Guess What? There’s another tap house in town! Hard to believe I know. But seriously, The District Tap opened in the defunct Brewstone location—a location that does not seem to have a lot of luck with restaurants. And since it is right by my house, we had to give it a try. We went with some friends and their son, who is best friends with my son. Here’s something annoying though—they take reservations, but NOT for parties over 6 people (we had 7). So even though they do have some tables that can be made large enough, they just don’t take reservations for such groups, so we ended up waiting for about 20 minutes to be seated. (Side annoyance on the way out, I noticed a table set up for like 20 people, although the people weren’t there yet. So obviously they must take reservations for SOME large parties, just not ours. Ok, end of rant.)
When we did get seated, our server came over promptly and was pretty familiar with the menu. We already had drinks from our waiting around time, so we ordered a couple of appetizers. We ordered 2 orders of the jumbo pretzel sticks ($8) and an order of the spicy red pepper meatballs ($9). The pretzel sticks were a hit with everyone-- were decent sized, and nice and soft and warm. There was a side of a beer mustard sauce as well as a white cheddar cheese sauce. Seriously, these were really tasty. The biggest gripe is that they aren’t cheap at $2 a stick, and you are going to want your own, which is why we had to order a second order. That said, I would order them again. I like the cheese sauce and the fact that it wasn’t just another bright orange nacho cheese dip and the mustard had a nice kick to it.
Surprisingly (for me anyway), I also really liked the meatballs. Not something I would typically order but these were really tender and the spicy red pepper sauce was actually pretty spicy. You could determine the amount of heat you wanted by taking more or less of the sauce. At this point in the meal, we were feeling like we had found a pretty good spot—all the food was well done.
Unfortunately, while the main dishes were fine, they weren’t as good as the apps. Well actually, hubby ordered an app as his main—it was the short rib nachos ($13). There was a ton of stuff on a massive pile of chips—it was all fine but not super special. I thought the meat itself suffered from being a little too crispy on the edges, as though it had sat around at some point. I did like the Sriracha aioli on top. I had the buffalo mac and cheese ($12) (there’s a whole mac and cheese section of the menu, which I found intriguing). I enjoyed it, and it was very creamy and I liked the blue cheese that was added to give it some kick and that flavor you expect with buffalo chicken, but the actual buffalo aspect of it was just a drizzle of buffalo sauce across the top which wasn’t really enough to season all those noodles and chicken. Also, even though the menu said it came with a breadstick, mine did not (although my friend’s Cajun mac did). I liked it, but I think I would rather eat this as a side (well, shared with some people) with something else.
My daughter had the tap sliders ($13), which were three mini hamburgers. They are supposed to come with some good sounding toppings, but she’s a kid, so she had them with cheese only. The funny thing about these—they were cooked nicely—pink inside (even without having asked her how she wanted them) and the meat was nice and tender, but they were strangely cold. Maybe they had sat a bit too, I’m not sure. Another friend had the chicken parmesan sandwich ($11), which I did not try, but she wasn’t thrilled. Since it was made up of chicken strips, I am not surprised. Any menu item with crispy chicken seems to be made with chicken strips, which leads me to the next guess, that that stuff is all coming from foodservice and I would avoid.
Some things were surprisingly good at the District Tap, and some things were more of what I expected. The service, once we were seated, was very good and efficient. We were in a bit of a time crunch and we got out in plenty of time. I think I would go again if even just for the pretzel sticks and meatballs. And maybe another appetizer. Has anyone been and had something they really liked?
The District Tap
3720 East 82nd Street