38 Fountain Square Plaza
After the bad experience we had at Cadillac Ranch last year I was very wary of ever darkening its door again, but beer is a strong motivator – especially when the beer is Christian Moerlein and there’s a keg-tapping on hand for the new Oktoberfest marzen.
I decided the keg-tapping was the perfect excuse to revisit the restaurant and see if they had updated their menu to include a vegetarian option. To my surprise, they now offer a couple of veggie-friendly items on both the appetizer and entrée menus.
The restaurant’s happy hour was already underway when we turned up just after the five o’clock whistle blew, and the large outdoor patio filled up fast. We told the hostess we were there for the keg-tapping and were seated in a "reserved" area near the front bar. We assumed that the tapping would take place there, and it wasn’t until AFTER the ceremonial tapping that we found out that we should have been seated at the back bar, which is where the party was. By the time we found out that we were in the wrong area, the place was jam-packed with revelers and our dinner had arrived, so we stayed put and missed out on some of the fun.
The appetizer selections at Cadillac Ranch are your basic deep-fried bar food; fare like cheese-stuffed jalapenos, onion rings and mozzarella sticks, and although the soup & salad menu boasts seven different types of salad, the only vegetarian one was a simple garden salad of mixed greens with cucumber and tomato for $8. But hey, at least there IS one.
There are now two vegetarian entrées available at Cadillac Ranch – a nice revelation considering there was absolutely nothing the first time I visited. On the burger menu there is a portabello burger listed, and they also have a roasted vegetable pasta for $12.95. Because I had walked to the restaurant after work and was still wearing my "good clothes," I declined the portabello burger since they can be rather messy and opted for the pasta dish. It was ok – nothing earth-shattering, but not bad. I thought it was a little skimpy on the roasted veggies and heavy on the oil, but since I wasn’t really expecting much I wasn’t dissatisfied.
The real star of the show should have been the Moerlein Oktoberfest brew, but there’s where the major disappoint was. Last year’s Moerlein Fifth & Vine Oktoberfest beer was really nice, but this year’s offering was a little flat and lacked the sparkle of others in the Moerlein family. It was smooth enough and had a lovely amber color, but something about it tasted wrong to me. Oddly, it also gave me a pounder of a headache later that evening - and I’d only had two pints, which in my world is enough for a mild buzz but not enough for a hangover.
It was the lack of a vegetarian option on Cadillac Ranch's menu that spawned the idea for this blog, and a year later I have to give Cadillac Ranch their due – they listened to customer feedback and added a couple of vegetarian-friendly items to their menu, so they are back in my good books, for whatever that's worth. That they also offer the full range of Moerlein beers on draught is a nice plus, and their happy hour is extremely popular and worth a repeated visit.
(apology for the lack of photos, they accidentally got deleted from the camera)