Sunday, August 2, 2015

Old Oak Tap

If you want to check out a new restaurant/bar, but are not sure if you want to spend the money for dinner, going for brunch is a good way to check out the space (and possibly the dinner menu) without having to spend the money for dinner.  You obviously won't be able to go at a time when dinner is being served, but it will give you an idea about the place  I went recently, to Old Oak Tap for brunch and to check it out.  Located in West Town, it is in an area that, while on a main road, is just starting to happen.  It has a stone half-wall on either side of the entrance enclosing a large patio.  The front wall of the restaurant can be opened in good weather and, as the weather was nice when I went, it was open, making the main restaurant an extension of the patio.  The space has high ceilings so it feels very open, especially with the open front wall.  The space has a very rustic look, with light green walls and a lot of wood decoration.  There is stone fireplace off to one side.  The floors are hardwood and the lights are mounted on hanging wagon wheels, like a rustic chandelier, although with all of the natural light from the open front, they really weren't necessary.  The space had a feeling of a lodge.  There was a large bar at the back of the room which was where I sat.  I started things off with a breakfast cocktail while I perused the large brunch menu.  I ordered a Pimm's Cup with Pimm's #1, Cucumber, Lemon, Angustura Bitters, and Ginger Ale.  Pimm's #1 is a gin based tonic with fruits and spices and, while the flavor is strong and herbal, it is very refreshing and went well with the strong ginger ale with which it was served.
I started my brunch off with an order of Maple Glazed Nutella Donut Holes served with a side of Maple Syrup.  The donut holes were more small fritters than donut holes, but that was okay because they were really good.  They were covered with powdered sugar and had a crisp outer shell and a fluffy center.  It seemed that the dough balls got a shot of nutella into them instead of having it combined with the dough because they all seemed to have a brown nutella center, like the prize in the center of a piece of candy.  While the maple syrup went extremely well with the donut holes and it was good maple syrup, it really wasn't necessary as the donut holes were really good on there own.
For my main course, I had a pizza.  Pizza is good at any time of the day, but a breakfast pizza is something special.  This was more a flatbread than a pizza per se, but it was still really good.  It had many things you would expect for breakfast:  Potatoes, Applewood Smoked Bacon, Provolone Cheese, Rosemary, and Truffle Oil, and was topped with a Sunny Side Up Egg.  The crust was thin and cracker crisp, but sturdy enough that it held together when I tried to eat it with my hands.  The egg yolk was runny, but it was hard enough that it didn't explode when I broke it and I was able to spread it around the pizza without making a mess of it.  As far as my overall thoughts on brunch here, I really liked the space here and the food was really good.  I would be happy to return even though the service was a little casual.          

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