Saturday, November 29, 2008

Chatham Tap

Scott and I stopped in at the Chatham Tap on Tuesday afternoon, whilst gallivanting about town getting some family Christmas shopping done for him (it seems as though his family is taking care of two holidays at once this weekend). I forget how long ago Chatham Tap opened, but I remember it being well thought of in its early reviews, one of downtown’s first of that new breed of eatery known as the “gastropub” - a type of pub that serves food that is of markedly higher quality than what one would ordinarily think of when conjuring the image of standard “bar food.” (Think the difference in food quality between Qdoba and Taco Bell.)

So anyway, the inside looked - to a guy who’s never been to an actual English pub - quite a bit like an actual English pub (mostly because of the soccer team flags and the European beer signs). The bar itself looked a bit like an altar, recessed in a huge niche behind the countertop that was flush with the wall. Since the rent is surely considerable along Mass Ave (especially for new establishments), they make effective use of space - the kitchen is downstairs. We were there after what would have been the lunch rush, but before that group had completely vacated the premises. The fellow serving us was quick to swoop in to ask for drinks and if we were ready to order, but a long time coming back around after we asked for a moment to actually look at the menu.

I opted for the reuben, which I tend to be a sucker for, and found the Chatham Tap version to be well worth the mere seven dollars they charge for it. Nothing fancy here - just corned beef, sauerkraut, Swiss cheese, and thousand island dressing on grilled marble rye - but the ingredients were well-proportioned, which you don’t always find. Too many places skimp on the sauerkraut and fail to grill the sandwich long enough to melt the cheese, though that was not the case here. It might be the second-best reuben in town - behind (of course) the blue-plate behemoth holding court down at Shapiro’s. Sandwiches come with house-made potato chips, cole slaw, or cottage cheese. I tried the cole slaw, which had an interesting twist - sour cream in the dressing. Sounds odd, I suppose, but it works.

Scott had the breaded garlic pork tenderloin sandwich and chips ($7.50) - and pronounced the sandwich worthy. It was a monster, as tenderloins in the midwest almost always are, though it looked to be quite a bit meatier than other tenderloins I’ve seen. Scott went with the house-made chips, fried dark golden and well seasoned. We also noshed on garlic and cheese chips for an appetizer - French fries with a creamy garlic-ranch sauce and cheddar cheese. These were as dark golden and nicely seasoned as Scott’s potato chips, and complemented well by the garlic-ranch sauce and cheese - though not drowning in either.

Pizzas and most of the appetizers are available on the late-night menu (until 3am), and their website claims that they have the best beer list in the city - so obviously they have never heard of Chumley’s in Broad Ripple. No around the world tours here - just a smattering of non-British European beers and the ubiquitous Corona to go along with the usual domestic suspects and a hefty selection of frosty brews from the British isles. (Not that the beer offerings aren’t any good - they just aren’t the best, and shouldn’t claim to be.) That said, though, Chatham Tap is a worthy addition to the gustatory offerings along the avenue.

719 Massachusetts Avenue
11am-3am daily

1 comment:

Prime Mover said...

I always go to Chatham when I can just because they offer Old Speckled Hen on draft, which is damn fine, almost as good as Caffreys. I thought their beer selection was pretty good, nowhere near someplace like Rathskellar or even McNivens down the street, they are kind of on par with Claddagh.

Chumley's in Ripple...does is still have that lingering puke smell?

Also in Ripple is my favorite place the Wellington. Not for food but they always have a nice selection of microbrews (which they rotate frequently) along with old reliables such as Guiness, Bass, etc.