Wednesday, January 23, 2013

Inventive Menu, Fails to Produce

Morris Tap & Grill
500 Route 10 West
Randolph, NJ 07869

There is nothing we crave more on a Sunday afternoon during football season than wings and beer. Morris Tap & Grill had been kind enough to be our first "like" on Facebook and is always catching our eye with their tweets about beers on tap, craft beer takeover nights, and pictures of delicious food, so we had to check it out! With both our teams out of the playoffs (still not over it...), we were able to let go of all of our superstitions and watch the games somewhere new and different; Morris Tap & Grill here we come! 

As we sat down in our booth, we began to peruse the vast beer menu. With so many options, picking one to satisfy our palettes would not be easy. To our pleasant surprise, our waiter knew a lot about the beers available, told us about the ones he liked, and was able to help each of us pick one that we would enjoy. It was very refreshing to have a waiter who was versed in something other than reciting what six mainstream beers are on tap. I ordered the Port Brewing Wipe Out IPA and my other half ordered the Captain Lawrence IPA. We had never tried either before and luckily they were both fantastic! Many thanks to our server.

Dying for some wings and knowing how helpful our waiter was with picking our beverages, we decided to ask his opinion about which sauce to order on our wings. We told him we love heat and he suggested the bacon buffalo sauce. He said it had great flavor and heat, as well as a hint of bacon, and honestly, what isn't enticing about bacon? They were moist and the sauce was executed well. Our one criticism is that we prefer non-breaded wings, but that is just a personal preference, and, on returning, we would order these again regardless of our naked wing bias. 
House-made tater tots with BBQ pulled everything about it, how could we resist? They were not exactly what we were expecting. These tater giants were made of sweet potatoes and pieces of pulled pork, then were breaded and fried to give them a nice crunch. This culinary idea lost its way with the filling; the amount of pulled pork was sparse and the sweet potato filling was slightly bland. The BBQ dipping sauce did help the overall flavor of the dish, but unfortunately was not quite enough to save this inventive dish for us. 
The menu was very adventurous and we did not want to order just a simple hamburger because we felt as though it would be disregarding all of the effort that was put into this menu. We happen to love duck, and whenever we see it on a menu, it calls to us. The duck reuben was made with pulled oven-roasted duck, apple-kraut, fontina cheese, and apple chipotle "Russian" dressing. The apple-kraut was a great idea; the sourness of sour kraut with sweet apples mixed in was a nice acidic balance to the duck. The duck was tender, but under seasoned, and the cheese seemed to overpower the entire sandwich. Although the concept for this sandwich made it irresistible for us to order, it fell flat in terms of execution. 
After seeing all of the tantalizing sandwich options, we decided we wanted to split two. The short rib sandwich on brioche with fried onions was the second one that caught our attention. The onions were not a traditional haystack fried onion that comes on most sandwiches, but rather a larger cut onion ring. The short ribs were tender and shredded apart from each other, but again lacked seasoning and overall flavor. The sandwich did not have a sauce or any residual juice from the meat, so it made it a little dry as well. 
Our waiter was exceptional, and the craft beer options were extensive! Looking back on the experience maybe we should have ordered the MTG Baconeater or another traditional American classic, but when offered such intriguing menu options, one is expecting the restaurant to deliver. 

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