Of course, for many customers the real news here is the beer. Forty taps is a wow, and they cover an outstanding selection of American craft brews, from half-wheat ales to barley wines, plus a few of the Belgian-style ales from the Publick House up the street. Brooklyn Brown Ale ($5.50) was rich and full despite having only five percent alcohol, and it had a clean aftertaste. I’ve always enjoyed the malt flavors of this brewery’s products.
There are about eight wines to choose from. The best looking was 2007 Cline “Ancient Vines” zinfandel ($8/glass; $24/bottle); the bottle price was very fair. Too much wine was served in too small a glass, though the red bramble fruit and a bit of oak come right through on the palate. I don’t know of a foolproof wine match for real barbecue, but this is a swell swill with fried ribs.
The room, which was formerly a Vinny T’s, is so large that a few tables are out of server sightlines, but all my orders came out fast and accurately. The oddities are mostly systemic: no takeout (but doggy boxes are available), no desserts, food served when ready (so some appetizers follow entrées). If your plan is just to sample some beers with food as an accompaniment, that will work out well enough.
Atmosphere is rather minimal. There was a long wait and lots of anticipation for this restaurant, but apparently the delay was about the licensing, while the internal work was mostly about removing vestiges of Italian-ness. Big pieces of wood trim are the only real décor, besides lots of television sets and blackboards with beer specials. The outside has the steak-house-Sandinista colors (red and black) and gloomy rows of picnic tables waiting for next spring.
Robert Nadeau can be reached at RobtNadeau@aol.com.