Centre Street Tap House
It usually doesn’t take us long to find our way to new beer focused restaurants when they open in the Kalamazoo area, but I’m a little ashamed to admit, it took us a while with Millennium Restaurant Group’s newest venture.
J and I have been fans of Central City Tap House from the day it opened. Literally. We stopped in for dinner on Day 1 of that restaurant. In addition, we’ve been fans of all of Millennium’s offerings, so when we started seeing plans for a new tap house in Portage, we were very excited.
Centre Street Tap House opened it’s doors on Centre Street not too far from US-131 just a few months ago. J and I have been itching to to check the place out, but again, we weren’t sure how bringing a toddler in would be received. The way we remember Central City Tap House from our visits before L was born, we weren’t really sure it was appropriate.
J and L take a music class downtown at the Epic Center and last week, one of the other moms in the class asked J if she wanted to take the girls out to dinner after class. The suggested restaurant was Central City Tap House and after that visit, J had a much better feeling about taking L to the sister restaurant in Portage.
We walked in to Centre Street Tap House right around noon on Saturday. J’s parents were in town to celebrate Christmas with us. I had to work in the afternoon, but I had plenty of time to head out and enjoy a lunch with the in-laws.
Most of the tables in the restaurant are pub style tables, but they do have a limited number of lower four tops. The hostess was going to put us at one of those, but J said a booth would be ok even if it was a higher pub table.
The hostess took us to a booth pub table in the back corner of the restaurant. It is kind of an odd table that seems a little shoved in there. There was a booth that wrapped around the table and one chair at the entrance to the booth. There was not a whole lot of room to maneuver especially when I was juggling L and her new “Sully” doll.
After getting everyone situated, our waiter came over to get drink orders. We all went for alcoholic drinks. J started off the order with a cider. At first, she only noticed the Woodchuck Cider, but both the waiter and I pointed out the Vander Mill Totally Roasted. This cider, out of Spring Lake, MI, is a semi-sweet offering with steeped with candied pecans. J finished off the glass, but never actually said if she liked it better than what she usually drinks.
I ordered the Tapistry Brewing offering on the Firkin…Hoponacci w/Palisade. A fellow beer lover, who happened to be there at the same time us as, called this summed this offering up perfectly. “Dry. Bitter. Good.” I agree.
My mother-in-law stuck to what she knows and likes. She ordered a Bell’s Amber while my father-in-law stuck to the big brewers and got a couple Miller Lites.
Once we all had drinks, it was time to order lunch. I was actually going back and forth between a few of the burgers, but eventually settled on the Tap House Bleu Burger. This delicious offering is a prime steak burger with Maytag Bleu Cheese, a spring lettuce mix, tomato and onion on a pretzel bun. I added a couple slices of bacon to the sandwich to just round out that juicy, tangy mix that was already present with a little bit of salty crunch. I am so flip-floppy on pretzel buns. With this sandwich, the stiff, hearty bun really worked well because the burger was so juicy. I really liked the choice. A lot of times, I don’t, but this time….it worked.
I also opted to upgrade my side order to the truffle fries. These are a little different than what I remember from Central City Tap House. The thin, fresh cut fries have that perfect crunchy outside yet soft inside to them. They’re topped off with truffle oil, Parmesan and herbs which really makes these some of the best fries in Kalamazoo….(not McDonalds readers of the Kalamazoo Gazette).
J’s order was the Tap House Mac & Cheese. This large bowl of pasta is not the typical yellow mac & cheese. They use Swiss, white cheddar, smoked Gouda, and Parmesan. It then has a crunchy brioche crumb top. I only got a few bites of this one, but it was really good. J was trying to get L to eat some and she wasn’t having it, so I gladly took a little off her plate. J said she enjoyed it and really liked the crunchy bread crumb topping.
We attempted to get L to eat the grilled cheese off the Kids’ Menu, but all she was really interested in was the French Fries. It’s too bad because the grilled cheese was actually tasty. The grilled cheese is a panini with white cheddar. As I already mentioned, it’s served with fries, which L loved, and a cup of Jell-O.
Both of J’s parents ordered the Mahi Tacos. The three soft corn tortillas come filled with Mahi Mahi, red cabbage slaw, avocado crema, and pico de gallo. It’s served with tortilla chips on the side. My father-in-laws plate was actually brought out a few minutes after everyone else’s. The kitchen screwed something up and they caught it before the plate went out, so it was remade and a manager brought it over and apologized. It was only a few minutes late, so not a huge deal, but a nice gesture anyway.
Both of them said the tacos were good, but they seemed to be missing something. MIL mentioned there was just something missing in the avocado crema that, if there, would have made the tacos just a little bit better.
Our bill was a little over $70 and most of that was paid for with a gift card that J got from a co-worker several months ago. The odd part about paying our bill was the waiter never came back to say we were good. To make up the difference between the bill and the gift card, my in-laws paid with cash and included the tip, so we didn’t have to sign anything, but he never came back to say the card went through and we were all good. Once he went to his next table, we figured we were good and got up to leave. At that point, he came over and thanked us for stopping in, so I guess the gift card went through all right.
Centre Street Tap House is another great restaurant from the people who already have several great restaurants in the Kalamazoo Metro. So happy we finally made it in for lunch. They have a great, ever-changing tap list and solid food