A few weeks ago I wrote about traditional notions of what bar food is. Well, Trinity River Tap House fits the familiar mold much better. That’s not likely, given that the place serves more than 50 types of craft beer. Where the taps and the myriad TV screens showing sports remain from the place’s previous incarnation, The Pour House (as well as the entrée called Eric’s Cheeseburger Salad, if you were fond of that), the metal tables and aggressively mainstream vibe have given way to a more welcoming atmosphere, with polished blond wood décor and waitresses wearing little enough for TRTH to qualify as a breastaurant. This West 7th joint may be a nicer place to watch a doubleheader or a day of football, but how is it for food? The record is mixed.
[box_info]Trinity River Tap House
2725 W 7th St, FW. 817-335-2575. 11am-2am Sat-Sun, 11am-midnight Mon-Fri. All major credit cards accepted.[/box_info]
Undoubtedly, the best thing this place does is wings. I went there for weekend brunch and had the wings and waffles, with chicken wings fried to a terrific crisp. The dish was served with a cup of gravy and what looked like half a stick of butter on the side. I felt the food items didn’t need it, so I didn’t use it, but I was grateful that everything was served separately so I had the choice. The waffles were somewhat dry, but this was mitigated by the syrup. It made for a satisfying brunch item.
The same went for “The” Wings, served as a shared appetizer on the regular menu and available in a variety of flavors, as well as in 10-wing and 20-wing portions. I selected lemon pepper and had my portion fried to that same crispy goodness that feels good to bite into. Somehow I feel confident that crunch would hold up even under a messier sauce like the honey-barbecue or the traditional buffalo wing sauce that the restaurant offers. The plate came with a cup of ranch dressing and a token portion of carrot and celery sticks that I was nevertheless grateful to have.
Elsewhere on the place’s brunch menu, my guest ordered a fair country-style eggs Benedict with a side of O’Brien potatoes spicy enough to jolt you from your weekend slumber.
Less happy news came with the regular lunch and dinner entrées. The restaurant offers a blackened salad in either chicken or shrimp varieties. I chose the latter. I got unmemorable shrimp nestled in a dish of mixed greens and an imperceptible pico de gallo, with a blah lime-cilantro vinaigrette on the side. The fried red onion strings and tortilla strips on top did give a nice crunchy and mildly sweet element to the salad, but they couldn’t save the entry from mediocrity.
Even less happy was the baked rigatoni, which wound up sinking like lead in my stomach. The pasta was noticeably overcooked and smothered under a blanket of bland mozzarella, and while the grilled chicken and Cajun sausage mixed in beneath offered an interesting note, this dish would have otherwise been at home at The Olive Garden or any other chain Italian eatery.
Of course, the main attraction here is the huge selection of beer, both on tap and in bottles and cans. It’s only fitting that beer managed to find its way into one of the two desserts that the restaurant serves as well. The hard root beer float was a glass of cinnamon vanilla ice cream and a bottle of Mission hard root beer that you poured yourself. I’ve never been a root beer person, but it made for a pleasingly unusual end to one meal.
The place does have some issues with its service to iron out. In one session at the bar watching Women’s World Cup games, I placed an order for unsweetened iced tea and never changed it. Yet on three separate occasions, three different servers refilled my glass with sweet tea instead. The waitstaff apologized each time, but three mix-ups of one order makes you think, “Come on!” It’s good that the Trinity River Tap House serves up so many different imbibes. That’ll give it time to improve its other issues to establish itself in the city’s busiest corridor.
Trinity River Tap House
Wings and waffles $9.49
Country-style eggs Benedict $9.99
“The” wings (10) $10
Baked rigatoni $11
Blackened shrimp salad $11
Hard root beer float $6