The 101 Beer Kitchen is the first restaurant to open in a former Hoggy’s location when five of them suddenly closed back in January. The new concept made quick work of updating the old space in the Kroger Marketplace Center in Dublin near the intersection of Sawmill Road and Hard Road. The new interior is clean, modern and airy, and the newness has yet to wear off as evidenced by a bustling and noisy crowd and a wait to be seated on a recent Friday evening visit.
Despite the bustle and buzz, the atmosphere at 101 was enjoyable, service was friendly and food exceeded expectations. The main focus of this new gastropub is beer, with 20 craft brews on tap and many more in bottles. Similar to the Columbus Brewing Company restaurant, the menu was designed to complement the beverage selection, but I found that it also stands on its own two legs without the beer.
The Grilled Scottish Salmon Steak ($13.95) is served atop a quinoa salad with wilted spinach and a roasted beet sauce. The salmon was nicely grilled and cooked through without being too dry. The quinoa was an interesting upscale twist with a nutty textural crunch. The beet sauce served as a sweet dressing that paired well with the greens, making this entree essentially a nice reconstruction of a warm salmon salad.
The Pretzel Crusted Chicken Sandwich ($9.95) includes spinach, smoked gouda, tomato jam and poblano mayo with a side of hand cut fries. I was skeptical about the choice of gouda cheese, but the smokey sweetness was an excellent accompaniment to the fried chicken. The tomato jam was pasty and sweet and poblano mayo gave the whole sandwich a mild kick. My only complaint is that the pretzel flavor was lost in the breading, and the expected saltiness was nowhere to be found. Still, a nice sandwich for the price with some great crisp fries to go with it.
The Harvest Pizza ($10.95) which is not to be confused with Harvest Pizzeria, has a base of butternut squash puree and is topped with an herb oil, smoked gouda cheese, figs, prosciutto, roasted grapes and a balsamic drizzle. This wood-fired pizza is salty and sweet and speaks the language of Autumn. The fruit toppings get caramelized in the process, subduing their flavors and helping them to meld with the creamy squash sauce. The prosciutto is used sparingly, keeping the pie mostly meatless, and once again the addition of a smoked gouda cheese is unexpected yet fitting. This pizza has little in common with any traditional italian varieties, but works perfectly well for the season.
While I have not fully explored the menu at 101 Beer Kitchen, I did enjoy my first impressions. For sticking to the sandwich-pizza-entrees routine, this restaurant manages to set the bar a bit higher through high quality ingredients and with some unique arrangements and combinations. It’s great to have this new option on the northwest side of the city and I’d recommend it to anyone who lives in the area or is just passing through.
101 Beer Kitchen is located at 7509 Sawmill Road in Dublin and is open Monday through Thursday from 11am to 10pm, Friday and Saturday from 11am to 11pm and Sunday from 11am to 9pm. More information can be found online at www.101beerkitchen.com.
Photos by Jennifer René of Jennifer René Photography.