When I hear the words “brew pub,” I think bar food. Wings, fries, nachos and cheese. That’s what I expected when I was invited to bring some friends with me to dinner at the Black Swan Brew Pub in Plainfield, Indiana. That’s what I expected when we walked inside and saw the comfortable but not fancy decor. That is not what we got. What we got was some of the best food I’ve eaten anywhere in a long time.
We started with fried pickle spears because one of the women in our group had never tried them. They were better than fried pickle chips I’ve gotten at other local restaurants. The breading stayed on the spear down to the last bite. The other appetizer I ordered was simply called “stuffed peppers.” I think it deserves a more creative name because these little bites were delicious. Small, round peppadew peppers (they looked like cherry tomatoes) stuffed with chorizo sausage and goat cheese. They were spicy without being painful.
Instead of having a salad with my entree, I ordered the steak and mushroom soup, even though it was 85-degrees out. I don’t like to cook, but I want this recipe. The steak was tender, the mushrooms fresh and the soup creamy.
It took my girlfriends and I a little while to order, in part because we were feeling quite chatty and in part because it all sounded so go0d. I decided to go for the straight-forwardly named pork chop, which was served on the bone with sweet corn risotto, fresh green beans and a “warm apple-fennel compote.” The compote tasted a bit like warm, chunky applesauce. This would be delicious year-round, but I think the harvesty flavors of this meal just might make a a return trip this fall a necessity.
Other dishes ordered at our table included the reuben, the grilled bison burger and the roasted portabella sandwich. They got thumbs up from everyone, but what got raves were the Black Swan fries. Again, these are not your typical bar food fries. Black Swan fries come with your choice of toss (herbs, truffle oil and parmesan, barbeque among others) and your choice of dips. At our table there were truffle oil and parmesan fries with sun-dried tomato aioli dip and herb fries with a spicy lime aioli accompaniment.
I should also mention — because it is a brew pub — that Black Swan serves a variety of beers, including eight beers brewed onsite. I’m not a sophisticated (or frequent) beer drinker, but I did enjoy the house Hefeweizen.
The driving forces behind the deliciousness that the Black Swan Brew Pub offers are head brewer and owner D.J. McCallister and chef Nick Carter. The pair graduated from Wabash College, McCallister with a degree in physics and a master’s in finance and Carter with degrees in biology and zoology. McCallister has been following his passion for brewing beer since he graduated from college and has worked in several Central Indiana microbreweries. He gave us an in-depth tour of the brewing process and I can assure his mother that the physics degree has not gone unused. Carter took a more winding road to the kitchen, but certainly has found his calling as a chef.
I went to the Black Swan Brew Pub because it was part of my job as a blogger for The Indiana Insider. I will go back (and encourage others to try it) because the atmosphere was welcoming and just the memory of the flavors of each dish has my mouth watering for more.