East End Tap & Table
You know that restaurant you just love to go to time and again because they have that one thing you just adore? Whether it's a wizard bartender that's able to whip you up the perfect cocktail without even telling them what you like, a cozy ambience that feels just right, a super convenient location, or a dessert that you only order when you go to that particular place because it blows everything else out of the water, you're able to overlook some of the less stellar aspects of the restaurant because that one thing is enough to keep you coming back. Well, at East End Tap and Table you will not have to overlook any negative aspects because everything, and we mean everything, is perfection from start to finish.
Understanding that this post-pandemic world we are living in is fraught with employee shortages and supply chain blockages, we have certainly lowered our expectations when dining out, and our mantra is "just go with the flow and show that good ole Kentucky Kindess". After all, we are just so dang thankful to be out and about again! Poor service or so-so food is nothing to get all worked up over. So when it came time to take our interns out for a celebratory dinner, we chose a restaurant we had never tried before, East End Tap and Table, and little did we know, but we were in for a real treat!
Let's first brag on the warm and friendly service. The wait staff at East End all are outgoing and knowledgeable. We enjoyed talking with the bartender as we waited on our table. We had arrived 30 minutes before our reservation just so we could have a seat at the bar and chat a bit. Reservations are recommended on busy nights as it is a relatively small space, and I was able to secure one through Yelp. Promptly at six, we were escorted to our table where we were greeted by Tylyn, server extraordinaire. Upon learning we were first-time guests, she quickly ran through what makes their East End Tap and Table so special: farm-to-table ingredients, fresh seafood, house-made dressings and sauces. Throughout the meal, Tylyn made sure to give us her recommendations, keep our water glasses filled, clear plates away, and she kept smiling the whole time. It is obvious this girl loves her job! She's been there from the start of the restaurant, so you know it has to be a good place to work.
The food is another aspect of our dining experience that didn't disappoint. Their website says they serve scratch, classic American fare with an international twist, and we solidly agree. For appetizers we went with their crispy rice with spicy tuna, the Thai spring rolls, Buffalo chicken wontons, and East End spicy hummus. All of these apps were beautifully presented and tasted divine! Our entrees included a massive spicy chicken sandwich, crispy kale and Brussels with shrimp tossed with a sweet and spicy Thai vinagrette, Thai glazed salmon, and an Asian bowl. I spied the East End burger being eaten by another patron and I can only imagine that it tasted as good as it looked. It was massive! The food was all delicious. Not one person had anything negative to say about their food, and there was enough for us to take home for lunch the next day. All you meat and potato lovers, don't worry! They have a 12 oz New York strip that's grilled and topped with miso butter sazon potatoes. You will love it! But wait, they saved the best for last. For dessert we ordered the fried bananas and the coffee and donuts bread pudding. If you follow us, you know that I am a massive fan of bread pudding, but I'm very selective! In past blogs I've written about my love of Keeneland's bread pudding and Carson's bread pudding. In my humble opinion, they're the best. Having had the one at East End Tap and Table, however, I'm inclined to add theirs to my short list of favorite bread puddings. Maybe it's the fact theirs is made out of doughnuts that elevates it or serving it with ice cream made with a much higher milk fat that sends my taste buds soaring. I dunno! What I do know is it's delicious and I will be back for more.
Now let's talk about the ambience and decor, because those play in to the whole dining experience as well. If the food is good, but you're sitting in uncomfortable chairs in a sterile environment and it's so loud you can't hear yourself think, it's not going to be as enjoyable. The owners at East End Tap and Table have outfitted the space at 333 East Main Street, which is an industrial building, with warm wood tones, dark tin ceilings, beautiful starburst light fixtures and bright pops of color in art pieces commissioned by a local artist. The space is serene and simple. Outside there are tables with umbrellas alongside planters with greenery and the gorgeous hanging baskets that line the downtown sidewalks in the summer. I also have to give a shoutout to the bathrooms. I loved the unique wallpaper in the ladies room, although it was a bit unnerving having all of those eyes on me. It's a visually interesting space and that's something that can be lacking in some establishments.
All in all, we feel that East End Tap and Table is a cut above the rest. We will be recommending this place to anyone and everyone, but if they ask us to name our favorite thing, we're going to be hard-pressed because it's all fantastic! Try it out and see for yourselves!
Here are some important details to remember:
- Parking can be on the street or in the Main + Rose Parking Garage that's just past the restaurant
- Reservations are encouraged and can be made through Yelp or their website
- You can order online and pick up
- They have a kids menu
- Extensive beer list (makes sense since they're a tap house)
- Serving brunch on Sat & Sun 11-4
- Closed on Mon and Tues (everyone needs a break)
- They're hiring!