TAP (415) BRINGS HIGH END BEER JOINT TO THE MALL

I'm still in that mall mode to start the new year. This time I'm hanging out at The Westfield. Well, not really hanging out, more like me and the SO just saw a movie, we are hungry, it's raining outside and we don't want to go far to get some grub. Yeah, we are lazy like that. Instead of heading down to the basement to eat I vaguely remember that some new places opened up on the top level of the place right under the dome. Of the new joints there, I wasn't in a Chinese food mood so instead we hit up this place called Tap (415).

It's a giant space with communal tables, that's a thing these days, and the menu is a small list of what I'll call upscaled pub grub. Their stated goal is to focus on locally sourced food, another thing these days, and a selection of craft beers--THE big thing these days. Normally I'd just scoff and roll my eyes at a place like this but was really hungry, so we went in anyway. There are tvs everywhere with different sports on--but thankfully sound is turned down. The look and feel sort of remind me of Public House

The place is relatively new, open about a month or so and I can tell that the service folks are still working some things out. It takes more than a few minutes for a server to come by and check on us, but it was enough time for us to go over the menu and decide what we wanted. Appetizers were first. 


Of course I'm going straight for the bacon wrapped mini frankfurters with dijon mustard and pureed beer onion smear for $6. Hot juicy wieners wrapped in crispy smoky bacon--who could ask for any more? Well, I could, at least one or two more. But as it was, they were really tasty and the mustard and beer onion puree were a pleasant, tangy and sweet addition to the minis. A little pricey for the amount you get though.  


While we didn't order these, our server did offer up these free bites to try. Bavarian style pretzel nuggets with a cheese fondue dipping sauce. The balls were still warm with a crispy outside, soft inside and a healthy sprinkling of salt on top. Tasted just like a soft pretzel. We both really liked them. The cheese dip was a little on the thin and runny side though and didn't have much flavor. Neither one of us could tell what kind of cheese it was. Me personally I would have preferred just some butter. Still, the pretzel balls themselves were very nicely done. They run $5 for the lot and beyond the dipping sauce, they are worth the price. 


We finished off the apps with reuben tater tots for $4. Caraway seeds are mixed into the housemade tots to add that sharp rye flavor--something I'm not personally a fan of but the SO really enjoyed. They came with a Russian dressing that was sweet and spicy and I did like it, even going so far as to dip my pretzel bite into it. The menu also said there was supposed to be sauerkraut somewhere in this, but if it was we couldn't taste it. Overall we did appreciate this different take on the iconic snack food and the price works for what you get. 


First entree is the smoked barbecue burger with Point Reyes blue cheese, crispy onions, chicories and barbecue sauce served with a side of pickled veggies for $14. If you like bleu cheese, then this is the burger for you. It is the over riding flavor in each bite. The burger was cooked a lovely, juicy medium rare, but any flavor of the meat was totally lost under the weight of the cheese. Even the barbecue sauce couldn't temper it. Too bad, a little less pungent blue cheese might help make this a good burger, or not. Did like the pickled veggies, they were crunchy and sweetly sour, though they don't really help make this a $14 burger. Little on the pricey side for the size. Unless you are really into bleu cheese, in which case you'll love it. 


I decided to be a little adventurous and try something they called the seafood creole boudin. It's basically a seafood sausage on a cajun spiced soft roll with chimichurri sauce, arugula and lemon for $15. Hmm...it was different. It was ground up seafood and breading in a sausage casing. There were a few chunks of shrimp I could see, though seemed more breading than seafood. Kind of like a crab cake but with a much weirder texture and taste. Neither me nor the SO could get into this. It was just too mushy and didn't hold together like a sausage. I liked the chimichurri sauce but it didn't really add to or help the "meat" as it were. The price and texture just made this a total no go for me. Maybe if the shrimp or whatever other seafood that was supposed to be in here was more chunky and prevalent it might have made difference. Otherwise, just skip it. 


Yes we are doing dessert. Here is the root beer ice cream sandwich with hazelnut streusel for $7. This is smaller than the picture looks. It was 2 very soft and sticky chocolate chip cookies with a dollop of root beer ice cream between. One bite of this will send you right into sugar shock. It is sweet, sweet and more sweet. I couldn't really eat it more than a bite. It was all just too soft and sugary. Those bits you see on the plate are the "streusel" and they didn't add anything to this dish. If you are going to do an ice cream sandwich at least one of the pieces should be less sweet than the other to balance things out. For me this was just too much. Undaunted I did order something else. 


Warms donuts with a milk chocolate dipping sauce for $7. You do get an ample serving and they come out hot from the fryer to the table. Beyond that they were on the overdone side and a bit chewy. The sauce was also on the thin side. Together they didn't really have much flavor beyond the basic dough and chocolate thing. Pretty basic as these things go in this town, but I've had better donut holes at Happy Donuts, and at a better price. 

I can't say I'd totally recommend this place. Prices are a little on the high side even though I know this supposed to be some upscale mall. Considering its location I'd say they are catering more to tourists than locals. While I did like some the appetizers, once you move to the rest of the menu it's kind of underwhelming. I could see folks grabbing a drink and app here, but I can't say I'll be one of those folks. 






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