eat & drink
By Tara Nurin
;; ;;;;;; ;;;;;, New Jersey has 50
craft breweries (with more on the way).
Most come with appendages called
taprooms. Unlike a brewpub (a restaurant that brews its own beer) or an actual
bar, a taproom is a utilitarian space where
people can sample, for a modest sum,
the beverages the brewery makes—and
only those beverages. “I get this way too
often: ‘Do you have Miller Lite?’” says
Kate Sweeney, a taproom manager who
lives in Mount Holly.
Visiting a taproom is a fun way to
educate yourself on the creativity and
diversity of craft beer. Before you pick a
destination, here are a few things to know:
;State law requires you to take a tour
of the brewery before you can partake
of its products; As a sign at Angry Erik
Brewing in Lafayette puts it; “Don’t Make
Erik Angry; Tour First; Beer Second!”
; The beers on offer any given day
will be printed on a sheet or posted on
a board behind the bar. Feel free to ask
questions, but if the taproom is busy, be
courteous to those behind you and don’t
monopolize the server’s attention.
;Most servers will give you a free sip
of one or two brews you’re curious about.
But then buy a sample (usually 4 ounces),
a flight of samples or a full glass.
;Jersey taprooms are not allowed to
serve food; but you can bring it in; Since
there’s no waitstaff; clean up after your-
self; Bringing in alcohol is not permitted;
; While Jersey taprooms are kid-friendly; Tanya Shaw; a server at Flying
Fish in Somerdale; advises parents;
“Don’t let them run around the brewery
and make a mess of everything;”
;Don’t wear perfume or aftershave;
which interfere with evaluating aromas;
;Don’t overdo it; “Ours is a tasting
room; not a drinking room;” says Augie
Carton; head of Carton Brewing in
libations crunchy carrots and radishes in a wasabi soy sauce. Also good were crispy
duck wings in a maple-soy glaze with an
earthy herb salad; and a cheesy lobster,
crab and artichoke dip with pita and
tortilla chips. The base of feta, cream
cheese, Jack and Parmesan did not
overwhelm the delicate flavors of lobster and crab or the flavor of artichoke.
Yard House o;ers three varieties
of lettuce wraps: chicken, shrimp and
mushroom. We tried, and enjoyed, the
latter—each of three wraps filled with a
creamy mix of sautéed crimini and shii-take mushrooms, tofu and pine nuts. It
came with three dipping sauces.
before we had finished our several
starters—were not as consistently good.
Nashville Hot Chicken, a battered,
fried breast, was bland. While Chinese
egg noodles with bits of spinach came
with lots of lobster and crabmeat, the
dish lacked personality. Lobster garlic
noodles had no garlic flavor. A tru;e
cheeseburger had no hint of tru;e and
the burger was overcooked.
An entrée called Mac & Cheese
Squared, on the other hand, lived up
to its name, being loaded with tasty
cremini mushrooms, bacon, chunks of
chicken, melted cheddar and Parmesan. Another winner was skirt steak
with sweet potato/corn griddle cakes
and cheesy scrambled eggs. In the
three-taco sampler, the Korean pork
belly in kimchi sour cream, and the
Vampire (a cheese-crusted tortilla
filled with chorizo, chipotle salsa and
guacamole) won praise, but the fish
taco was merely mushy.
Customer satisfaction being a priority, our server not only o;ered to take
back my undercooked Thai pizza, but
returned with a well-made fresh one.
Banana-berry crumble o;ered pleasing textural contrast between sautéed
bananas and strawberries and crunchy
macadamias. But Maldon sea-salt
crystals couldn’t o;set cloying salted-caramel butterscotch pudding with the
overkill of sweetened whipped cream.
An American Steakhouse with an Italian Accent
“So much more than just having dinner out!”
618 So. Livingston Avenue, Livingston, NJ • ( 5 min. from The Short Hills Mall)
800• 55•NEROS NEROS.COM
Good Friends Meet
THE GEM OF WOODBRIDGE
392 Amboy Ave., Woodbridge, NJ 732-634-9200
of the attention your restaurant
advertisement will get in this spot!
Call our Advertising Department
97 3- 53 9 - 82 3 0 The New Audit Bureau of Circulations
New Jersey Monthly