Back in the day while driving back to Campbell after a nightly refuge in downtown, one of the last images I would see before Raleigh became distant in my rearview mirror was the bright neon signs of Joe's Place.
Joe's Place lit up the corner of Dawson and Martin with a collection of neon signs that starred its iconic "Restaurant" sign above the entrance. When Joe's Place closed they took most of its neon signs with them. Cherry Bomb attempted to fill the void left by the old deli by introducing bright red decor and pin up-like servers, giving downtown Raleigh a taste of a Breastaurant.
But as the allure of pin ups and rockabilly memorabilia faded Cherry Bomb transformed into Brewmaster's. As the name suggest, this reincarnation at 301 W. Martin focuses on glasses of fermented goodness featuring 66 beers on tap with an array of local brews.
|Pint of Bacon|
One Sunday we were at Brewmaster's for the brunch rather then the beer. With any good brunch should come glorious bacon. At Brewmaster's bacon isn't teamed up for the greater glory of an appetizer. It isn't sprinkled, stuffed, topped or playing side kick to any other dish. Brewmaster's pint of bacon is just a glass full of unapologetic swine.
Brewmaster's candied bacon is pork nirvana. Uncanny crunchiness with each bite. Hints of smokiness play off salt and sweet. They offer six or so dipping sauces but there is no need to dip these strips-- the bacon itself is flavorful enough.
As I was browsing the menu the moment I saw the words Monte Cristo appear, my mind immediately pulled images of the Bennigan's deep fried classic sandwich.
Unfortunately for my taste buds but fortunate for my heart, Brewmaster's version of a Monte Cristo doesn't feature a deep fried batter, yet in its place were two pieces of french toast stuffed with ham and swiss.
The ham was sliced thick and the toast was well prepared but I left wishing they added some turkey to the party and a fruit jam to cut the saltiness. Or probably I was just craving a Bennigan's Monte Cristo.
|Bunless Hangover Burger|
One of the menu items that survived the switch from Cherry Bomb to Brewmaster's (unlike the delicious apple blue cheese mac and cheese) was the Hangover Burger. If this burger doesn't cure your day-after woes, at the very least the burger gives you momentary pleasure in the midst of your misery.
Sara's gluten intolerance prompted her to order the burger bunless, which the server was very accommodating to do even though at times her service was a bit aloof. The burger was cooked well done even though Sara asked for medium but with avocados, candied bacon, fried egg, pepper jack cheese and bloody mary aioli staring at her, Sara wasn't going to send it back.
301 W. Martin tells the story of Raleigh's ever-evolving downtown landscape. Old classic fading away in lure of promising new ventures.
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