O.H.S.O. Eatery and nanoBrewery Can't Get Beyond So-So

From the second the sign went up, Arcadia's newest casual dining/bar experience, O.H.S.O. (don't bother asking what those letters stand for; no one seems to know), managed to grab the city's attention faster than you could even say "nanobrewery."

Beer lovers, foodies, and Arcadia locals were eager to check out the renovated 1970s building that previously housed the past-its-prime-and-then-some German restaurant Black Forest Haus. The hip sign with the elusive name, the inviting patio, talk of a South American/Italian/American menu with Chef Nate Hibbard (formerly of Kai and D'Vine Bistro) at the helm, and owner Jon Lane's charisma and confidence added to the anticipation. No one even seemed to care that O.H.S.O. Eatery and nanoBrewery was jumping the gun on the "brewery" part of the name.

Opening weekend came and the place was packed. I was there along with everyone else.

Arcadia's O.H.S.O. does many things right — but the food often needs help.
Jackie Mercandetti
Arcadia's O.H.S.O. does many things right — but the food often needs help.

Location Info

Map

O.H.S.O. Eatery & NanoBrewery

4900 E. Indian School Road
Phoenix, AZ 85018

Category: Restaurant > Brewery

Region: East Phoenix

Details

O.H.S.O. Eatery and nanoBrewery
4900 East Indian School Road
602-955-0358
www.ohsobrewery.com
Hours: 11 a.m. to midnight Monday through Friday; 9 a.m. to midnight Saturday and Sunday

Burger + Cheese: $11
Brisket Sandwich: $12
O.H.S.O. Rita Flatbread: $11
Beer Brunch Breakfast Bruschetta: $10

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Lane and partner Pat Walsh did an amazing job on the space. It's beautiful with glossy cement floors, well-thought-out (and well-lettered) chalkboards that list an extensive beer selection, lacquered chipboard tables, cozy booths, a sleek, industrial-looking bar, and garage doors that open to the alluring patio. Somehow, they pulled off modern in a non-pretentious way — exactly what one would expect from a new Arcadia brewhouse. A great place to stop for a drink, especially since the beer menu caters to the craft beer lover.

Too bad the food and the service didn't match the surroundings.

An all-over-the place menu, bland, sloppy dishes, and a slow, uneducated, and overstressed staff made for a rather unpleasant experience.

But it was opening weekend and the place had a lot of potential. Things could only get better. Right?

Since O.H.S.O.'s big mid-November opening, I've been back multiple times. Brunch, lunch, dinner, late-night — I've tried it all. The service has improved some, the space is still great, the beer list is amazing, the patio is perfect for an afternoon drink, and the spicy bloody Mary garnished with homemade beef jerky is one of the best around. But I still find myself making excuses for the food.

Maybe they were just having an off-night.

I just don't think I ordered the right thing. Next time, I'll get that other thing and I'm sure it will be better.

I know it's been several months, but maybe they just need more time.

Maybe I need to stick to beer.

Here's a big part of the problem: O.H.S.O. is all over the map — literally. There's a little bit of everything — Asian, Italian, BBQ, and South American dishes are intermingling with plates of your typical pub fare. It seems O.H.S.O. is trying too hard, yet playing it safe. Everything sounds irresistible, but much of what actually comes out of the kitchen needs help — and flavor.

On too many of my visits, the flatbreads came up short on flavor and crispness. The O.H.S.O. Rita's three-cheese blend overpowered the microgreens, and the "dash of pesto" was undetectable. The flatbread itself wasn't sturdy enough to stand up to the task of holding up all that cheese, and it tasted like it had a touch of freezer burn. The pomodoro sauce lacked spice and reminded my dining companions and me of our school cafeteria days. The Pisa was a little better, but mostly because the pepperoni added a little kick of flavor to the otherwise bland flatbread.

The tuna arepas (open-faced South American sandwiches) sounded exotic but turned out to be nothing more than tiny tacos. The nicely seared yellowfin tuna tasted fresh, and the bright green avocado puree was decent, but aside from one lone berry, the blueberry salsa was MIA, and the dish as a whole lacked flavor.

After 10 p.m., things got even worse.

The late-night menu is sparse, with five options — gnocchi, nachos, cheese or pepperoni flatbread, and soft pretzels. The gnocchi and cheese was a bowl of cheesy mush that could have benefited from a friendly piece of bread. The tender gnocchi didn't stand a chance in the heavy green chile cheese sauce, and to make matters worse, there was an additional layer of cheese piled on top of the already too-greasy dish.

The nachos arrived at our table cold, soggy, greasy, and covered in far too much cotija cheese. There literally was no chance of scooping any toppings with a crisp chip. I'm not sure whether they actually sautéed the chips with the toppings or the dish had sat for so long that the chips soaked up everything. At least they had a nice flavor and a spicy kick, which was something missing from the previous dishes we had tried.

Brunch was an ugly disaster. Breakfast Bruschetta was a poorly executed plate of mushy bread, guacamole, runny eggs, and dry and under-seasoned pork cubes, topped off with a warm cucumber/pickle relish and cotija cheese. The Brewhouse Breakfast Stew had a nice, mellow flavor but was entirely too messy to navigate hungover at 10 a.m. (although the complimentary AZ beer helped). The churrasco steak was dull and overcooked, and the chorizo on the flatbread needed a good dose of spice. O.H.S.O. did manage to squeak out a pretty good plate of French toast. The lovely grilled slices of bread topped with fresh berries were a welcome sight compared to the rest of the morning's messy dishes.

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5 comments
maxplanck0
maxplanck0

I was @ OSHO somewhat later than the date of this review - November, 2012 - and didn't endure any of the shortcomings that Shannon did. It was a Thursday evening; they were very busy but I thought both the kitchen and the service staff did a top notch job. And of course, the beer offerings were stellar. I'll go back.

Bobdobbsphx
Bobdobbsphx

Wanted to like OHSO because it's so close to my house. Impressed with the craft beer selection, but after 3 visits and 6 different beers, all have had an off taste. Something is amiss, like it's been oxidized. As a beer snob and long time homebrewer none of the beers taste anywhere close to what they are supposed to taste like. Service has been subpar each time. I hope they make improvements soon because at this rate OHSO won't last.

Jon
Jon

I had two techs a couple of the beer reps and a brewer in today to taste their beers and we could not find anything wrong with any of the beers. Please let me know what beers do I can help to resolve this and vice lord we have had some old broken pipes leaking and are continuing to try to resolve this issue. When we think we have it another cracks. It is an expensive work in progress!

vicelord
vicelord

Interesting, now that you mention it I've noticed that as well. I always just shrugged it off though. Oh, and Jon, please fix that sewer odor that I often notice after walking through the front door.

OdorHelpSmellsOutrageous
OdorHelpSmellsOutrageous

vicelord. with you on the sewer gas...my goodness, call a plumber already. agree with others on this thread. cool space. nice people. lots of beer..maybe even too many. but the food needs a 'do over'.

 
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