Thursday, September 18, 2008

Chef Andy White boils crab in chef whites

I took dinner last night at The Tap Room and was surprised to find a significantly revamped menu.

I didn't study the changes - I was catching up with one of my oldest friends - but I did order one of the new items: a crab boil. It was delicious!

This is the work of new staff chef and restaurant manager Andy White, who is getting nothing but praise all up and down the staff and among regulars.

I took lunch today at The Tap Room. Co-honcho Dan Kopman ate alongside me. He said the new menu was rolled out on Tuesday. So I was there on day two.

"I used to be there for day one of everything," I said. "I'm slipping."

At least I can say I was there on day two (crab boil), day three (roasted grouper: simply divine) and (after tomorrow) day four, as I have a lunch date with the brother-in-law of St. Louis American Sports Editor Earl Austin Jr., who is an entrepreneur.

I'm thinking I'll go for the tilapia sandwich tomorrow. That's what Kopman had today, and he loved it. I also saw one of St. Louis' most creative musicians, Eric Hall, materialize at The Tap Room for lunch today, specifically to taste the new tilapia dish.

"Brett said there is a new fish sandwich that I have to try," Eric said, referring to longtime Tap Room barman Brett Underwood, who is celebrating a new schedule (consecutive days off!) along with the new menu.

Eric was on a date with his gal pal, whose name eludes me now. He had put on a corduroy jacket for the occasion, and his facial hair looked unusually carefully maintained. It was kind of cute.

This is all new, by the way - The Tap Room as destination eatery. Most of us have been coming for the beer and staying for the food (without complaints, but mostly without thrills). Now people are coming for the food! (Stay for the beer long enough, and you'll get the new Hop Harvest, coming on tap any day now. I had a sample this afternoon. I was happy.)

In other surprising beer/food news, this evening I purchased an Anheuser-Busch product - the new dry-hopped Michelob Pale Ale - when confronted with a rich field of selections that also included Ofallon IPA (for the same price) and various Schlafly varietals (for a dime cheaper). Michelob Pale is a delicious, dry ale with Cascade hops from the Yakima Valley (in Washington state wine country).

I was equally tempted by another new A-B product, tallboys of Budweiser and clamato juice. Next time!


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