I’m John Fix and this is my first year blogging for Hudson Valley Restaurant Week. My friends know I’m a beer connoisseur, so a restaurant named “The Tap House” certainly appeals to me even before I walk through the entrance. Situated on Depot Square in Tuckahoe, The Tap House has a beautiful dark wood facade with windows that are open to the square when the weather is appropriate. Just inside the entrance is the large bar area with some small booths as well as ample bar stools and small tables which allow patrons to mingle and chat while sampling the beer selection or waiting for their table.
My wife Judy and I ventured to The Tap House last night with a 7:30 reservation and we were seated immediately in the rear dining room. The walls are a mix of dark paneling and deep colors, with photos of English riders giving the place the feel of an elegant British restaurant or lodge. Service was prompt and courteous, our waitress brought us a full menu as well as the Restaurant Week menu and gave us some time to look at the beer and wine selection. I decided on one of the beers on tap (Captain Lawrence Freschester Pale Ale, which was wonderful) and my wife chose a white zinfandel.
The Restaurant Week menu offered three choices each in the appetizer and the main course categories, and two dessert choices. My wife decided to start with the endive salad which included Granny Smith apples, toasted walnuts, blue cheese, watercress and mustard vinaigrette dressing. It was perfectly balanced, crisp greens and thin slivers of blue cheese. I selected the short rib dumplings served in a sesame broth with scallions. The dumplings were tasty, with broth that reminded me of the “au jus” you often get with roast beef dishes.
For the main course, I chose the braised lamb shank over barley risotto with Granny Smith apples, green beans and red wine sauce. The waitress provided a steak knife when the dish arrived, but it was certainly not necessary as the tender lamb easily fell off the bone. The meat was perfectly cooked, and the barley risotto was hearty and flavorful thanks to the red wine sauce. The green beans were done just right, with a slight crunch and fresh flavor. If there were apples in the dish I missed them, but perhaps they were small and blended into the risotto.
My wife selected the roasted red pepper pasta with toasted pine nuts, basil, sweet sausage in a white wine cream sauce. The pasta was tossed together with crumbled sweet sausage, and the cream sauce was flavorful and not too heavy. Restaurants often boost the portion size of pasta dishes, but in this case the portion was perfectly sized (as was my lamb shank) so it was easy to finish the main course without feeling over-stuffed or leaving food for a “doggy bag.”
For dessert we were given a choice of double chocolate cake and New York-style cheesecake, so we ordered one of each and shared. Both were delicious, with the chocolate cake arriving with vanilla ice cream on top of the cake as well as in a well in the center of the cake … a nice surprise to find the cool ice cream in the middle of the cake!
Service was prompt and friendly throughout our meal, from seating to table service to our departure when the host thanked us for dining with them. With lots of beers on tap and a very complete and interesting “regular” menu, The Tap House will certainly be visited again by us even after Restaurant Week has ended.