Food & Drink

Craft Breww City offers up some decent bar food on the double

On the double



Craft Breww City's website is full of statements about "high-quality, hand-crafted food," about the selection of beers and ingredients — in fact, the only thing that it's missing is an explanation of the second "W" in the name. It's that intentional misspelling that makes CBC's sign so hard to miss from 12 Mile or Orchard Lake roads. Replacing the long-shuttered Roosevelt's, Craft Breww City seeks to reclaim a corner for drinking and socializing that has been largely devoid of good food and drink for a while.

The location is huge, and CBC has taken advantage of the space well: In addition to a private room, there's a set of couches, pool and shuffleboard, a large bar, and plenty of tables, booths, and televisions. It's an open interior, decorated on one wall with a mural of Detroit (the city itself and some iconic logos and imagery), and throughout with a combination of "wood, concrete, steel, and metals, splashed with bright colors," as their slick, nearly corporate-sounding website describes it. It's not ineffective: The result is something like a very suburban version of your favorite dive bar. More space, much nicer, but still somewhat sparse and unrefined.

The food at CBC meets this theme: It's bar food, and it's pretty good. Hand-crafted for sure, since there are cooks in the kitchen; the somewhat rough-around-the-edges style of all the plates is a purely aesthetic choice, since that seems to say "craft." It's not pretentious. There's cheesy bread, and it's a pleasure. Stringy and oozing, with nearly burnt crisp edges where the melted cheese spills over the ciabatta. It's served with a few pasta dishes down the menu, and available as a snack plate, too.

Speaking of snacks, CBC serves deviled eggs. Two eggs, in four halves, on a plate — the yolks whipped with only a little bit of mustard pungency, and topped with scallions, or even bacon at your discretion (yes.) They're simple, somewhat to their detriment. While tasty, there's a feeling that there could be something more: a little horseradish? Maybe some paprika? They go well with beer, in any case. So do the pretzels.

When in the bar, eat what the barflys do: Sandwiches at CBC are definitely worth a look. There's the resurgent fried bologna sandwich, here called "The Airstream." It's a thick slice, griddled and served on brioche with onions, Dijon, and ale cheese ... it's a delight, one that demands another glass of beer. Following suit, the pulled pork sandwich is tasty, although a fellow diner felt it was a little light on the pork. The slaw is well-seasoned and -dressed, the pickles crisp, and the barbecue sauce finishes the sandwich well. Exactly what a good pulled-pork sandwich ought to be. (On the matter of sides: The pub fries and tots are good, the onion rings better. If you're into something healthier, there are spinach and veggies.) There are fish options, too: Fish — walleye! — and chips, and grilled, barbecue-glazed salmon constitute half of the menu's "entrées" section, and nothing goes with fish and chips like an IPA.

There's "craft pizza," too — served up on a quarter-sheet tray, as is becoming popular — only four varieties on offer, no build-your-own options presented. The margarita (margherita, thank you) pizza does not quite resemble what you might find elsewhere. Instead of the classic fresh mozzarella and tomatoes, it's a normal cheese pizza with a heavy helping of chopped fresh basil strewn across. It smells heavenly, and the thin crust is somewhat doughy, making for a very enjoyable experience. It's not bad pizza, by any means, but it doesn't really match what you might expect from "craft" — especially in an area with some really good pizza.

On the menu, there's a small note: "Take your mom home a doughnut." It's a big, big doughnut. A doughnut for two, or three small dessert appetites. It's coated in salted caramel, a sour cream cake doughnut. It's a beer-friendly dessert, perfect with a dark stout or a fruit ale. It's also, oddly, the only dessert on the menu, or ... not on the menu, actually, other than that little offhand mention.

The beer menu is, as expected, fantastic. There are 40 taps, divided between some standards and rotating taps. There's a heavy Michigan presence on the list, with some of the best of the region available at any time; even more beers in bottles and cans fill a large sliding-door cooler behind the bar. The taps are centered in the bar's geography, thrust into the center of the restaurant — the beer is on display, the centerpiece of the place, the reason that you're there. It's all in the $4-10 range, with only a couple of specialty bottles or drafts coming in above that. For some of the best beers you'll drink, that's not too much to ask.

It's Craft Breww City, after all, not Craft Foodd City. The beers are really good, and the food mostly works. It's definitely a good place to catch a game, or relax with a drink after work. If you're in the area, you should stop by.

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