November 24th, 2010
Moon Tower Inn: Beers and Brats with a Backyard Vibe
In 5 Words: bratwurst, beer, friends, patio, delicious
Is there a better way to spend your Saturday evening than hanging out on a friend’s back patio? With a few beers and brats on the grill the simple answer is no, there’s not a whole lot better to do on a Saturday. The sad part is, I live in an apartment with no backyard, leading me to find the next best thing, Moon Tower Inn.
Situated on Canal Street on the east side of downtown, Moon Tower Inn is easy to miss. Driving by, it only appears to be a backyard patio, the only thing keeping me from missing it was the address on a lit up billboard. Even then, I questioned if this was my supposed destination.
I parked on Canal and headed to the bar where I found a list, displayed on a small chalkboard, of the evening’s available brats. They range from rabbit and lamb to boar and elk. The menu is short, but filled with unlikely options. What Moon Tower Inn has sacrificed for brevity still leaves a tough and lengthy dinner decision ahead.
The pheasant dog ends up being my choice while my wife went for the buffalo brat. According to the nice guy working the bar, pheasant is one of the rarer meats they get so I was lucky to be able to order it. He also offered a few suggestions on sauces, including a spicy mayo and a country mustard. We both opted for the spicy mayo topping, got a couple of $1 Lone Star drafts to drink, took our number, and found a seat at one of the patio tables.
Pauldo arrived shortly after we ordered and we enjoyed some conversation while waiting for our food. After twenty minutes and our food not arriving, I became a little worried. The couple that ordered after us had received their brats ten minutes after ordering so I just thought the pheasant took a little longer.
Our worries were settled when the manager came over to explain that there had been a mix up. A few minutes later he showed up with a round of beers for our troubles. Free anything makes the world a better place, but a free beer (even if it’s only a $1 Lone Star) is like manna from heaven. The fact that the people of Moon Tower Inn recognized the error and compensated for it without me having to say a peep is more than I can say for a lot of restaurants in this town.
The brats were finally delivered to our table and boy did they look delicious. Served on a pretzel bun with a generous helping of the spicy mustard I figured it may be good to try it before adding any additional toppings. I took a bite and could have honestly eaten the entire thing without adding a single condiment, but decided to check out the toppings anyway. Raw, sliced jalapenos, feta cheese, onions, cilantro, sauerkraut and shredded mozarella were just a few of the available toppings sitting in a cooler box on the patio. I came to the conclusion that a little bit of feta and some onions would be a nice addition to the pheasant.
The preparation of the bratwursts is a beautiful thing. Besides being cooked perfectly, the pretzel bun is exactly the piece of baked dough I want holding it. Add to this the spicy mayo… Well, I was in hot dog heaven (seeing a heaven theme?). I was so pleased in fact that I went back for seconds, this time ordering the venison with country mustard.
Our second order came out in no time flat. Just as delicious as the pheasant, the venison dog arrived with a charred exterior and juicy center. The country mustard was as good as anything I’ve found in the “sausage countries” (Germany, Czech Republic, Austria, or Poland). I’m sure it’s good enough to make Hans and Franz proud.
The fare of Moon Tower Inn is the first step in bolstering the grilling-out-back atmosphere. We all know that a little bit of charcoal, brats and beer will go a long way, but won’t get you to true “backyard hangout” status. Luckily they up the ante with a couple of slots for horseshoes and a firepit or two to congregate around. I’ll even go so far as to say that the port-o-potty in the corner of the grounds adds to the ambiance of family reunion fun.
Needless to say, Moon Tower Inn has won me over. It’s really hard to do justice to sausage via the written word, so get your butt over there. This place is now at the top spot on my list for a casual hang out with friends. The upside is, the food is anything but “casual”. Do yourself a favor and get to this east side haunt before word spreads.
Where – 3004 Canal Street (map)
What – Beers, brats, and friends
Wear – Come as you are
Hours – Monday – Closed
Tuesday through thursday 5pm-2am
Web – Website