Sherman's Food Adventures: Tap & Barrel Bridges

Tap & Barrel Bridges

I don't hide the fact that I like certain chain restaurants.  Yep, I'm not afraid to admit it.  Just because it is a chain doesn't automatically exclude it from the delicious category.  Now, are there other options out there for roughly the same price that are more unique?  Absolutely.  However, there are times when it isn't practical to seek out those places (too small, too far away, not enough choice on the menu etc...).  Hence, we have the reliable chain restaurant.  This time around, we visited Tap & Barrel Bridges where the old Bridges restaurant use to stand.  Well, it still stands, but it is just a Tap & Barrel.

So other than the killer location by the water, the other thing different about this Tap & Barrel is that there are exclusive menu items.  We tried to focus on those starting with the Seafood Chowder.  This was super chunky and rich with cod, clams, potatoes, corn and Old Bay seasoning.  Although this was creamy, it wasn't heavy.  Rather, it was more of a seafood stew since they were not shy about loading it up with ingredients.  Potatoes were tender, yet not dissolved while the fish was still moist.  Lots of clams around that gave some brininess while the Old Bay seasoning added a wealth of spices. There was an option to add Garlic Bread to this and of course we did!  Glad we did because it was well-toasted and very buttery.

Staying with the exclusive items, we also had the 1 lb of Mussels & Fries.  This was prepared in a spicy harissa tomato broth topped by cilantro and served with fries and garlic aioli.  This was well-prepared with all-opened mussels that were buttery and briny.  Exhibiting smokiness and slight spice, the broth was clean-tasting with the mild tang of tomato.  The fries on the side were crispy and of course we dipped it into the aioli.

Yet another exclusive dish, the Hot Seafood Caesar consisted of garlic prawns, halibut and salmon.  It didn't look very big at first, but due to the amount of fish, it was rather filling.  The caesar itself featured fresh and crisp romaine with a balanced dressing that had enough acidity.  Loved the fried capers as they added salty crunchiness.  Prawns were flavourful and cooked just enough.  The flakes of fish were also done right being moist and mildly-seasoned.

Okay, we had the Crispy Humboldt Squid, which is a regular item on all Tap & Barrel menus. This came with fried banana peppers, roasted red peppers, dill, jalapeño mayo, chili garlic sauce and lemon.  Although the squid was tender and not dry, the batter wasn't as crispy as we would've liked.  I much preferred dipping them into the chili garlic sauce as it had more impact.  The fried banana peppers were actually quite delicious with plenty of pop.

Onto my main, I had the 2 pieces of Fish & Chips.  I chose the cod rather than the halibut since I wasn't super hungry.  As such I was expecting light and flaky fish, which this delivered.  Despite being crunchy and light, I found the beer batter to be quite greasy.  I went for the truffle waffle fries and yes I've had them before and yes, they were crunchy and delicious.  The coleslaw was pretty good too with crunch and tang.

The Fish & Chips is an exclusive Bridges item and so is the Cioppino sporting sautéed prawns, halibut, mussels, parsley,
yukon gold potatoes, tomato fennel broth and
grilled sourdough.  Considering it is $32.00, this was not bad.  It ate much more like a Manhattan seafood chowder due to the lack of premium ingredients (such as scallops and crab), but again, that would be like $50.00 and not sure if it is fiscally-viable for Tap & Barrel to stock those expensive perishables.

So the last exclusive menu item was the Pesto Prawn Pizza with prawns, almond basil pesto cream,
fresh mozzarella, grape tomatoes, feta, basil and lemon.  In terms of flavour, this pizza was quite good with definite pesto vibes coming through with nuttiness, cheesiness and acidity.  Prawns were perfect too.  However, the pizza crust was a bit too soft and could've been a bit crispier.

Okay, the real dud of the meal was the Fried Chicken Mac & Cheese with buttermilk fried chicken, cavatappi noodles, bacon, sharp cheddar bechamel, parsley and parmesan breadcrumbs.  The real issue wasn't the mac & cheese was it was definitely cheesy and nutty with al dente noodles.  It was with the chicken where it was fried far too aggressively.  The chicken itself was dry and chewy while the batter was quite dark and hard.

The last dish was the Steak Frites featuring a  7oz Certified Angus Beef sirloin, peppercorn sauce, fries and truffle arugula.  This was asked to be prepared rare and it came out as such.  Due to this, the steak ate a bit chewier, but it was still fine.  The peppercorn sauce was creamy and lightly peppery.  In the end, we thought the food is pretty good, but really, the draw here is the killer location and view.  In terms of food execution and quality, I've had better at other Tap & Barrel locations.

The Good:
- Awesome view and location
- Good service

The Bad:
- Food was fairly good, but I've had better at other T&B locations 


Search this Site