Restaurants & Bars

Chicago Area

Merle's Smokehouse - Evanston

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Merle's Smokehouse - Evanston

jlawrence01 | Mar 13, 2004 11:18 PM

I had a Saturday off for a change and decided that it was time to do one of those long walks in the city. One of the kids that I work with is in the Executive MBA program at Northwestern and he recommended a walk through campus.

Took the blue line to the red line to the purple line and made it to Evanston. He headed to Dixie Kitchen and Bait Shop as something Southern sounded pretty good. However, we looked around the restaurant and noted that while it was past noon, everybody was doing breakfast. Since they were serving a brunch menu, we went elsewhere. I don't really care for breakfast foods all that much and I don't eat eggs, bacon, breakfast sausage or fried foods often, we moved in.

After a few minutes, we stumbled upon Merle's Smokehouse at 1727 Benson.

I started with a cup of the Texas red chile which was a chile colorado with chunks of beef. It was very rich and satisfying and was served with a slice of Texas Toast. It was a nice start to the meal.

From there, it all went down hill.

I had the catfish filet in creole sauce. It was a healthy portion of catfish covered in a creole sauce served on rice. The catfish was the toughest piece of meat that I have had in a while. I do not know if it was an old fish or if it was not cooked as long as it should have been, but it was chewy and flavorless. It was obvious that the catfish was not cooked in the sauce.

My wife had the pulled pork. It appeared like it was NC style pulled pork with the flakes. It too lacked and of the vinegary flavor associated with that style of BBQ.

I knew that she was unhappy with the food when she used the old line ..."you could do better than this"...

It has been one bad chow year this far. Other than the banana pudding at Johnson's and the meal at Big Mama's Rib Shack in Las Vegas and the new catfish dish at Around the Clock, there has been very little good to write about this year.

The brownie at the Sedexho operation at NU wasn't bad though.

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