Tuesday, May 29, 2007

Not So Hot Hot Shotz

The family and I decided to try out a new place in Indianapolis this past week. Hot Shotz, a beer and food restaurant much admired by the local home brewing and beer connoisseur community. They do sport an admirable selection of micro brewed beers, both bottled and on tap. My wife, the home brewer and connoisseur of beers in the family, was suitably impressed and delighted by their list of draft and bottled beverages. I contented myself with a bubbly lemon lime soda, like the kids.

It was a rainy Friday and the place wasn't crowded at all, so the service was really good and our waiter was right there. No abandonment issues ever arose during our dinner. We ordered our drinks and appetisers (my wife had a card for a complimentary appetiser). We ordered their smoked Hot Wings and I treated myself to a pair of Virginia Oysters on the half shall, (the manager brought an additional oyster to me at no charge. A truly nice gesture). The oysters were what you would expect, being as far inland as we are. They were nice, but not ocean fresh.

The wings....well, the wings were a different story. I like Hot Wings and the flavour in these wings was good. They are smoked for awhile then fried and drenched in a Frank's based hot wing sauce that is kicked up by adding additional heat via jalapeño sauce, according to our waiter. These wings have a unique flavour and a sneaky kind of heat that would make these a winner in any category. But....there was one problem. They were underdone. Still showing some pink at the bone. When I mentioned this to our waiter I was told that it was the result of the smoking. Perhaps some people might buy that. I'm not one of them. As someone who enjoys smoking their own meats I can tell you one fact, vis a vis the smoke rings. Smoke penetrates and colours from the outside in, not from the bone outward. If you order the wings, at Hot Shotz, check for doneness.

As an entree I ordered the Chili and Cheese Pie, a casserole of chili, topped with a cornmeal and three cheese topping. The chili is made from smoked brisket pieces with dark red kidney beans. There was no true spiciness to this dish and no heat to speak of. The overriding taste was one of sweetness that really didn't do a lot for me. I spent most of my time picking out pieces of brisket to eat and avoided the overabundant cap of cheese and the way too sweet chili. Even adding a good dollop of tasty jalapeño sauce couldn't save this dish. The Chili and Cheese Pie gets crossed off my list as too sweet and too overladen with cheese.

My son made a slightly wiser food choice in ordering the Pulled Pork Sandwich. This smoky pork sandwich was really quite tasty, (thanks for letting Dad have a taste!). While it's certainly not a BBQ joint style sandwich it was better than I expected. Sadly, Cole Slaw is an additional side and not the standard which we Southerners use in place of the lettuce, tomato and pickle Hot Shotz uses as condiments. The BBQ Sauce was a bit of a disappointment. It was just a small container of K.C. Masterpiece and not a signature house sauce. That's something they should definitely work on. The thick cut Brew Fries they serve with their sandwiches are thick wedges of potato goodness. Quite nice.

My wife had the Monster Burger and was happy with it. I didn't taste it so I cannot comment on it. Hot Shotz also offers a variety of hot sauces for those who like something a bit spicier in a condiment. They even have a sauce that's almost pure capsaicin at 1 million Scovile units for the truly brave. I'd love to see a larger selection of hot sauces on their rack, tho. Given the numbers of sauces out there I expect that selection to grow.

Even given the quality issues we experienced I would likely be willing to give Hot Shotz another chance. Of course I'd be choosing different menu items and avoiding the wings.

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