If Tabla is the sophisticated wine-swilling older sister, then Ode Brewing is the brighter, hipper sister into craft beer. Chef Norbert Portillo of Tabla and brewer Albert Salina’s highly anticipated restaurant and brewery has had a hard time keeping up with demand, and rightly so. They’ve united their passions under an airy, modish setting with plenty of seating options including a large patio at the forefront.
Eventually ten beers will be offered, but in the meantime a Belgian wit, west coast-style IPA, milk stout, pilsner, brown ale and lager have been regular offerings, along with a seasonal pumpkin ale and strawberry wheat. All beers have had a warm reception due to their balanced, subtle flavors. Chef Norbert has rounded up an intriguing group of updated classics where some incorporate beer, and many, duck fat or pork. The menu is a mix of casual and shareable, like deviled eggs heightened with pancetta and duck cracklings and pork tacos prepared by sous vide and fryer. But then there are items like mussels with hop oil and tomato butter and beef wellington benny with mushrooms, truffle oil and a poached egg.
A seat at the bar gets you front row tickets to a very open kitchen where you’ll find cabbage fermenting into sauerkraut for the bratwurst and duck reuben. You may even spot a chef running over to the beer taps to add beer to batters for the fried green beans or the fried chicken served with a cheddar biscuit and torreado honey butter. Most items are deep-fried in duck fat, but may be fried in vegetable-based oil upon request. Some dishes now come with a side of thinly sliced and fried beet chips with garlicky poblano dip. The mac and cheese here combines asadero, gruyere and cheddar for satisfying spoonfuls of shells with creamy and melted strands of cheese.
Current dessert options include a puff pastry pop tart stuffed with seasonal fruit or creme brulee infused with beer and topped with candied malt.
3233 N. Mesa, Spot 301, 915-351-4377, odebrewing.com, Sunday-Thursday 11 a.m.-12 a.m., Friday-Saturday 11 a.m.-1 a.m., Vegetarian friendly, (specify no duck fat or bacon), $4-13.