Thursday, April 7, 2016

The Wheel Barrel -- NOTO's Newest Addition

After all the great things I've been hearing since it's opening last weekend, I had to check out The Wheel Barrel. I heard they ran out of food on Saturday night and had to close early they had such an awesome turnout. Tonight they were packed as well. I hope it keeps it up. I've always loved NOTO and I'm excited to see a new restaurant open there.

The place is small and probably seats around 50 people, but there is a huge patio area outside, too, that I'm sure will fill up easily in the warmer months.

After seating ourselves our waitress came and took our order. The beer list is impressive and takes a second to take in. Some were from Kansas City, and most were a variety of craft beers.

Most items on the menu are grilled sandwiches, soups and pretzels. The charcuterie plate was what
caught my eye, but alas, they were out of that item at the time of my visit. The waitress said that's been happening a lot because they've been so busy. So we got the pretzel and cheese dip instead, which was pretty good, and they make their own cheese sauce, so it's not that fake, orange nacho cheese that usually comes with pretzels. There is also some salsa or green chili in the cheese so there's a slight kick, but nothing overwhelming, just enough to know it's there.

For my dinner I ordered the Monte Cristo with a cup of their house-made tomato bisque. As a teenager, the first Monte Cristo sandwich I ever had was battered and deep-fat-fried and I've been trying to find one like it ever since. This sandwich wasn't deep-fat-fried, it was grilled, but it was still crispy on the outside like I wanted it to be, and probably with less fat than if it were fried.  The sandwich was sprinkled with powdered sugar and served with grape jelly. Inside is turkey and gruyere cheese, which is one of my favorite cheeses because it's not Swiss cheese. I like
Swiss cheese, but Gruyere tends to be a little creamier and softer than the sharpness of Swiss. I would order this sandwich again, but first I plan to try a few others that sounded interesting.

For my side, I ordered the tomato bisque. I always love me some tomato soup, and the waitress informed me it was made in-house, so that was even more intriguing. This soup is on the menu daily, and in addition they have a soup-of-the-day. Today it was French onion soup, so I went for the tomato. I enjoyed the soup, but I do think it needed quite a bit of salt. After I added what I thought was enough seasoning, it was bangin. It was creamy, tomato-y and not that Campbell's soup crap.

I enjoyed my first visit to The Wheel Barrel and plan to return. I can't wait for it to warm up so patios open up around town. The waitstaff was friendly, the atmosphere was welcoming and the food was good. I think you should check it out, too.  Let me know what you think in the comments below.

Sunday Brunch

For Sunday Brunch, The Wheel Barrel features Bloody Marys and mimosas for $4 and a limited menu. I went with six other people and were able to get a nice table on the patio. It was a beautiful day for patio dining, too, so we got lucky.

I ordered a Bloody Mary because I can't seem to find one in this town that isn't full of horseradish and Worcestershire. This one had neither, at least that I could tell. If it did, they used just enough so I didn't taste it. All I needed to add was a little salt and it was good to go. The rim is dusted with some sort of spicy celery salt, which I wasn't a huge fan of, and it came with a lime, green bean and a whole pickle spear. I think that was my favorite part, the pickle. I'm usually not a fan of a bunch of food in my Bloody Mary, but this wasn't bad. It's when you get an olive, a pickle, a lime, a piece of sausage (yes, I've gotten sausage once) and all that other crap. I just want some spiced up tomato juice with some vodka in it, (oh and that pickle apparently).

For brunch I ordered the Breakfast BLT. A fried egg, cheddar cheese, bacon and baby greens all on brioche was a nice twist on a regular BLT. The added egg was nice and the cheddar added a nice creaminess to the sandwich. The brioche was toasted and crunchy and I loved the thick cut bacon. This sandwich I would order again.

As before, the waitstaff was accommodating and friendly. Our waitress was quick and helpful when it
came to questions on the menu.

For those of you who have children, the patio on a nice day is the perfect place to take your kids to eat. There is a playground of sorts with toys and sidewalk chalk for your little ones to take advantage of while you're waiting on your food or chatting with friends after dinner.

I think this is going to be one of my new favorite spots in NOTO.