By Amy McCarthy
By Scott Reitz
By Scott Reitz
By Lauren Drewes Daniels
By Alice Laussade
By City of Ate
But the rest of the place has virtually no trace of its former funky self. In fact, it's rather amazing how thoroughly this eclectic, avant-garde venue was transformed into a cozy club-like rec room. The floor is coated in black and green linoleum tile, and dark wood paneling covers the walls. Instead of extraterrestrial vehicles, the flying saucer theme is captured by hundreds of plates that cover the walls as well as a black mesh stretched over the ceiling, although there are a few 1950s B-movie spaceship icons here and there. Dark cherry tables with chess boards painted on the surface (they serve chess and checker pieces) fill the dining room, and a chandelier with brown and green beer bottles emerges from a post in the center of the room. In a finger flip at current PC hysteria, a retro cigarette machine with styling resembling a 1950s Corvette sits near the rest rooms. There's even a raised seating area with overstuffed couches and elegant tables. And of course, the place sells stogies, which the Saucer refers to as turds (there's even a Society of B.A.T. or "burn a turd").
The back bar in which those 99 beer taps are impregnated is a mosaic of shiny and tarnished pennies. It's a fitting design, because that's about all the food in this place is worth. So make sure you lube the menu with a heady pint of brew.
Sausage and cheese plates with your choice of each proved a good beer partner, with fresh sausage (peppered salami is delicious) and cheese (potently rich white Vermont cheddar is stellar). But the Carr crackers were stale and might best be used as a miniature flying-saucer squadron.
Nasa salad illustrates just how little focus the Saucer places on its food. The menu describes it as leaf lettuce delicately tossed with wild field greens, crispy cucumbers, Roma tomatoes, and kalamata olives. In reality it was a plodding mix of iceberg lettuce, waxy tomatoes, mushy cucumber slices, and no olives. When we pointed the missing kalamatas, our server delivered a cup of virtually flavorless black olives.
The beef meltdown was a thin, dry sandwich with nondescript beef topped with melted cheddar. The bread was slathered with virtually tasteless horseradish mayo. The smoked bratwurst sandwich packed sausage with potent spice heat and smoke flavor. The sauerkraut was juicy, tangy and crisp. A side of warm German potato salad had a good, smoky bacon flavor, but had an unpleasantly mushy texture.
The hot pastrami sandwich on lightly toasted, dry pinwheel rye bread had hot pastrami, tomato, and lettuce held together with golf tees. A side of Sierra Nevada hot mustard barely elevated this to a level of adequacy.
The meat-free hippie hollow was stuffed with avocado, alfalfa sprouts, leaf lettuce, wild field greens, roma tomato, red bell peppers, and homemade hummus served inside a tomato-basil tortilla wrap. Served cold, the thick wrap made for clumsy, chewy sandwich girding that could have been tender and moist while it pulled out the flavors with a little steam. Dull hummus didn't help matters.
Sprouted from the fertile mind of Shannon Wynne, the brain behind 8.0 Restaurant & Bar, Nostromo (in what is now Sipango), and Tango, The Flying Saucer has spread to Little Rock, Arkansas, and Memphis, Tennessee, and a new edition is set to open this summer in Nashville. Wynne, who goes into other markets with partnerships comprising Dallas and local investors, says he's looking to expand into Kansas City, Atlanta, or the Carolinas in the near future.
And it's a great place to sip beers. Folks who join the UFO Club and slurp 200 different brews are honored with a brass saucer in the "Ring of Honor" on the wall. The menu, heavy on beer-friendly grub (bratwurst, liverwurst, big pretzels) should make for some good pairings. But the food can't hold its own against a decently firm, healthy head, which is why the Saucer recently closed for lunch. It's hard to capture midday crowds when your only worthy hunger-pang reliever comes from a tap.
9090 Skillman St., Suite 174A, (214) 553-1543.Open for lunch Monday-Friday 11 a.m.- 2:30 p.m.;Saturday 11 a.m.- 2 p.m;Open for dinner Monday-Thursday 4:30-9 p.m.;Friday & Saturday 4:30-10 p.m.Closed Sunday. $$
The Flying Saucer.
1520 Greenville Ave., (214) 887-1995. Open daily 4 p.m.-2 a.m. $