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Saturday, March 19, 2011

Columbia Eats: Hunter Gatherer

If you go to USC, it's a requirement that you visit Hunter Gatherer. A lot. Columbia's only brewery, Hunter Gatherer not only dishes out fantastic microbrews but also carries a tremendous selection of bar food fit for any foodie.

While Hunter Gatherer has a nice, varied menu of appetizers, any first timer at HG has a mandatory requirement of ordering their specialty - the black bean dip. Not a grounded, refried thing that it may sound like, but rather a soulful appetizer that gets deeper with every bite. Between the beans, cheese, and dollop of sour cream is a beautifully warm dish that easily feeds a table of four on its own.

HG features both a list of daily rotating specials alongside a set list of comfort food gone trendy. The HG burger is a standout for people looking to get a bang for their buck. A thick, juicy slab of angus beef topped with your choice of cheese including options such as gouda and/or blue cheese. What else is there to say there?

Looking a bit deeper in the menu, we get more comfort picks kicked up a notch. The Port Royal Shrimp Sandwich fills anyone's seafood needs. If the red pepper remoulade and spicy seasoned shrimp wasn't enough, this special comes with hashbrowns, which for this foodie is easily a gamebreaker when it comes to decision time at HG. HG also features a list of personal gourmet pizzas, either done your way or theirs. Thin, crispy and chock full of quality ingredients, these personal pizzas tend to hit the spot for most. For all the good, there are some hit-and-misses, the mac and cheese being a disappointing one. Lacking a punch of flavor and a crumbling top that one would come to expect from a place like HG, it was one of the few disappoints to be found. Fortunately, they make up for it with a list of terrific beer, whether it is one of their three constantly rotating microbrews or deck full of import/domestic options. Between you and me though, definitely hit up HG's beer. Not only are they a nice low price, but they're pretty fantastic as well.

No Reservations, The Shakedown on Hunter Gatherer
Atmosphere: Despite its location in relation to USC, a surprisingly diverse clientele. Comforting and buzzing with activity at night.
Cost: A bit high for some of the college crowd, but still manageable.
$5-7 appetizers, $8+ main courses.

Try: The black bean dip and microbrews. A Cola requirement.

The Final Verdict
For those looking for a good drink, good food, and a laid-back environment to hang out for the evening or weekday lunch, look no further then Hunter Gatherer. The only real negative there is to say about HG is the parking situation, or lack their of during lunch hours. If you plan to go, either come late for dinner or pack some serious quarters.

Hunter-Gatherer Brewery & Ale on Urbanspoon


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