Northbound Smokehouse & Brewpub

I just drove by on 38th and the place looks fantastic. I haven't been inside, but I am looking forward to it. I looked at their menu online and it's very light. Has anyone tried the sandwiches and more importantly, the beer?

This 38th street is amazing, just a hop away from Citizen cafe and Ted cooks.

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  1. Not a beer drinker, but their food is quite good. Appetizers consist mostly of their different varieties of house-smoked fish (pretty much everything is smoked), stuffed mushrooms (very good), onion rings, and french fries.

    I've also tried the smoked beef sandwich (excellent) and the porketta (also very good). Note that all sandwiches are ala carte (not even chips or a pickle). I like the smoked cheeses you can have on your sandwiches or burger: havarti, cheddar, swiss, and gouda. Almost forgot; the smoked chicken wings are very, very good. You can get them plain or dolled-up a few ways.

    The room is very loud (even when not full) and is a bit sterile, but I'm hoping they'll add to the interior to make it a bit more interesting. Off-street parking is all but non-existent except for handicapped, and while there may be street parking, it can get very tight on busy evenings.

    1. I've been once. Totally packed, without much room to wait comfortably.

      But, I very much enjoyed the smoked egg salad sandwich and liked both beers I tried (preferred the Columbus to the Big Jim). They were out of the Light Rail Pail Ale, which is what I really wanted to try. I was struck at the contrast, between a really pretty, almost formal space, and the menu, which was just sandwiches served in baskets.

      1. We ate there last night. At 6:00pm on Tuesday it was packed. The food was good through might be perceived as a touch expensive. (A $9 sandwich come with zero sides.) Despite the fact that it was very busy night in a two week new joint, the staff did a good job and the food came out promptly. (I am guessing there must be some good, watchful management at work at this place.) I only had the guest brews since the local ones I wanted were sold out so I can't comment on that.

        This morning, Heavy Table posted their write up:

        1 Reply
        1. re: dalewest

          I think as things progress we just have to get used to higher prices (like the rest of the world). Its funny, I can spend $11-12 at five guys of all places....Its like a good corned beef or pastrami...go to any good deli and its at least $10/lb for decent meat. Then a sandwich at a restaurant is like $12 for almost a pound of the stuff. Every single time I travel oversees I am shocked with how little we pay relative to the rest of the world (don't even start on oil).

          I would say the price of ground beef for example at my local market has gone from $2.79 to $3.69 in less than 5 years. Might not sound like much but if that continues....heck a value meal at any fast food place it seems is like $7 these days.

        2. I made it to Northbound a few weeks ago, along with two companions. We sat at the bar as the mid-afternoon (3pm) happy hour began. Off the tap lines, I had the porter, which was very good.

          On to food - after the glowing reviews from HT, we started with whitefish dip and buffalo wings. The whitefish dip was good, not too fishy (which I appreciate). The accompanying toasts were quite garlic salty, but I like that too, even though it bordered on drowning out all the other flavors. I'm not a huge fish guy, but my dining companions seemed to enjoy this one.

          As previously lauded, the wings are excellent...some of the best in town. Simple, but very good.

          For mains, we all got a different sandwich; porketta, smoked beef, and fried chicken. We also got a side of fries to split. Truly, not a miss in the bunch. The fried chicken was coated with waffle batter, and though you could smell it much more than taste it, it worked well. The chicken was nicely cooked and extremely juicy...they must brine it beforehand. I think the star was the porketta, but I would gladly order any of these sandwiches again.

          There have been some grumbles about the lack of sides with the sandwiches, but one order of fries will be enough for 2 people to split, which ends up putting most meals in the $10-12 range. Not out of line at all, given the quality.

          After one visit, I can't recommend this place enough. I normally make Busters my must stop when I'm in this area, but I think Northbound has a serious argument to make.

          1. Ate here a couple weeks ago and meant to write about it. Being an avid homebrewer, beer geek and smoked food lover, I was totally pumped about this place. The beer didn't disappoint (not heavy-handed with the smoke, which was appreciated) but, boy, did the food sure miss the mark. Started with the smoked fish and cheese plate. First of all, fish and cheese? The 3 dips were good, nothing spectacular though. And the cheese!? Literally deli thin slices of Swiss and cheddar. Deli slices?! It made me laugh. The "garlic" fries we ordered didn't have any garlic on them. Then, the sandwiches. I'm not opposed to dishing out $9 for a sandwich, but when it was this poor, I'm pretty bummed. Now, when I think of porketta, I think of smoky pork studded with fennel, garlic and rosemary. This... this was pulled pork covered in a sweet bbq sauce and a tasteless (deli) slice of Swiss cheese. I ate half and focused my attention back on the beer. The beer is good but it isn't enough to ever bring me back. Step up your game, Northbound. If you're going to be a smokehouse, do it right.

            4 Replies
            1. re: 3Bros

              Brace yourself 3Bros. My friend Bill Roehl blogged his less-than-excited reaction to this place and their reaction was the very public Twitter equivalent of a gigantic middle finger.

              1. re: MSPD

                The f-you customer gene seems to be common among BBQ/smokehouse owners. What's that deal, do you think?

                1. re: splatgirl

                  I don't get it. Instead of taking criticism to heart and actually trying to improve their product, they go on the offensive and further my resolve to never return to their establishment. It just doesn't make sense to me.

                  1. re: 3Bros

                    Truly good customer service is often a thing of the past. I remember, when I first moved to mnpls I got a really bad takeout order from Famouse Daves's. I emailed them just to let them know (not asking for anything), and they sent me $50 worth of gift cards.

                    With that said, the few times lately I have sent a meal back has gotten a surly response from the waitress. And this is for obvious things (burnt when ordered med or something like that).

                    For every bad experience we all will tell more than when we have a good one, so its their loss...both customer wise and financially. After the newness wears off and the hipsters move to the next trendy spot they will re-evaluate these policies for sure.