yes, this is mad late. but better late than never? i'd previously mentioned that i made a substantial killing during this year's Winter Restaurant Week. and i wrote about 1 of those experiences, and then got tired and didn't write about any others.
but in my attempt to follow-through more on my intentions, i'm writing about my experience at the Tap Room at Colicchio & Sons. the Tap Room is the informal dining experience of Colicchio & Sons. it's menu is less extensive and the seating area is the area right in the front of the restaurant. the way i remember it is that it was pretty brightly lit (considering it was evening) so any romantic atmosphere is sort of moot, but it's not a bad place to go, perhaps for some friendly dinners.* which was exactly what i was doing on that particular night.
the only reservation time available had been 8:00 p.m., which isn't that bad of a time. considering i'd made the reservation almost 3 wks in advance was a little (o_O) but hey, i'm not complaining. especially if the food is as good as it's rumored to be. even better was that an impromptu work happy hour happened that day, so i was downing gratis Jamesons on the rocks before i showed up to meet Bubby and Kiks for dinner.
it's always hard to walk away from gratis anything, particularly drinks, so of course i left my work happy hour at the last possible second and ended up having to hop a cab to make my 8 pm reservation. and i kept getting messages from Kiks advising me they would only hold the table for 5 mins after the reservation time. luckily i had a very sympathetic cabbie who, once i advised him of my dilemma, made good time in getting me to the restaurant. he was rewarded with a handsome tip.
so upon barely making it to our table, we spent some time perusing the menu. the RW menu for the Tap Room is a little bit different than most in that it offers a lot of options for the appetizer, entree, and dessert. which is daebak.
i had already decided on the Roasted Bone Marrow (salse verde & boquerones), Bubby opted for the Housemade Liverwurst (pickles & petite salade), and Kiks chose the Braised Pork Belly (pickles, fennel & yogurt).
it was my first time eating bone marrow, although i've heard it lauded and revered in the same way foie gras and truffles are spoken about amongst foodies, so i was pretty excited to experience what the buzz was all about. what a let down. not that it wasn't good, and i can definitely understand why people say it's so decadent, but, honestly, for me it was just "meh." but then again i'm no culinary genius. i mean just look at my previous post where i laud the deliciousness of Popeye's over more artisan fried chickens.
the Braised Pork Belly was also good, but nothing i hadn't had before. it was appropriately tender and flavorful, but wasn't very memorable (i'm having a hard time remembering it right now). the hands down winner of the appetizers was Bubby's liverwurst. but then again, i actually really like liverwurst, so to have it housemade was treat. it's just a great earthy and robust flavor.
for mains, i opted for the Roasted Beef Flatiron (confit potato, cipollini onion, and gremolata). i convinced Kiks to order the Ricotta Cavatelli (short rib & roasted mushrooms) and Bubby ordered the Crispy Veal Breast (braised market vegetables). the beef was good, and cooked as requested (medium rare), but otherwise, nothing memorable. it had a wannabe steak feel to it.
the cavatelli was pretty good, with a dollop of fresh ricotta on top. however, as some other reviews have noted, the pasta was a little overcooked, resulting in it being a little too soft for my taste (and i'm asian. we usually prefer our pasta little softer- maybe because tiny people=tiny teeth?). again, the real winner was Bubby with the veal. it was really good, even if it wasn't exactly crispy. it was cooked to the right amount of tender with earthy flavors that matched the winter.
for dessert, we all shared the Milk Chocolate Praline Custard (hazelnut brittle & passion fruit sherbert), Zeppole (vanilla ice cream & apple butter), and the Meyer Lemon Steamed Pudding (pistachio fennel biscotti & cocoa nib granita). everything was fine, but nothing spectacular that made me want to give up my firstborn so i could continue eating more.
maybe i was expecting too much because of my love for Top Chef, or maybe it was over-hyped, but the only thing i feel about my experience is: been there, done that.
*i've been perusing pictures from other diners and most of them show that the restaurant is actually pretty dimly lit. maybe my memory was clouded by the 2-3 jamesons i had before i showed up to dinner...