When you gaze upon the brick exterior of Taproom No. 307, little separates it from the similarly structured after-work watering holes that populate Midtown Manhattan. Those places you’d meet up with colleagues to commiserate about angry clients over lukewarm nachos and bottled beer specials.
Except, Taproom No. 307 is NOT just another generic post-paycheck pub.
Thanks to Executive Chef Anup Patwal’s dynamite menu and a curated tap rotation selected by Beer Cicerone Anne Becerra, Taproom No. 307 wants to be better than the norm. For proof, look no further than Sommelier Rodrigo Escobal – what other generically named Irish dive has a Sommelier? Moral of the story is that there’s nothing “average” about the culinary experience at Taproom No. 307. In fact, it’s exactly what New Yorkers need around 23rd and 3rd.
After walking in, the first thing that grabbed my attention was a wood-burning oven located in the back-left corner. Other restaurants try to fool customers with convection oven flatbreads and doughy creations, but Taproom No. 307 showcases their goods front-and-center. A brightly-lit sign attracts eyes to the signature equipment, with a slogan underneath reading “No Crap On Tap” – a fitting boast confirmed by carefully curated tastes.
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The food at Taproom No. 307 can best be described as “comfort with a kick.” Depending on when you visit (Lunch Menu/Brunch Menu/Dinner Menu), Chef Anup puts a focus on relatable dishes with funky-fresh flavors. Why get french fries when you can get Yucca fries? Grilled chicken makes for a light lunch – but Stout Lime hinted grilled chicken sounds like something your tummy would appreciate more. Or why not try a mashup between Caribbean and Southern, for Chef Anup’s border-defying Shrimp ‘N Grits flavored and topped with charred lime? You should. That’s not a suggestion. Slop it in a trough and eat it for days.
A few small sidewalk tables provide outdoor seating, but once the wall-length front windows swing open, there’s nothing uninviting about this long, open bar/restaurant. More private booths line the outer wall, while communal tables run up the middle. This is prime “bring a group” spacing with more than a “$20 Bucket Of Buds” deal to entice hustling businessmen and college kids alike. Taproom No. 307 aims to elevate the social hour experience, and is accomplishing their goal through creativity, showmanship and a whole lot of grit(s).
To get a little more in-depth, here’s the food we dug into:
Shrimp N’ Grits (cheesy grits, topped with scallions and charred lime): This stuff is so good it’ll make you wanna slap your mamma. She might flinch, but then she’d try this creamy, still properly textured bowl of grits and immediately forgive you. Loaded with gooey cheesiness, one bite of these grits is enough to get any down-home foodie excited, only to be stricken by the freshness of lime that washes away any starchiness. Come for the brunch, get the grits and go home happy.
Boozy French Toast (classic french toast served with ale caramel): While Challah french toast may be all the rage, Chef Anup has no trouble turning thick-cut white bread into a dynamite dish with his signature ale and caramel sauce. It’s not syrup. Instead, it’s more a thick, creamy, decadent covering that soaks into the firm french toast. Just be sure to ration your fresh berries so each bite isn’t an overload of sugary sweetness.
Smokehouse Burger (1/2lb black angus beef, served with bacon, BBQ pulled pork, fried onion rings): This is the kind of burger you know you shouldn’t have. Each bite scolds your will-power with a combination of angus and pulled pork…but it hurts so good. Like, “thick-cut bacon, slathered pulled pork, and juicy burger on the same bun” good. Can’t decide if you want BBQ or a burger? F$*k it bro, have both. Just go super hard at the gym after.
Brunch Burger (1/2lb black angus beef, served with caramelized onions, bacon, cheese topped with a fried egg): Or maybe you’re here for brunch? In that case, there’s nothing more foodgasmic than watching meat juice and runny egg yolk combine to create an artery-clogging sauce. Again, you should be ashamed of yourself for eating this. Toasty bun, soft caramelized onions, fried egg – each ingredient is like an added kiss from the burger Gods.
Creamy Philly Pancakes (cream cheese pancakes served with fresh berries and lavender maple syrup): Please see the gif. below for my immediate reaction to these warm little cloud-like discs:
Steak And Eggs Flatbread (served with parmesan cream sauce and truffle oil): I’ve had flatbreads that feature chewy, overcooked steak before. This isn’t one of them. The flatbread comes out crisp, yet the steak is still chopped up nicely into bite-sized squares that remain pleasantly tender. Peppers for taste, a parmesan kick, plus a fried egg topper? Worth it.
Again, this is belly-bustin’ comfort food. You’re not coming to Taproom No. 307 to cut back on calories. You’re walking in here after a rough day or a long week, ordering up something tasty and pairing it with an astutely-selected barley pop. This is the kind of food that’s worth an extra gym day, primed to wash away your pain through culinary indulgence. And for added incentive, there’s a Beer Rewards program that encourages multiple trips to this friendly neighborhood eatery – as if you needed another reason? Beer pizza dough, Happy Hour deals, and stick-to-your bones dishes. If only every cross-street pub strived for this kind of quality…
Photos by Liz Swezey.