Wednesday, February 20, 2013

Moer Lager Moer Fun

The ten million dollar Christian Moerlein Lager House opened on February 25th last year as a tribute to Cincinnati's proud brewing history. The Lager House is perhaps the capstone in Greg Hardman's quest to restore Cincinnati to it's rightful place in the brewing world, and it has risen to become a Cincinnati institution in record time.

It is truly a huge restaurant, seating almost 800 people inside (with more outside), and is richly decorated with Cincinnati's brewing history. I am always nervous about very giant, high-volume restaurants. Mass producing food takes great skill; however, it does not necessarily take the same skill required for quality food (think those crappy chain restaurants in Times Square). But the Lager House is no Guy's American Kitchen & Bar complete with "Donkey Sauce". Rather, I am impressed by how this huge restaurant produces a consistently high-quality product. Not surprisingly, this uber-Cincinnati bier haus features a large beer friendly menu. Moerlein pulls a lot of their ingredients from local suppliers. For example, the excellent downtown butcher-shop, Avril-Bleh provides the bratts, sausages, goetta, and miscellaneous meats used on the meat and cheese trays.

We've been to the Lager House a half dozen times since it opened last year.  As a result, this review is a composite of multiple visits. The following pictures include a few aforementioned historical decor and some dishes followed by more decor samples--enjoy and hope to see you there!


First, a rundown of some select appetizers. The meat and cheese trays are very tasty, if a little on the small side - choose wisely, and try to pair with your beer. On the other hand, the onion rings are giant and cardiac-ilicious. Also, while I'm not sure this counts as a pizza review, the flatbreads are pretty nice. For ten dollars, they could feed two people. On the healthier side, we've experimented with the Smoked Salmon Salad (pictured below), which consists of mixed greens, balsamic cipolline onions, roasted tomato, creamy citrus vinaigrette and cucumber relish. While it looks nice, I was a little disappointed by the salad. I found it too salty and in need of more dressing. But then again, this serves me right for trying to eat healthy here.

There is an arms race to pack the most calories between two buns. The Moer Burger is the Lager House's entry into this race. It features cheddar, pastrami, applewood bacon, a fried egg, sweet onion relish and black pepper mayo. This burger will be too heavy for many, but I was very impressed. It is one of the best burgers in Cincinnati (Terry's still edges it out, but only slightly).

The GF's arm slightly intrudes on the right of this strudel. Correction, Joe, this is a cream puff. --Regards, GF. The blackberries adds a sweet, zest to the traditional, German dessert. Save room for the bread pudding! 

It's great to see the Banks rise up over the last couple years. However, much of the area is filled with chains that are slightly lacking in color. The Lager House is quite the opposite and has become a Cincinnati institution in very little time. If you haven't already been, then you are missing out.

Not pictured, but omnipresent at Christian Moerlein, is the beer. The Lager House serves many beers that are brewed on-site. Besides the local brews, the Lager House also has an excellent selection of bottled beers (as you would expect).We very highly recommend heading there before a Reds game over the summer. Don't forget to try their new bock beer for Cincinnati's Bockfest. And you would be remiss to skip Moerlein's UberDrome during Oktoberfest.


Moerlein Lager House on Urbanspoon

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