Located on South Washington in the historic downtown shopping district, Midtown Beer Company is an excellent brew destination as well as a perfect spot for a great lunch or dinner. Far from its roots as a tasting room, it has matured into a quality dining establishment.
Midtown Beer Company is more than just a bar with eclectic American fare. Marc Wolbert, general manager and cook, describes his cooking style as paying attention to little details, layering flavors and slow cooking in small batches. Even the burgers have 37 different spices! Marc takes pride in using real and fresh ingredients sourced locally from farms, markets and local meat companies. Additionally, the bar has a Michigan-centric focus with a nice selection of beers, wines and liquors primarily from Michigan sources.
The parade of good eats began with a heaping plate of BBQ Pork Nachos. Crisp tortilla chips made in-house form the foundation, smothered in generous amounts of cheddar and pepper jack cheeses. Over these, you’ll find tender house-made BBQ pork. This is topped off with a heap of fresh lettuce, cilantro, tomato, scallions, blue cheese and house-made black bean and corn salsa.
The layering of flavors is excellent. The house-made tortilla chips were neither hard nor soggy, but fresh and flavorful with the perfect density and texture. The pork is slow-cooked in small batches and well-seasoned with just the right amount of hot sauce. The obvious freshness of the greens, tomatoes, blue cheese and salsa stands out right away in appearance and flavor.
Next, I encountered one of my classic favorites, the French Dip. This dish was anything but classic though, with an au jus sauce that stood far above the usual beef stock. The au jus itself was a significant feature of the meal, seasoned boldly with an impactful but well-balanced blend of rosemary, thyme, cloves and garlic.
The sliced prime rib is locally sourced from Merindorf Meats. It’s topped with provolone and breaded fried onions, which add a welcome twist and layering of flavors. These are set between a fresh, quality ciabatta bun.
It was served with some of the best french fries I’ve come across in a long time. They are hand-cut in house and seasoned lightly with garlic. The texture will surprise you as they are cooked to perfection, lightly crispy on the outside and light and airy on the inside.
The Beef and Arugula salad followed. A 3oz. tenderloin medallion, sourced locally through Merindorf Meats, was perfectly seasoned and so tender I barely needed a knife. I like my beef as shown, but you can have yours cooked to order.
The salad was fresh, well-presented, and featured a trio of flavors I really enjoyed. The sweet-onion dressing provided a mild sweetness that was complimented perfectly by the salty pecans. The feta cheese was delightfully smooth, creamy and rich.
To crown it all, Marc personally brought me something that was clearly a source of personal pride: a tall serving of home-made from scratch bread pudding. Marc begins with cubes of cinnamon bread, infuses them with custard, layers them with cranberries and pecans and tops it off with a creamy vanilla whiskey sauce.
He waited at my table just to see my reaction, which was obvious delight. Bread pudding is a personal favorite of mine and I’m always excited when it’s done right, and this one nails it.
The atmosphere is open and bright with high ceilings and an open floor plan. The walls feature local art and a 120″ screen for sports fans. The bar hosts many local groups interested in running, faith and community involvement. Additionally, you may enjoy the local musicians and Monday night open-jam session.
Hours, menus and more information can be found on their Facebook page.
Mid Town Beer Company
402 South Washington Ave, Lansing