Kirkland Tap & Trotter has been on my list of new places to try for the past year. I’ve been meaning to go to but haven’t had a chance to stop in until now. This new American style restaurant is supposed to be a more casual version of Craigie on Main, with an emphasis on simple, perfect food that you can eat daily.
It’s loud, with a lively bar scene, people chatting and knocking back drinks while they play fun, funky classic music in the background. They have a decent sized bar area with a fair amount of standing room.
The decor is really great. The restaurant feels casual, with open brick and beams, mismatched chairs, vintage signs and specials written on chalkboards. There are no table cloths, and the barstools are simple. There’s an open kitchen, which looks out onto the bar area and dining room. There’s a communal table with views of the kitchen and vice versa. You can come here for a drink and some bar snacks and be satisfied, or you can come with a group of friends, and gorge like kings.
The second room is much quieter and an ideal place if you want to chat with your dining companions and hear them well.
Kirkland has a strong bar program. They also have a secret underground beer list, which is full of hard to source beers. I’ve personally got my eye on the Cantillion lambic as a must try for next time.The wine selection is excellent and manageable. The beer selection is dominated by smaller craft breweries, which I think is wonderful. They have about 8-10 beers on draft and a much larger number of bottles. Their cocktail list focuses on lesser used liqueurs, with most or all of their drinks being creative originals. The bartenders and servers are all knowledgeable about the drink list and can point you in the right direction if you aren’t sure what to drink.
Beer Battered Softshell Crab pickled ramp tartar sauce $16
I won’t deny that I am a softshell crab fiend. Since they’re in season now, there’s no reason not to get this appetizer given the fact it turned out to be very delicious. The beer batter crust has a nice crunch and is not too heavy. The crab isn’t very big but it is freshly made.
Green Chile Chicken Wings cotija cheese, cilantro, pepitas $14
These chicken wings are like a Mexican version of Parmesan garlic wings with a healthy kick from the green chile. They can be messy but they are worth every sloppy tender bite.
Burger and Beer Special $16
Grass-fed Cheeseburger kimchee Russian dressing, emmantaler (beer not pictured)
We originally got the KT&T email newsletter announcing their new burger and beer special would start on Sunday, June 22nd. The special was what drew us in to come check it out. That and watching the World Cup of course. You don’t get to pick your beer however, it’s already chosen ahead of time. This Sunday, it was High and Mighty’s Beer O Gods.
The burger is made of grass-fed beef. It has an earthy, mild funk to it that tastes completely unique and pleasing. The seasoning is just right and the loosely packed texture of the patty makes it succulent and tender. The kimchee Russian dressing didn’t have much kimchee flavor but had plenty of Russian dressing taste instead. The Emmanthaler cheese is tasty and lightly melted. The house-made pickles and mace ketchup are pretty much successful Craigie copycats along the way. The burger at Kirkland similar in many ways, yet identical in others to Craigie on Main’s version. Best part is no reservation is required and no fighting for a bar seat just to have one of the 18 available for the evening!
Sirloin Tip Brochette grilled avocado $32
This was delicious. The warm grilled rich avocado went well with the cilantro salsa verde and grilled medium rare beef. My dining companion wanted to eat my half too but couldn’t. The only issue we could have with this entree is that the portion size was much more like a much more like a generous appetizer than main.
The service in the bar was good even though it was slow at times due to playing the World Cup USA vs Portugal match. Once we were seated in the second room to officially start dining and the game was over, service was great. Our server was peppy and yet casually friendly without being too over the top.
If we lived in the area, we definitely would be frequenting Kirkland Tap & Trotter several times a month. That’s how much we enjoyed our meal. We can’t wait to come back and explore more of the menu, come back for more specials, like $2 grilled oyster night, or try brunch here in the future.
Kirkland Tap & Trotter
425 Washington Street