Taproom No.307

(New York, NY) — After two straight nights of staying out late, imbibing too many cocktails and inhaling too much good food, our final morning in New York City starts well after the sun comes up. In fact, the prospect of where we’re going for brunch isn’t fully decided until we all convene to see how we’re feeling. Thanks to some Starbucks, all members of our party are up for a final morning adventure so we stroll toward Gramercy Park and Taproom 307...

He Fed:

It’s my birthday weekend. We’ve enjoyed some fine celebratory dinners at Eataly, Birreria, Casa Mono, and several other stops in between. But two things have been missing: brunch and beer.

The doors have just opened. We grab a four-top, admiring how the early morning sunshine glints off the beer-centric decor and dark interior. This is a place I can easily see whiling away a few hours in low, quiet conversation with a drinking buddy, or just staring into space, thinking. With a beer handy, of course.

And what beer! Their motto is “absolutely no crap on tap” and they mean it. If you’re looking for Sam Adams or PBR on the draught list, you might want to head back to the airport bar. This is a playground for beer lovers, two full pages of amazing selections chosen by their in-house beer sommelier. (How do I get that gig?) Although they’re out of the Booby Trap, an IPA brewed with lactose, I’m happy to try the Union Jack IPA, which is pretty standard. After that, it’s the Bronx Black IPA. It’s a deep, dark coffee-kissed hop-flower that goes down surprisingly smooth. I follow up with a tall bottle of The Cowboy, a smoked pilsner that’s big enough to share. Although others get a chloraseptic aftertaste, I’m impressed with the combination.

Our friendly and knowledgeable waitress brings us a sampler of beers to share. She claims it’s for my birthday, to thank us for choosing their bar, but I really think she feels guilty that the Booby Trap tap was empty. We all take sips of Troubadour Magma from Brouwerij The Musketeers (sweet though some nice hop); B.O.R.I.S. The Crusher Oatmeal Imperial Stout from Hoppin’ Frog Brewery (too heavy sweet for me); Backwoods Bastard from Founders Brewing Company (10.2%? Seriously? I hate Scotch ales); Bellegems Bruin from Brouwerij Bockor (a really nice sour Belgian that makes you smack your lips); and Schiehallion from Harviestoun Brewery (surprisingly firm lager that could have been brewed in Germany instead of Scotland).

We all need something to sop up the alcohol and the menu is tailor made for soaking up excess. Their thick-cut beer-battered fried pickles are way better than those we had a couple days prior at Tipsy Parson. Dunked into the chipotle mayo, the lightly salted breading and tart pickle perk up your taste buds. Only, don’t try to wash them down with smoked pilsner. Not good. I also have to order the Biscuits & Gravy Pizza. It’s a hand-tossed thin flatbread, topped with greasy but delicious white sausage gravy and strong cheddar-jack cheese. Holy cow, is that amazing! It’s enough to make me reluctantly agree that brunch might not be so horrible, after all. We also snag some fresh baked orange spice rolls, mini tea cakes smeared with butter and jam.

Taproom 307 turns out to be one of our new favorite places to hang out. The beer selection is mind-boggling and the food just as good. We’ll be back!
She Fed:

Despite Jeremy’s aversion to all things “brunch” we’re headed to a brew pub for a meal that’s not quite breakfast, but not quite lunch. Whatever we want to call it, the sun is shining and the temps are up slightly, making it a great morning for a walk...a walk to brunch!

We’re the only patrons, save for two people at the bar. After a quick scan of the drink menus, we realize they’re each a little different. Some of the beers have been scratched off my copy and Jeremy’s has some beers listed that none of us have on ours. Our waitress confirms that these menus are from last night and as they run out of certain brews on tap, they cross them off the menu. It takes a few minutes, but she gets us straightened out and we make our selections. Our server is adorable and spot-on throughout our meal.

I opt for my usual hard cider, which strikes me as kind of brunch-y if you’re not going for a mimosa or bloody Mary. The Reserve Cider is crisp, tart, and incredibly refreshing. It goes down far too easy and we proceed to lose a couple hours at Taproom 307.

Our foursome opts to share a few plates. After the last three days of debauchery, we should be drinking detox tea and eating salads, but oddly enough, those aren’t on the menu this morning. We order up some Tiger Shrimp Hush Puppies, Beer Battered Pickles, and a Sausage Gravy Pizza. Any focus on health is clearly overshadowed by cravings for the crunch only a deep-fryer can provide.

The hush puppies are generous and lumpy with chunks of shrimp, corn and jalapeno. I still like the ones we had at the Tipsy Parson best, but these are a very close second. The hunks of shrimp are larger than I expect, a pleasant surprise, and I could swear the diced jalapeno is fresh. The chipotle mayo on the side is habit-forming.

That same mayo is served with the pickles, which are pretty much like deep-fried crack. The beer batter is slightly sweet. The dill pickle chips are tangy and a bit sour. Dunked in the spicy mayo, they are divine and I have to stop myself from gobbling up the entire basket.

I had zero interest in the pizza when Jeremy ordered it. Though I like sausage gravy with biscuits on occasion, the idea of a sausage gravy pizza didn’t appeal. Turns out, it’s phenomenal with a hand-tossed crust slathered (though not drowned) in a creamy, peppery sausage gravy, topped with cheddar and baked til golden. It’s quintessential hangover food and makes me very happy. The menu says it’s served with maple syrup, though we later realize the syrup was MIA.

Jeremy decides he wants to try the orange spice rolls, which are sorta like citrus-scented mini cornbread muffins. Warm from the oven, they are the perfect end to a fun and casual breakfast. Who am I kidding, this is brunch, right?

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