Since learning of City Tap House‘s opening debut on December 9, we’ve been itching for the opportunity to check out the extensive craft beer menu, and regional American cuisine. Just like with food, we believe life’s too short to drink the same thing all of the time. It’s boring. Or as we like to call it, “living under a rock”. With more than 60 different local, national and international beers available by the draft & bottle, an international and eclectic selection of wine, and a specialty, handcrafted cocktail menu, we’re “tapping” City Tap House as one of our new favorite places to grab a drink. We loved the rustic vibe with the rough exposed wood beams, copper fixtures, and open kitchen. And, for those who are more into the whole brunch scene, we recommend stopping by for the $18 unlimited brunch drinks; Mimosas, Bloody Mary bar, and especially the “Beermosa” which is worth its weight in all its liquid-y golden glory.
Of course food is kind of mandatory. Drinking on an empty stomach is no bueno, and City Tap House’s dinner menu holds up to the task of complimenting the impressive number of drink selections. Executive Chef Scott Swiderski has crafted a menu that is an upscale version of warm, inviting, hearty, and filling American pub fare. De-lic-ious. One of us was at least a little prepared to be inundated by all of the wonderful sounding choices and had already nailed down a week ahead of time what they were going to order. We’re talking gourmet pizzas made in their brick oven, various meat dishes ranging from Monkfish Osso Buco to Rabbit Bolognese, Duck Fat Fries, and Dolcezza Gelato. We left with some new favorites and recommendations, one of which reached the top 3 of our all-time favorite list (so far). So here we go:
- Throughout the evening we had some really fantastic beer. However, if you don’t go in knowing even vaguely what you might want, perusing the drink menu could take awhile. We’re talking four pages of beer here folks. For those who prefer a sweeter lighter beer, we suggest the Weihenstephaner Hefeweiss. If you can’t pronounce it, just point. This German beer, at 5.4% Alc. and the oldest wheat brewed beer in the world receives incredible ratings across the interweb; light, citrusy, a little sweet, large foamy head, and 100% drinkable. We also sampled the 3 Stars Samsquanch, and a Firestone IPA making City Tap House the perfect place for all you beer connoisseurs.
- For one of our appetizers we ordered the Korean Short Rib Tacos (pickled cabbage slaw, cilantro, chili sauce). We could have eaten these alone all night. Screw the gourmet pizzas! (Just kidding. You don’t want to pass up trying one of those either.) The flavor of the tacos was absolutely fantastic. Add a little bit of fresh lime juice for an added punch and we think these are some of the best tacos in the area. Your table may just end up fighting over who gets the last one.
- When we see a brick oven pizza topped with fried eggs and truffles, among other ingredients we need to look up online, something in our “foodie” brains just screams that we HAVE to try it. So that’s exactly we did. We ordered the Tartufo Pizza (roasted mushrooms, taleggio, guanciale, fried egg, black truffle) and gawked at all it’s cheesy fungal beauty before digging it. This pizza is so rich in flavor and substance it absolutely has to be shared by at least two people, three or four if you’re trying to save room for more beer… and food. We suggest eating it and not saving leftovers. While still good, it almost becomes too pungent sitting over night in the fridge.
- And finally we each ordered an entree. The Monkfish Osso Buco (maitake mushroom, butternut squash, green beans, cider truffle jus) was the perfect cold night fare. Served with a generous portion of monkfish, it was warm, hearty, and a great combination of earth and sea ingredients. We even noted that while probably unintentional, the maitake mushrooms looked like a variety of seaweed we’ve seen often on the coast of Maine. It was a neat visual that we thought tied the entire dish together. We loved this dish so much we couldn’t stop raving about it and it has made it near the top of our all-time favorites list.
- The Oven Roasted Half Chicken (corn & jalapeno spoonbread, baby green beans, pan jus) felt like home – something your mother might make for a big family Sunday meal. While the preparation was pretty simple, the poultry was cooked perfectly and made us feel justified for ordering it, even though we tend to go the more unique and unusual food route when trying a new place. In the end, we were glad for such a large helping of chicken. There was plenty to satiate our appetites and bring some home to nom on during a midnight snack craving.
We loved our time at City Tap House and definitely plan to go back in the near future. The beer was fantastic, and the food was filling. We already have our dishes picked out for the next time; Blue Crab Mac n’ Cheese, Lamb Neck Gravy, Chipotle Glazed St. Louis Ribs, Honey Goat Cheese Pizza…. I’m sorry, where were we? Oh yes. Grab your friends, family, or even that weird guy down the street and GO!
City Tap House
801 I St.
Washington, DC 20001
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