Midwest Living Review
This 12-year-old upscale eatery in a former factory has an undeniably cool exterior--the old bricks still have the 1950s-style painted letters on the side of the building. The owners have added a chic two-story patio; the top floor is alfresco; the bottom floor has floor-to-ceiling windows that open during the summer. Club Soda has an eclectic menu that's heavy on seafood. For appetizers, you'll find standards such as shrimp cocktail and crab cakes, but you'll also find duck egg rolls and a smoked Gouda dip. We tried the Gouda dip--it was a bad start. We did not taste any smoky flavor, or any Gouda, for that matter, and while it was extraordinarily cheesy, it also was studded with button mushrooms (which weren't mentioned on the menu, a major faux pas). Appetizers run $10.50 to $45 for a huge sampler. The rest of the menu is a mixed bag of soups, salads, sandwiches and entrees like stuffed chicken breast and a beef stew-type-bowl ($4 for soup; $24 for sea bass, for example). The turkey and Brie sandwich comes served with applewood smoked bacon thin slices of Granny Smith apples on wheatberry bread. We love that the turkey was pulled off of a freshly roasted turkey, not deli meat. One of our dining companions tried the Asian burger, which was sashimi tuna ground up like a burger and glazed with soy and sesame, served with a light Asian slaw. It was lovely--a girly, nice, light springtime lunch and something refreshingly different. The sweet potato fries were crisp on one side, a little soggy on the other (someone in the kitchen didn't turn them over while they were in the oven), but they tasted good nonetheless. And they were cut into rippled disks, like sandwich pickles, which was fun. For dessert, we shared a Snickers pie, which was very similar in taste and makeup to the Mud Pie across town at Cork n' Cleaver, but Cork n' Cleaver's is better, thanks to a fudge topping. We also sampled the peach crme brulee (excellent, but tough to detect any peach flavor, but the custard with thick and smooth) and Key Lime pie, which packed a great tang in a thick custardlike crme over a graham-cracker crust. Overall, Club Soda is a good spot, but the bad appetizer and the stretched-too-thin service were definite strikes against it (the restaurant was relatively busy for lunch, with only one waitress to handle about five tables). The sassy lingo on the menus reminded us of Zingerman's in Ann Arbor, Michigan, which is fun, but the overall experience did not reflect Zingerman's attention to detail at every level.