On a wintry Friday night, I’m typically quite content to be snuggled up on my couch with carry-out and reruns of Anthony Bourdain’s, No Reservations. This Friday I left my slippers at home to try out Mercadito Group’s newest concept, Tippling Hall. Packed to the gills of both groups of eaters and drinkers, this new late-night (till 4:00am) bar and restaurant welcomes you in with a ceiling full of flasks and mouth-watering smells. The restaurant is split into two different rooms separated by the entry-way; at 8:30pm dining was happening on both sides and the bar was standing room only.
Tippling Hall’s menu consists of nine sections: bites, starters, flatbreads, salads, sandwiches, potatoes, big things, side things, and desserts. While Taste Tester #1 and I only had the stomach space to try out five of the sections I was impressed that each of the dishes were not only tasty, but presented beautifully as well. Sometimes when a restaurant has such a large menu with a range of several different ethnic items, I worry that it’s impossible to give each item the attention it deserves. Tippling Hall was able to demonstrate that with the right team, a big menu can indeed be successful.
We started off with a few samples of the on-tap cocktails and both settled on the smoky mescal-based Misty in the Mountains: del maguey vida mescal, pineapple, beets (in a chip form), ginger, and honey. The New York based Tippling Brothers, Paul Tanguay and Tad Carducci created a 23-page drinking booklet listing craft, import and domestic beers, wines and ciders, sake, “Sloshies”, Bloody Mary’s and more.
Bacon-wrapped dates stuffed with manchego cheese and a smoky mustard chili sauce was the first thing to arrive at our cozy corner table. I’m a sucker for the combination of sweet and salty and I’m rarely unsatisfied with any presentation of bacon-wrapped dates. These little guys were no exception and I loved the depth of flavor that the smoky mustard chili sauce lent the dish. The dish was served with four bites and would be good for tables of two or four; any more people and you’ll definitely want to get two orders.
Next to arrive was an order of the spicy mussels with Spanish chorizo and diablo sauce. Not for the faint of heart, these mussels definitely had a kick but if you’re a fan of spicy dishes I’d highly recommend them. Soft bread accompanied the dish and was great for soaking up the extra sauce. The mussels were a pretty large portion and were great for sharing but also would make a nice-sized entrée.
Lamb meatballs with spicy cucumber raita and house giardiniera were a delicious lighter option I could see myself ordering if I was trying to stay on the healthier-side of bar food. The lamb meatballs were nicely spiced and I loved the added crunch of the vegetables in the cucumber raita..
Next came one of TT #1’s favorite fall comfort foods, chicken pot pie with root vegetables and a puffy buttery crust. One of my favorite things about this dish was that the chicken inside the pie was shredded instead of cut into little chunks. Texturally the dish was very pleasing and because of the big soufflé-like crust you were able to get a little bit of it in every bite. One of Tippling Hall’s more decadent big dish offerings, it would be great to share or spoil yourself by getting it on your own.
Our last savory dish was the big-boned (literally) roasted beef short rib with a creamy garlic-potato puree and mushroom sauce. Braised for over eight hours, the beef short rib arrives on a Flintstones-style bone and the meat falls off with a small touch of the fork. I’m not usually a huge mushroom fan, but I really loved the earthiness of the sauce in combination with the short rib meat and potato puree. Because the dish had been cooked perfectly, the fat slowly melted into the meat giving it deliciously rich flavor and tenderness. This dish would be great for a table to share, (we saw a group of girls order this dish for their table), because as scrumptious as it was we had no hope of finishing it on our own.
Although full to the brim, we were able to find a small part of our stomachs left for a bite or two of one of my favorite desserts, the infamous skillet cookie. This adult chocolate chip cookie topped with vanilla-rum ice cream and bacon brittle really hit the spot. The best part was that even though we couldn’t finish it, the restaurant wrapped it up to go so we could spend more time with it the rest of the weekend.
Tippling Hall delivered on food, drinks (definitely try the cocktails on tap), and atmosphere. There are very few concepts that can do food and drinks equally well in the same space and I’d say Tippling Hall proved it can be done. I can see myself coming back to grab a few cocktails for happy hour with my girlfriends, or coming for another date; there are many more cocktails and menu items I want to try!
*Although my meal at Tippling Hall was complimentary, all opinions are my own
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