It used to be that when a restaurant opened it would have a grace period to find its groove and traditional reviewers would wait until things had settled to render a verdict. Now that we're all reviewers, firing off images of dishes to Instagram and chiming in on the glut of industry blogs, that's no longer the case. Complicating things for the Tip Tap Room, which opened last month, is that the establishment has been so busy from the jump that it's had to work out its issues on the fly. Nobody even had time to put together a cocktail list. I might quibble with that oversight, but when the beer (36 taps, 100 total) and whiskey list is so extensive, who wants a cocktail anyway?
There are reasons for the rush at this, the second reclamation project from chef Brian Poe, who previously turned the Rattlesnake from a bro-y slop hole into a surprisingly decent place to eat. For starters, the Beacon Hill/Government Center neighborhood is a wasteland of quality, so neighbors are starved for something new.
"I do enjoy all the neighbors as far as the restaurants are concerned," Poe says. "But I think there's a need for, not high-end, but ... good food. That's what we're trying to do."
Poe is, in fact, doing interesting things with dishes that might get lesser attention elsewhere, like a potato, bacon and fried oyster appetizer finished with beer cheese sauce and picked Serano pico, to name one beer-soaking bar snack. It's the type of food, largely focused on "tips" of swordfish, steak, chicken, lamb and specials like an ostrich dish, that's priced for a young, drinking-minding crowd.
What does it all mean? Who cares?
Inside Tip Tap, the open space is bright (a little too much) and boisterous (ditto), with large garage doors that open onto the busy Cam-bridge street. The good news is, the young crowd is availing themselves of the wide selection of quality brews, like the super bitter Green Flash IPA or the malty Bel-gium-brewed Scotch Silly ale. Whiskeys and tequilas are well-represented as well. I tried a Breaking and Entering bourbon from Califor-nia’s St. George Spirits, which starts out hot, but mellows into a warm cara-mel, and Rhode Island’s Uprising Whiskey, distilled by a friend of Poe’s, that almost drinks like a spicy tequila. This isn’t a sophisticated chin-stroking bar where you’ll have much room to contemplate the “meaning” of your drinks, but it’s not supposed to be.
If you go
The Tip Tap Room
138 Cambridge St., Boston
Metro does not endorse the opinions of the author, or any opinions expressed on its pages.