Monday, February 07, 2011

Congregation Ale House

Congregation Ale House
201 E Broadway Ave
Long Beach

Congregation Ale House, located on Broadway, just east of the hectic and every changing Pine Ave, maybe the first gastropub in Long Beach. They opened in October, 2010 and seems have to attracted a good following. Their happy hours are called "mass" and "mass" is served up all day Monday. During mass all beer is $1 off and burgers are $6.

As you enter Congregation Ale House, you go to the cashier, place your order, both drink and food, and then find a seat. You can keep a tab open with a credit card, and a server will come by your table and bring your second round of drinks.

A bit different setup, but it helps prevents dine and dashers, which Long Beach is filled of.

Grilled rib eye and white cheddar burger, regular $8, $6 during "mass." The burger comes with roasted roma tomato, grilled onions-which I asked to leave off, arugula mixed greens, and rosemary garlic mayo, on what looked like a potato bread.

The burger was pretty good, though it wasn't that juicy, since rib eyes do not have that much fat. The burger was tender and the meat, itself, had good flavor. But the rosemary garlic mayo just overpowered the burger for me. A plain mayo, even a garlic mayo would work, but not that rosemary garlic.

The burger is fairly small but for $8, it's a decent sized burger.

I wanted to try the turkey burger $6 during mass, so I got a turkey burger with white cheddar cheese, an extra 50 cents more, and the regular toppings; roasted roma tomato, arugula mixed greens, and rosemary garlic mayo, on what looked like a potato bread. This time I left the grilled onions on.

The turkey pattie was white, like a processed turkey pattie. Not what I was expecting. The turkey pattie was a bit dry, this needed more of that rosemary garlic mayo. I was surprised the rosemary garlic mayo didn't overpower this turkey burger,but actually complimented the burger well.

Fries are $2 during mass, so I figured what the hell, order a batch and see how they are. All fries comes with your choice of two dipping sauces, I got the sweet chili sour cream and a chipotle mayo.

The fries were nice and crispy on the outside and soft on the inside. But they were short fries, like I got the leftovers or something. I know they grow potatoes much longer. The sauces were a nice touch, if you picked a good sauce. The chipotle mayo was very good, nice and creamy with a good kick. But the sweet chili sour cream, just didn't work, even mixed together.

Service at the cashier, is below average. They aren't really that friendly or welcoming. They certainly didn't tell you about any specials and didn't ask if you wanted fries with your burger.

The worst part is, around 9pm, some guy who is suppose to be a priest of burger or something starts talking to the entire bar. Well, the servers and cashiers come around and asks, can you hear that guy talk. WTF is that? They need to inform customers about this "tradition" Personally, I don't want to hear some blowhard talk about beer. I'm there to enjoy the company of my friends, not to hear somebody yelling about beer.

I doubt I would go back to Congregation Ale House. The food is slightly above average. But with the service being below average, there are other gastropubs to try.