Local brews are a bonus at restaurant with worthy food

I’d never been to Little Tap House on High St., but it seemed like it was about time. It had been open since 2013 and I needed to eat, so it was as good a place as any. We headed there for a rare Monday outing to get some food and maybe a drink too if the mood was right. The place was moderately busy, but pretty much what I would expect on an early week night.

We sat down and started looking for a drink. The waitress provided a number of specials and then left so we could figure out exactly what we wanted. I took a look at cocktails and wine, but I was particularly enthusiastic about the local beer selection. There were 14 options – one of which was from New Hampshire – from a variety of some of my favorite brewers. Mrs. Portlandeater decided on a rosé and I took a $5 special of the 10 oz. Burnside brown ale from Foundation paired with a snack of cheesy potatoes.

The drinks came out lickety-split. The Burnside was an excellent, flavorful brown and paired well with the spuds which were simple and salty with Swiss cheese covering them. I quite enjoyed the buggers, finding them to be a decent start to the meal. As I worked those, we both tried to figure out what else to order. I immediately spied Tennessee Eggs – soft-boiled, whiskey bacon jam, aioli, garlic crumble – from the Shares section of the menu and thought that might pair well with double cheddar Mac n Cheese.

She was considering salmon, but ended on Fish and Chips – beer tempura, haddock, fries, tartar, local pickle. At her suggestion, I made the switch from eggs and mac to the French Onion Soup – crostini, Swiss – and Tap House Burger with Cooper Sharp – ground in-house beef, grilled bun, aioli, greens, pickled onion, tomato tapenade, fries. It was a simple order, but sounded good to me at that moment.

While we were waiting for our food, we received a complimentary item from the kitchen. Each of us was given a spoon with goat cheese, honey, and sea salt on it. A unique combination which was slightly sweet and slightly salty, the lovin’ spoonful kept us engaged in the meal for the short time we were without any of our order in front of us.

My soup came out with its beautiful, cheesy top and a trio of thin crostini. I moved some of the crusty cheese to the side and dipped all three crostini into the soup. They immediately softened and I was ready to dig in. One sip of the soup and I was sold. The salty broth was rife with onion. The softened bread and crispy cheese made a stellar onion soup comparable to some of the better ones I’ve had.

After I finished my soup, I worked very hard to remove all the cheese that stuck to the side of the crock and before long, the rest of our food came out. We both had a sizable pile of fries – hers with two large pieces of fish, and mine with a burger piled high. I could see the greens and cheese sticking out from between the buns. I was ready to eat.

I first tried my fries to make sure they were crispy and they indeed were. They weren’t noteworthy, but still a sufficient side. Then I opened wide to try the burger. I had had a number of cheese choices, but went to the Cooper which is an old favorite and it worked well on the beef. Along with the onions and tapenade, I felt the burger was complete with well placed condiments and thought it a soundly put-together sandwich.

Mid-way through the burger, I started to get very full and realized that the entirety of my order had been salty foods. As such, I was suffering from sodium overload. No single items was overly salty, but the combination had hit me. Unfortunately, with only about two-thirds of my burger down the hatch, I had to call it quits. My wife stopped at about the same time, both of us declaring “no mas”.

Our meal came to just over $70 bucks with tip. I really enjoyed what I ordered. I thought the burger, soup, and taters were all well done. Nothing was particularly unique or over the top, but they were solid standards. Next time, I’ll get a little more adventurous though. Little Tap House has a strong menu with lots of enticing options and I like what they’re doing there. Head there when you want a solid meal, a great selection of Maine beers, or a combination of both.

Stay hungry.

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Peter Blanchette

About Peter Blanchette

Peter Peter Portland Eater grew up in Lewiston, Maine and graduated from the University of Maine in Orono with a degree in English. After college, he left the state to work in Massachusetts, but the allure of a more comfortable life in his home state brought him back after eight years. Upon his return and after meeting his now wife – Mrs. Portlandeater, he slowly integrated himself into the Portland food scene by trying as many restaurants as he could afford. That and a desire to write for others again led him to start Peterpeterportlandeater.com where he reviews restaurants and blogs about whatever Portland/Maine food topics he finds interesting.