Monday, September 14, 2009

Tap and Table Gastropub

Living in the suburbs of a big city, you become accustomed to having the so-called "diamonds-in-the-rough" [of your local restaurant scene] be spaced few and far between. Unlike the urban life, where satisfying mouth fiestas can easily be found in walking distances, my country-esque landscape packs scrumptious supper splurges, but for out-of-towners, they may need a sturdy map to dine at my suburban thrones.

Recently, a couple close to B and I, tipped us off to a local gastropub that's been in operations for a little over three months. Any eatery that's bursting with a profound love of craft beers and furthermore, decently paired entrees, is definitely a dining excursion in my go-to book, which is why we recently trekked to Emmaus' Tap and Table Gastropub.

Proud to have over 149 hoppy pleasures, most rarely found at any local bar or pub, the gorgeous beer menu may take a proclaimed fiend a minute or two (or ten) to breeze through and make the decision for dinner's first sip. Your surroundings, boosting in a dining room lit solely by candlelight and a grubbing space lined with communal deep-red wood tables, are reminiscent of any fall-fused, low key soiree, while still maintaining the comforting feel of an Oktoberfest celebration.

Although the dinner menu is sketched around only a handful of options, the selection is top-notch and mostly everything, even down to the ketchup, is housemade. Aside from ever changing nightly specials (for our visit, fish and chips were the evening's featured starter), the basic menu offers beer-brewed appetizers, entrees and desserts, and if ever there was a locale for an epic beer king, this is your cathedral!

[Please excuse the photographs! The dimly lit dining scene, minus an obnoxious flash, did not make for the best of images.]

Floored over which decision to decide on first, we opted to sample the artisanal cheese plate to begin our feast. Plated with aged cheddar cheese, delicate brie and bold bleu, and then, accompanied with toast points and sesame crackers, baby chardonnay grapes and in-house candied cashews, the cheese assortment was exceptional, and the fruit, tart and sweet.

Yes, I ate a burger. A Kobe beef burger. Embarassed by my overwhelming consumption of beef patties, I cannot resist sampling a gourmet burger, paired with a pint of beer, at any substantial restaurant. I apologize for not being over versatile (which, I honestly am) in the last few months, but this beefy 'wich was what I needed on the crisp weekend evening. Slathered with aged cheddar, plopped with caramelized onions and layered with applewood bacon, the medium-cooked red meat was fresh and juicy, and the homemade bun, the ideal exterior pocket I always wish for prior to sinking my teeth into some beef.

Suggested, following ordering pan-seared duck beast, is a pint of the St. Feuillien Brune, served on draft. The St. Feuillien Brune, a deep brown ale doubled-conditioned and brewed Abbey Dubbel-style, offers up-to-par roasted flavors that pair exceptionally well with richness of the duck and its sauce accompaniment, the red wine grape sauce. Sided with purple Peruvians and crunchy string beans, our German feast couldn't get better than this!

No meal is complete without a bite or two of dessert, and since summer is almost officially at its close, the housemade ice cream trio wasn't too hard to select. With a Samuel Smith Oatmeal Stout toffee chip scoop, a Young's Double Chocolate Stout chip scoop,and sweet-and-natural, non-alcohol vanilla bean, captured what a brewpub does best — splash puddles of hoppy punches into some of the eatery's most-pursued dishes.
Most importantly, a true beeraholic can't visit a gastro without a sampling of a few decent brews. Here's what we tried: Ommegang Grand Cru Rouge, Furthermore Oscura (for coffee lovers, such as myself), Dogfish Head's Punkin Ale, and previously mentioned, St. Feuillien Brune.