Sunday, January 12, 2014


Welcome to the second installment of dining out and reviewing our evening as part of Mission: Experience 2014.

Last night, Boyfriend and I dined at the Church Brew Works in Lawrenceville with Mr. and Mrs. Magpie.  I met Mrs. Magpie in 2010 when we both worked for a background screening company run by an 80-year-old lunatic and her equally as elderly husband. 

Mrs. Magpie and I formed an instant friendship based upon a shared affinity for grammatical accuracy, appreciation of Barbie in the development of a young girl (we once came to near fisticuffs with our co-worker during her lunchtime proclamation of the evils of Barbie and patterned tights), and our adoration of vodka gimlets. 

We have each moved on from that company, but have remained friends and co-conspirators in the judgement of others. 

So, as I said, we dined with the Magpies last night at the Church Brew Works, a restaurant and brewery housed in a refurbished Roman Catholic Church in Lawrenceville. This was my second time at Church Brew, following an unfortunate summertime visit when I had forgotten my wallet and my generous friend purchased my lunch. Due to the inconvenience, I chose the cheapest menu item, but the second time around, I made sure that my wallet was present. 

After a hectic search for parking, we found a spot down the road from the restaurant.  The parking lot was filled and the street lined, so we were lucky to stop circling.  Church Brew Works does not accept reservations during the weekend and we were prepared to wait an hour for a table; however, our pager began buzzing mere minutes after Boyfriend and I requested a table. 

As pleasant as this surprise was, it was made even more positive when the host guided us to an intimate corner booth toward the back of the restaurant. Boyfriend and I are big booth fans and this one provided ample room and seclusion from the hustle and bustle of the busy restaurant. 

While we waited for the Magpies to find parking, Boyfriend and I reviewed the drink menu with our server, Ashley.  Ashley was well-informed on the menu and was able to describe available brews with detail. We ordered an appetizer of smoked Gouda, feta and spinach dip, along with two beers.  I had the vanilla stout, reminiscant of my beloved Southern Tier Creme Brûlée. 

I really enjoyed the Church Brew's vanilla stout and had another throughout the course of dinner. It wasn't too heavy and had a perfectly subtle vanilla aftertaste. Boyfriend doesn't recall he name of his first beer, but he enjoyed it. It was light and went down pretty smoothly. 

The appetizer arrived just as the Magpies sat down to join us. I expected more of a liquid dip, but the smoked Gouda, feta and spinach appetizer was more solid, and delicious. As I've mentioned before, I'm a whore for feta and who doesn't enjoy a nice Gouda? The appetizer quickly disappeared while we gave Ashley our dinner orders.  

Mrs. Magpie and I each ordered the pierogie sauté, homemade potato and cheese pierogie sautéed with diced tomatoes, broccoli (I declined) and served with a garlic cream sauce. I added chicken to mine and Mrs. Magpie opted for pancetta. I truly enjoyed my dinner and thought that the garlic cream sauce was perfect. I absolutely love pierogie and finding a quality homemade version (no offense, Mrs. T) is always exciting. The flavors blended well and I am looking forward to heating up the leftovers for lunch. 

Boyfriend ordered the buffalo meatloaf, which came with red potato croquette and braised greens. We had to ask Ashley to describe the potato croquette; once she explained that it is basically fried mashed potatoes, Boyfriend was sold. He said that the buffalo meatloaf  was just okay (he prefers my homemade sundried tomato version), but that the potato croquette was good. 

Mr. Magpie ordered and devoured the wild boar cassoulet. He enjoyed it and was the only one at our table who didn't require a takeout box. 

All-in-all, our experience at the Church Brew Works was a good one. The atmosphere is unique and the decor provides a lot of visual stimulation. The food was delicious and the beer options plentiful. 

I'm not a religious person, but if I had to enter a house of worship, one serving vanilla stout and homemade pierogie would be my first choice. Amen.

Church Brew Works on Urbanspoon

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