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Fireside Brewhouse: Not yet a destination 

click to enlarge Neil proclaims Fireside's breaded pork tenderloin good, hearty and juicy. - MARK LEE
  • Neil proclaims Fireside's breaded pork tenderloin good, hearty and juicy.
  • Mark Lee

Just east of the County Line Road exit off I-65, Fireside Brewhouse is an agreeable detour if you happen to be in the neighborhood. A pleasant alternative to the chains which dominate the Southside, this large, bustling eatery delivers a wide-ranging menu and a generously stocked bar. It's also an after-10 p.m. nightspot with a strong appeal to neighborhood night owls.

Family-owned, the Brewhouse offers a lengthy menu featuring a slew of pub favorites, as well as a less frequently-encountered assortment of Caribbean and Cajun-inspired dishes. In terms of décor, Fireside is spacious, sharp and visually striking, offering copious seating and outdoor dining for the warmer months, complete with exterior fireplaces.

On a recent visit to Greenwood, my wife and I stopped by for a quick lunch, and enjoyed a few plates. A dish of breaded Calamari ($11.50) was generous, providing a nice blend of rings and tentacles. Tender, without the slightest hint of chewiness, these were well prepared and were accompanied by a slightly citrus-y chile sauce. Although the menu advertised that the Calamari were dressed in a Szechuan-peanut breading, the seasoning was not especially perceptible.

A plate of “Swamp Chicken,” a euphemism for alligator, was novel and quite edible. With a slightly chewy texture and a flavor hovering between pork and poultry, these breaded morsels of alligator tail were tasty, but ultimately tiring to eat. The half-pound portion ($10.50) could have been cut back a bit. The accompanying Remoulade sauce could have used more gherkins and peppers to be truly authentic and instead was a rather simple mayonnaise-based condiment.

For mains, we chose one Indiana tradition: a breaded pork tenderloin sandwich ($10.50), which came with a side of fries. This was a good, hearty chunk of meat, juicy and properly cooked, and the accompanying vegetation was all crisp and fresh. Our other entrée, the Alaskan Snow Crab linguine ($16.99), was a bit of a disappointment. Although generous on the pasta, it was lean on the crab front, very heavy on peppers — and offered a few more shrimp than expected. They really should change the name of the dish to “Shrimp & Bell Pepper Linguini with a hint of Alaskan Snow Crab.” We did, however, very much enjoy the sauce, which was light, well-seasoned and lacked the cloying, industrial nature that this dish so often possesses.

The bottled beer list is extensive, the mixed drinks list impressive, with some great top-shelf margaritas, but I would say that the draft list borders on the pedestrian. If this were to be improved somewhat and the overall quality of the dishes tweaked a bit, then the Fireside Brewhouse could become a destination, rather than a detour.

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