On Friday, DD and I made the long anticipated visit to Town Tavern, a relatively new restaurant in downtown Royal Oak. We both had heard rave reviews and being the food lovers we are, we were anxious to check it out for ourselves.
We headed over about 8:30 and found a 45 minute wait. Under normal circumstances, I wouldn’t stand for that, but when we walked in, the festive atmosphere sucked us in, so we put our name down and headed to the bar. One Manhattan and a Strawberry Squeeze later, we were happily ensconced along the bar. The place was full, but not packed. It was loud, but not deafening. Perfect ambiance to spend some time catching up and before we knew it, the hostess was seating us.
The tables are close, but you don’t feel like you’re on top of your neighbors. The waitress immediately greeted us and took our drink orders. DD and I perused the menu, which is diverse and enticing. There were a couple pasta entrees, steak, seafood of the day, and burgers. Basically tavern fare done with an upscale twist. We were between the crab cake appetizer and the rib taco appetizer, when we appealed to the waitress for advice and she immediately recommended the tacos. During the remainder of the evening we asked her opinion on several items, and she never let us down.
As for the tacos, they came out with a little sweet bbq sauce, a little cilantro, a paper thin shell, and some pico de gallo or avocado sour cream for dressing. Needless to say, we wished there were more than three of them.
DD ordered a caprese salad — mozarella, basil and tomato. Simple enough, but Town Tavern made it extra special with a strong basil paste and fresh mozarella and tomatoes. It’s hard to get tomatoes perfect, but they were. Also while waiting for our entrees, we sampled the house bread — buttery, soft, parmesan-ey knots of bread goodness. And I do love me some buttered cheesy bread. We couldn’t nod our heads fast enough when the waitress asked if we wanted more, and then it was all I could do to not eat the whole second basket and ruin my appetite for the main dish.
When the main dishes did come, we found them hot and amazing. I have a love affair with macaroni and cheese, so I selected the lobster mac and cheese. I recently found I’m not a huge lobster fan, but there was just a bit on the top and it went with the creamy cheese and macaroni. DD’s filet with gorgonzola looked equally yummy; the only thing that kept me from reaching my fork across the table was a bad experience I had with a filet a few months ago. Since then, I’ve sadly stayed away from rich red meat.
If only we had had room for dessert, but all in all the experience was worth the wait, which is likely to not go away as more and more people discover this gem. The only downside was the wine list. While it was large, there were only a few wines that were served by the glass. And the bottles were a bit out of my price range. But if you’re in the mood to go all out, then I’m sure the options are worth it, as the one wine I did sample was lovely. The only other downfall of the experience was when I realized I’d left my “to go” box on the table. Bummer!