Grown up

Owner Spencer Shea originally opened Homegrown Gastropub as a food truck. Now, it has a brick-and-mortar location in midtown.

Owner Spencer Shea originally opened Homegrown Gastropub as a food truck. Now, it has a brick-and-mortar location in midtown.

PHOTO/ALLISON YOUNG

Homegrown Gastropub is open from 8 a.m. to 2 a.m. Learn more at homegrowngastropub.com.

Homegrown Gastropub started as a food truck serving fancy classics with locally grown, organic ingredients, and plenty of options for vegans and folks with allergies. I never got a chance to try the truck, but my friends and I were happy to find a table at the brick-and-mortar location on a busy Friday evening in midtown.

The place is open for breakfast, lunch, dinner and late-night noshes, and though we didn’t try the pizza, we did sample some brick oven baked mac and cheese ($9) with orecchiette pasta, white cheddar, gouda and a toasted panko sprinkle. The pasta was al dente, and the plentiful cheese was both saucey and stretchy. It was as good as it sounds. We followed this with pan-seared crab cakes ($12), topped with grapefruit aioli and sprouted greens, served on a bed of arugula. The crispy crust contrasted with the smooth, crabby interior, and the tart citrus complemented the zesty greens.

When I hear “pot roast,” I think of Sunday dinners done simply, perhaps a slow-cooker meal ready to eat after church. Our plate of pot roast ($23) was anything but simple, with red wine braised, organic chuck served on a pile of garlic mashed potatoes and surrounded by green peas, and sliced carrots, swimming in a moat of sauce. The meat gave easily to the fork. The veg was good, and the sauce was rich and hearty.

Continuing in a similar vein, we tried a bone-in braised pork shank ($23) that came doused in Bloody Mary sauce and served with a dome of cheesy grits, sauteed greens and fried okra. The pork was fall-off-the-bone tender, and the sauce was rich and slightly spicy. The greens were wilted just enough to maintain their texture. I didn’t see anything resembling okra, so perhaps it didn’t make it to the plate. But the grits made up for it with cheesy, milled hominy that was delicious dipped in sauce. I could have eaten a bowl of grits and gravy alone.

Having recently discovered chicken and waffles ($19), my hungry pal wasn’t disappointed with his serving of chicken tenderloin deep-fried in panko and served with a crispy Belgian waffle, sweet rosemary butter, real maple syrup, and Brussels sprouts with balsamic glaze. The chicken was slightly dry but ably compensated for by the rest of the dish. The sprouts were very caramelized, to the point where the occasional crispy blackened bits tasted just like a fire-roasted marshmallow.

Though other meaty items beckoned, I was lured by a portobello mushroom stack ($19) of roasted vegetables and greens layered with herbed goat cheese, oven roasted tomato basil sauce, sauteed quinoa and sprouts atop a giant inverted mushroom cap. It was savory, spicy, earthy and filling. If I had one quibble, it would be to taste more mushroom in the stack. But then, I often crave fungi.

I was full, but I had to try the maple creme brulee with fresh berries ($8). I was a little disappointed that it was served in a standard ramekin rather than a broad and shallow brulee ramekin, lessening the surface area for torched sugar. Still, it hit the brulee spot, the cool and mild maple custard accenting the freshness of blackberries, blueberries and strawberries. Spread that out and give me some more crunch, and this would be my go-to dessert.Ω