For those of you unfamiliar with Destihl the concept is quite simple: high quality beer and food, both handcrafted in-house. It is simple, elegant and wonderfully executed.
I have been to the restaurant on many occasions and being an adventurous soul, tried something different on each visit. On these visits I have had the pleasure of experiencing their kobe beef burger, pancetta and apple pizza, beer braised spare ribs, green chile and cavatappi pasta and the ham and apple sandwich.
The best meal that I have had at the restaurant by far has been the kobe beef burger. Eight ounces of tender, delicious kobe beef topped with crunchy maple jalapeño bacon, white cheddar and bleu cheeses with a side of their espresso chipotle barbecue sauce. If reading that sentence does not make your mouth water you may need to see a doctor. The meat by itself would pass as a delightful entree, but paired with the sweet and spicy bacon and barbecue sauce it becomes something more. The flavors dance across the palate creating a delicate flavor balance that has been masterfully crafted in the kitchens by a chef who clearly takes pride in his or her work.
The fact that the burger was the best meal I have had at Destihl is not meant to take anything away from any of the other meals I have had. The pancetta and apple pizza is another creative flavor combo from the restaurant that works on many levels. The crispy pancetta sprinkled around the pizza offers a good textural contrast to the soft cheese and apple that top the thin brick-oven cooked crust. The apple is mild offering a sweetness to balance the saltiness of the pancetta and the savor of the gouda that adorn the top. The ale onions balance the sweet and savory of the apple and gouda and tie the flavors together.
The beer braised spare ribs are rubbed with a combination of stout and ancho chiles and cooked until the meat is falling of the bones. The flavors are rich and complex, taking barbecue to a completely different level. The espresso chipotle barbecue sauce served on the side adds a little bitterness and a little heat to the already tender and juicy meat. The side of shoestring potatoes compliment the dish well and help to absorb some of the extra sauce.
I was a bit disappointed in the green chile and cavatappi, but only for the sole reason that I had been blown away by everything prior to that. The meal was still very satisfying and good, just a bit under-par in a head-to-head comparison. The meal is served with ancho chicken and black beans in a light cream and corn sauce. The sauce, in my opinion, was very watered down especially since the dish is served as a chili-mac. If the sauce had been thickened the dish as a whole would have been much better, but as is the flavors of the chicken, cheese and vegetables play on the tongue and never overpower, rather create an interesting southwestern flavor.
One of the lunch options that I have sampled is the ham and apple sandwich. I was impressed by the thick cut spiral ham that the chef used. It reminded me of Christmas dinners, it was well cooked, sweet and flavorful, however, more than a third of the ham was comprised of fat. Part of the sandwich was very difficult to chew through because of the high fat content, but it didn't ruin my meal altogether. The ham and apple combination is one of my favorites, the sweetness of the apple really compliment the sweetness of the ham. Topped with my favorite kind of bacon, applewood smoked, and an apple-horseradish mayonnaise I could see the sandwich being one of the best on the menu easily.
The drinks, of course, are another specialty of the restaurant and all of their beers are brewed on site. Being slightly under the age of legal consumption I have not been able to try many of their signature ales, but I hope to have someone else provide some insight in the near future. I have been able to sip on their orange-ginger blossom iced tea, and I can recommend it to anyone looking for a non-alcoholic beverage to compliment their meal.
Overall I give the restaurant an A- because of the little things that have detracted from my overall experience. As a whole the restaurant is one of the top of the line, and certainly the nicest I have visited in Normal. The prices are all moderate and very reasonable for the quality that is offered. Everyone I have gone with has also raved about the restrooms, and after visiting myself I must say I was impressed with their cleanliness and smell, something I normally wouldn't compliment a gentleman's restroom for.
I would recommend that anyone looking for a good meal at a decent price in Normal check out Destihl. With the patio seating available in the summer months, this restaurant is sure to please.