SOMERVILLE, NEW JERSEY
An exquisite upscale cocktail lounge with gourmet food and well-selected craft beer perfectly described as a “cozy hideaway,” TAPASTRE is centrally located on the corner of historic High Street alongside old Victorian properties and a pristine white-marbled courthouse.
A quaint patio with six umbrella-shaded metal tables and chairs welcomes patron to the dungeon-like low ceiling basement pub. A wraparound S-shaped granite-topped 15-seat bar features lots of shelved liquor and 22 draught taps as well as two TV’s and blackboard beer menu. Small pendant lighting lines the bar while beige embossed ceiling tiles cover the back dining space and several right side booths and tables add further refined elegance.
Upstairs, Project Pub pairs food such as ostrich burgers, ahi tuna, duck leg, schnitzel and chicken wings with featured brewery’s ales. Tonight, nearby Lone Eagle Brewing offers several choice beverages.
During my two-hour stay with wife in tow, I consumed Long Island duck confit and Cajun crabcakes with hummus while quaffing wide-ranging stylistic fare such as Alementary Kalamansi Gose, Nickel Brook Uber Peach Raspberry Beliner Weiss, Allagash Farm To Face Sour Ale, Flounder Sourlands Wheat, Cigar City Good Gourd, Icarus Sunwalker Smoked Pilsner, Icarus Lil Yacht Juice NE IPA, Sloop Liquid Sorcery NE IPA, Cricket Hill Comet Cloud Red IPA and red wine-barreled Brotherton Earthbound Saison (all reviewed in Beer Index).
On tap at Growler & Gill, luscious 30th Anniversary dessert treat circa 2018. Bold oak-chipped stout enriches syrupy black chocolate malting with tart red cherry bluster. Subtle wood-charred hop bittering underscores viscous mocha cherry beauty. Black Forest cake, creamed coffee, bruised cherry, dark cocoa, chocolate truffle and raspberry puree illusions fill out the busy full body.
Gently creamed sweet ‘n sour cold-pressed coffee roast gains soy-sauced brining over barley-flaked dark chocolate malting. Sharp hop roast loudens black coffee scheme and latent anise wisps waver.
Voluptuously frothed toffee-fudged black chocolate syruping picks up molasses-soaked bourbon goodness for creamy sweet stout. In the midst, mocha-smoked soy sauce and medicinal cherry coughdrop astringency battle back sugary dessert richness.
Fudgy cocoa-powdered brown chocolate creaming stays fluffy above molasses oatmeal spine as dry earthen peat scrum, latent nutty remnant and slight vanilla tease help anchor medium-full-bodied mocha breakfast stout.
“Sinfully delicious” bourbon barrel-aged stout goes thru significant transformation. Clean-watered bourbon spicing and dry burgundy undertones gain sour dried fruit respite to reinforce creamy cocoa bean resilience, rich vanilla bean bittering and bruised black cherry resolve. The result is a bourbon-dried Black Forest Cake for robust thirsts.
Rich peanut-buttered dark chocolate template receives Cocoa Puffs, black coffee, molasses bread and seared walnut illusions reinforced by moderate hop char. Not unlike a liquid Reece’s Pieces candy bar, though its fluffy carbolic frisk thins out some of its peanut butter resonance. Competition for admirable peanut-buttered porter, Duclaw’s Sweet Baby Jesus!
Judicious “chocolate-infused oatmeal stout” gravitates towards rich toffee-fudged chocolate milkshake. Dark chocolate, cocoa nibs and coffee creaminess gains sweet caramelized vanilla aspect over sugary maple oats. Reminiscent of Milk Duds candy.
Creamily rich English-styled oatmeal stout lets assertive milked coffee frontage gain dark cocoa pleasantry above maple molasses oats. Dark-roast coffee ground prominence subsides midway, leaving mellower java-related cappuccino, espresso and caramel latte tones to dovetail sedate hop-charred bittering.
Lightly creamed “full-bodied foreign export stout” lets milk-sugared coffee roast grapple molasses-sapped black chocolate and dark cocoa richness. Woody earthen hop char sinks below dry mocha permanence.
On tap at Growler & Gill, demure nitogenated Irish stout brings mildly creamed dark-roast chocolate and nutty coffee tones to the fore in soft-tongued manner. Black cherry smidge seamlessly enjoins dark mocha template alongside ancillary espresso, dark cocoa and tarry Blackstrap molasses illusions.
On tap at Triton – Long Beach Island, milky dark chocolate syrup rides above cocoa nibs, vanilla and walnut illusions while mild hop char provides underscored bitterness. Crisply clean mineral water flow lightens the blackened mocha finish.