I wanted to like Tap 42, really I did. I drove by the place over the summer, made a mental note to check it out as soon as it opened, and then was delightfully optimistic when they started following me on Twitter. They boasted beer, burgers, and bourbon – music to my ears. I was certain that I was going to love this place.
Oh, and the drinks – quite an impressive list, especially for an avid craft beer drinker such as myself. Unfortunately, the drinks menu also provided the framework for the first of many problems we encountered that night. Or, as Connor and I now call it, The Most Awkward Date Ever.
As you recently discovered, Connor and I love bourbon. However, neither of us (especially me), are all that knowledgeable about bourbon, although we are eager to learn. So when we were handed a menu that consisted of a simple list of fifty types of bourbon, we were excited to try something new. However, without descriptions, prices, or any information whatsoever to distinguish the different bourbons, we were clueless and decided it would be in our best interest to ask the server for a recommendation.
That was our first mistake. Not only did the server fail to even point us in the right direction (or at least turn us over to someone who could!), he was rude and dismissive, sarcastically retorting that some are more expensive than others (um, thank you, Captain Obvious?) and that he could just bring us a price list. Well, okay, but that’s not really what we were looking for. On one hand, a price list could help determine the diferences in quality, but we were looking to enjoy the experience and try something new. Instead, we were a little offended, and just chickened out and ordered two whiskey sours.
We then decided that we were in the mood for some good old-fashioned burgers, so we both ordered the Tap 42, medium, with sweet potato fries subbed for regular fries (they give this option on the burger menu). The server nodded, then immediately turned around and went to the next table, as Connor was trying to hand him our menus. Connor then waited for him to be done with the other table, so he could tactfully get his attention and hand him the menus (it should be noted that we were seated at a hightop, and the menus were huge and covered almost the entire table, so it was more than a little awkward to hang on to them). The server then spun around, looked at me, asked me to remind him again what we ordered (um, what?), then spun around again, leaving Connor still holding the menus. We finally got the attention of another server, who seemed confused but thankfully took our menus away.
At this point, I was more than a little disappointed, but Connor took my hand and cheerfully reminded me that we were out to have a good time and enjoy a fun date, something we hadn’t done in close to a month. Unfortunately, the terrible service didn’t end there.
Now I am the first to admit that I’m particular, and I expect good service at a restaurant, but I can overlook a lot of things. For example, I won’t hold it against a server for forgetting to refill my water, neglecting to take away finished glasses, or even if a mistake is made when placing my order. Shit happens, and that’s fine. What I absolutely cannot excuse is rudeness and condescension when mistakes do occur.
As you may have already figured out, our order got screwed up. About 10-15 minutes after we placed our order (during which we drooled over every plate that passed by us, because really, the food looked and smelled amazing!), the kitchen delivered a single burger to me.
Yes, you read that right. I got my burger and sweet potato fries, Connor was ignored and brought nothing. In fact, when I mentioned to the very nice gentleman that we had each ordered a burger, he looked confused, apologized, and said he would check on that right away as the kitchen only had one order come through. Awkward and disappointing, but fine.
A few minutes later (during which Connor and I argued back and forth, me insisting I would wait for him to get his food before eating mine, him insisting that I eat it before it gets cold, me finally compromising by putting my fries in the middle of the table and commanding him to eat some while I ate my burger), our server walked by and asked if we needed anything. I told him Connor was still waiting on his burger, and the server rolled his eyes and, obviously annoyed, told me it would be out in a few minutes in a “whatever” kind of way.
Really dude? You screw up my order, I do nothing more than merely ask for my boyfriend’s food, and you have the audacity to roll your eyes at me? It was obvious from the beginning that he didn’t exactly pride himself on delivering good service, but when you have to ask me to remind you of our order because of your own incompetence, and then screw up said order, that’s on you.
At this point, I felt deflated, and Connor still didn’t have his food. Like I said, if he made a mistake, that’s fine. The place is new, there are some kinks to work out, I get that. We wouldn’t have cared if the server had simply apologized and said he’d take care of it. Instead, the server was insulting and dismissive. He later came back and blamed the kitchen, which I found even more annoying, not to mention immature.
Given the circumstances, we were just happy to finally get our food (although I had finished mine long before Connor got his), but to be frank, my burger was barely medium rare and I couldn’t finish it because it was so raw inside. Also, Connor’s sweet potato fries were missing the special (and delicious!) cinnamon sauce that comes with them. Connor was extremely annoyed already, and wasn’t going to request the sauce, but as the sweet potato fries were the only highlight of the meal, I insisted he needed it. Of course, the server responded with another eye roll, which is apparently his trademark response. I think I would have fallen off my stool otherwise.
One last thing that kind of irked us – the server actually did comp Connor his whiskey sour (not the burger), but never told us. In fact, he made us wait over 10 minutes before taking Connor’s credit card to pay (during which time he walked back and forth and around our table and again, ignored us repeatedly), and we didn’t realize he took off a drink until we looked over the check again out of sheer boredom. On one hand, it was nice that he actually did something for us, but on the other hand, it was weird that he never mentioned it to us. To be honest, I would have preferred an apology to a free drink.
Here’s the deal. The burger was good, but not great. Honestly, it may very well be great (albeit nothing unique), but the disappointment of the evening overshadowed the food. I didn’t even get to take pictures for you, even though I went there with the intent of writing a rave review, because the whole thing was so frustrating. The sweet potato fries and cinnamon sauce are unbelievably good, however, and I did get a picture of Connor enjoying those.
All in all, I think the place has a lot of promise. The location is great (right near downtown Fort Lauderdale), the decor is beautiful (gorgeous wood everywhere), and the food was good, although there really isn’t much to distinguish the menu from the other local burger joints and gastropubs. The drink menu is awesome, however, and although my whiskey sour was only mediocre, I got to try a new Left Hand beer (my favorite brewery!), the Left Hand Week Sauce Coffee Porter. More awesomeness, despite the fact that the server tried to take it away from me when it was still half full, and when there were several finished glasses still on the table.
It’s also worth mentioning that the place was only half full, but it was LOUD. I don’t have very good hearing (that’s what happens when your dad is a rock star and you grow up in recording studios!), but I could clearly hear conversations on the other side of the room. It was so loud that Connor and I had to yell to hear each other, which only added to the awkwardness of the whole ordeal. There is a really nice outdoor patio that would be preferable if you don’t want too much noise, especially in the winter months when the weather is comfortable.
In the end, we decided that we’ll probably go back to Tap 42, but just for the drinks. I think we’d have more fun grabbing a beer during happy hour (and some sweet potato fries!), and maybe a bartender will be able to turn us on to a new bourbon or two.