Tuesday, February 18, 2014

First Taste: City Tap House

City Tap House opened just two months ago, but it is already establishing itself as one of the premier beer hot-spots in downtown DC. Located at 901 9th Street N.W., a few blocks north of the Verizon Center on Eye Street, City Tap House serves sophisticated American pub fare for lunch, dinner, and weekend brunches, and features over 40 local, domestic, and imported beers on draft. 

The restaurant atmosphere is rustic refined, with reclaimed wood lining the walls, and rope chandeliers with Edison bulbs warmly lighting the entire restaurant. The exposed air ducts and pipes on the vaulted ceiling give the place a historic industrial look. 

The front of the restaurant is a lively, spacious happy hour and socializing area, with two dozen cushioned chairs line the bar and waist-high wooden tables lining the windows. Every weekday from 5-7pm, City Tap House offers $5 select craft beers, $6 house wine, and $7 beer cocktails. The back of the restaurant is an open dining space that can accompany a variety of parties, from couples, families, and large groups.

City Tap House prides itself on featuring local and regional brews such as 3 Stars, Port City, and DC Brau. The beer program will rotate new craft beers weekly, and will showcase new brews in this dynamic craft beer market. Guests will not feel intimidated to explore the extensive beverage menu, as the extremely knowledgable bartenders and servers are and excited to discuss all the beverages City Tap House has to offer.

The Beer Director at City Tap House, Andy Farrell, has done a great job selecting beers that pair well with the extensive food menu. 

The two beers chosen for our first round of appetizers were a citrusy hefeweizen paired with the Blue Crab Mac N' Cheese, and a black ale paired with the Lamb Neck Gravy.

Surprisingly, the menu has a large number of seafood items. The Blue Crab Mac N' Cheese is a new twist on an American staple, with a generous portion of pasta served in a cast iron skillet, smothered in fontina cheese and jumbo lump crab. 

My favorite item all night is the Lamb Neck Gravy. The lamb meat is cooked, cooled, mixed in with a tomato base gravy, served warm with a dollop of herbed ricotta on grilled bread. 

The Korean Short Ribbed Tacos are chocked full of succulent meat, cilantro, chili sauce, and topped with a tangy pickled cabbage slaw.

The Yellowfin Tuna Tartare is a classic heap of tuna chunks mixed with green and red onions, sweet chilies, scallion, cucumber, and ginger dressing. 

It took me quite a while to finally decide what my entree would be. The Duroc Pork Collar called my name, echoed by the Tartufo Pizza. My heart finally settled on the Ribeye. This cut is served bone-out, with the marbling of fat flavoring every bite, served with truffled mashed potatoes, and topped with foraged wild mushrooms, caramelized cipollini onions, and sauce bordelaise. If you asked the other guests, they might testify that I had tears of joy in my eyes as I quietly ate this incredible steak, although I could not possibly comment.

Dessert was the icing on the cake, with gelato ice cream, Pas de Creme served with a caramelized banana and, my favorite, strawberry shortcake served in a steel-latched mason jar. 

City Tap House is a welcome addition to downtown, and I definitely recommend this restaurant for my friends working downtown who want to try a great new place for lunch or after work happy hour.

Hours of operation are Monday through Thursday from 11:30 a.m. to 1 a.m.; Friday and Saturday from 11 a.m. to 3 a.m. and Sunday from 11 a.m. to 1 a.m.  

City Tap House on Urbanspoon

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