Restaurant Review: SIP Local
SIP slipped right into the Clintonville brewing space left behind after the Actual Brewing debacle. SIP Local, a branch of Somewhere in Particular Brewing, kept the physical features of the address the same, but the decor comes from a different angle. Gone is the science theme and narwhal skeleton. Now, macrame reigns supreme, centered around a glimmering chain tree. Although macrame is an artform that defined the first hippie era, SIP Local still manages to look updated for groovy, modern sensibilities, too.
You already know SIP is serious about its brewing. That’s expected. SIP Local is also serious about its kitchen operations. To the point, it has put together a thoughtful menu of edibles.
For example, the house pizzas are perfect, and culturally appropriate companions for beer. A Pepperoni Pie ($14) presents layers of contrasting flavors and textures, which is something not typically associated with pizza. Generally speaking, a pizza experience dissolves into a cheese-covered oblivion: it provides one sensation that you hit over and over. Here, salty cups of crisped pepperoni float above a sea of gooey, melted provolone and mozzarella. The duo is set-off by occasional zings of spicy sweetness that come courtesy a house chile honey. All this arrives on a sturdy crust with a toasty-crisped exterior.
With such a nice introduction, you might as well dig further into the pizza scene. The Midwest Pie ($13) is built on the same toasty crust, this time topped with with a mix of Gerber chicken, bacon, tangy buttermilk ranch (a Midwestern requirement), a good, grabby white cheddar, tomatoes and scallions. While this might be less of a layered experience, it’s no less welcome at the table.
The jury is out on the C-Ville Poutine ($12). The fresh-cut fries themselves were exemplary, with a good mix of softies with a few extra crunchy shards. You pour your own gravy from a dainty pitcher; it’s thinnish (this is not a problem, just an observation). The fries arrive topped with lots of very sweet onion and red pepper relish, as well as clots of melted cheese. So far, so good. The odd bit was an add-on brat elective (add $4). Cooked without casing, it crowns the fries in big amorphous chunks. This concept is likable enough, but the sausage itself seemed a little off. Not rancid, but perhaps it wanted salt. Oddly, the meat was clearly seasoned with something, and that something was a fine start, but the grab of salt is what makes sausage palate-pleasing.
So maybe something on the lines of Zucchini Fries ($7) instead? They’re not the prepackaged sort, instead, fried in crunchy crumbles of panko with parmesan and served with a tart aioli. It capitalizes on the classic parmesan-acid combo that you’ll find across the culinary spectrum. It works because the acids like lemon juice and vinegar slice through parmesan’s contributions, dispensing a fresh palate with every bite. Again, the kitchen wins with its appreciation for layers of flavor.
In addition to its anticipated robust brewing scene, the menu also offer up cocktails, from the Improper Gimlet, made with Watershed 4 Peel Gin, to a Lindsay Lohan, made with vodka, olive juice and three bleu cheese olives.
SIP Local fills the void at 2808 N. High St., putting it in the right place at the right time.
For more information, visit siplocal614.com.
All photos by Susan Post