Full disclosure. I used to be a Tap 42 Fort Lauderdale regular. My best friend worked there, it was around the corner from my house, it was the hottest place in town to be, and I pretty much lived off of their Crispy Asian Calamari. And then, my ex started working there. F.M.L.
So when I heard that they were opening up Tap 42 Boca, I was relieved that I could have my spot back, especially considering that this was around the same time that I had made the move up to Delray Beach. I was invited in this past fall along with Shaina from Take A Bite Out Of Boca to explore their pescatarian options, and just like Christopher Columbus, we found plenty worth staking our claim on.
Of course you can’t go to TAP (that’s what the cool kids call it, and I guess the uncool kids too since I’m using it) without getting something from the tap, so since it was full swing into White Girl Season (aka Pumpkin Spice Everything Season), we both went for the Isle of Magourdo from Due South Brewing, a pumpkin spice beer prepared my favorite way: with a cinnamon sugar rim. I’d be lying if I said that my pint glass wasn’t refilled a few times, but hey,what food bloggers don’t get paid in cash, we make up for in alcoholic beverages. Yes, the brew was very good.
When it came time for appetizers, I obviously needed to be reunited with my Crispy Asian Calamari, and after seeing the picture, you can probably tell why. Yes, it tastes JUST as good as it looks – if not better! The calamari is served on top of Asian slaw with a sesame ginger aioli, topped with scallions and served with a side of sweet & sour sauce. I love how, unlike traditional calamari, each piece is cut into a strip (that heavily resembles a FRENCH FRY), and the shape really lends to it being a thicker, but more tender piece of calamari. This is a great plate to share, and yes, truthfully I did finish it solo back in the day.
I don’t have to tell you that Tap KILLS it on the presentation! Like, if the description of the Spicy Tuna Tartare wasn’t enough to get me drooling (Hand Cut Ahi Tuna with avocado, cucumber, cilantro, and spicy mayo served with Malanga chips), the arrival of the dish did. For me, tuna tartare can easily be bland, and it’s a dish that most places have on their menu, so I was very happy to see Tap doing it right and spicing things up. The chips were light, almost like a less sweet version of a plantain, and allowed the taste of the tuna with it’s dressing to be featured. Another perfect sharing plate!
Another favorite dish of mine from back in the day is the Golden Quinoa Superfood Salad, because it packs SO MUCH into one plate: mixed greens, brussels sprouts, mandarin oranges, green apple, feta, cranberries, and almonds, all topped with a citrus vinaigrette – truly a bowl packed with energizing goodness and flavor! We choose to top ours with a blackened piece of mahi, and other options are grilled chicken, grilled salmon and grilled filet mignon. Having worked at a cajun style restaurant before, I blacken anything when I get a chance to, and especially with a mild fish like mahi, it really allows the spice to pop. The fish was cooked perfectly, and I may have even felt a little healthy eating this dish.
Which is why it was time to get my ZEN on with the Grilled Salmon Zen Bowl! This was a first time trying this dish for me, and it was surely another win – I was really digging all the Asian flavors this meal had to offer. Pan fried brown rice, green veggie stir-fry, truffle miso glaze and toasted sesame – another great way to be healthy while still getting delicious flavor – maybe even more delicious than something unhealthy (OMG, who am I becoming??)
And of course, what would a great meal be without excellent sides?? The Roasted Brussels Sprouts are a favorite of mine and are mixed with the flavors of maple, mustard AND thyme, an interesting combination that makes these Brussels sprouts stand out amongst all the basic Brussels found on many other menus. Sweet but savory, crispy and glazed on the outside, these Brussels sprouts are the Beyonce of Brussels sprouts – fierce.
And obviously, I wouldn’t be doing my job without reporting on the state of the french fries at every establishment. I’m no stranger to the Parmesan & Herbs Fries at Tap 42, and I’m happy to report that these bites of heaven have remained blissfully indulgent – a must for fry lovers. Dusted with parmesan and cooked to perfection – mushy on the inside, crisp on the outside, there’s no way you won’t finish these off.
If you’re not already licking your screen, maybe it’s because you’ve already driven to the Tap 42 closest to you (besides Fort Lauderdale and Boca, they also have locations in Coral Gables and are coming soon to Midtown). Or maybe you just need a tad more convincing. I didn’t, but then I was served the BEST bread pudding I have EVER eaten IN. MY. LIFE. The Chocolate Chunk Bread Pudding combines the flavors of salted caramel, dark chocolate and cinnamon, and is topped with a vanilla bean ice cream that sexily oozes its way down the bread pudding to make a delicious puddle of sweetness underneath. The bread pudding was warm, and soft but not overly mushy. The ice cream topped with caramel made the perfect accompaniment and the melty chocolate at the base of the bread pudding tasted like Willy Wonka himself had blessed it. I like dessert, and occasionally I will love a dessert, but rarely do I RAVE about a dessert. Well you may as well go grab your glow sticks and pop some Molly, because this bread pudding made me RAVE ON. I will never go to Tap 42 without ordering this again – it was that good.
I may even brave seeing my ex at the FTL location for it. You win, Tap 42.
***I received complimentary noms in exchange for this post, however, you cannot bribe me with food, so all opinions are my own.