Dining viewpoint: A nice evening at Chelsea Tavern

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As we circled the block looking for a place to park, we saw first-hand the challenge facing the owners of Chelsea Tavern, the gastropub on Market Street. It turned out the parking ramp was closed and  with things hopping on Market Street, we had to park an uncomfortable distance from the restaurant. 

At 8th and Orange streets, someone was directing traffic toward Orange Street as lights from a group of police cars could be seen several  blocks away. It turned out, a shooting had taken place at 8th and Washington streets, a stark reminder of the challenges facing this city.

A walk of a block or so was not scary at all and the lights of Market Street were inviting as we stepped into Chelsea Tavern, the former, 821 restaurant. For those of us who haven’t been back since 821 closed, Chelsea is a pleasant surprise with  an interesting menu and a  vast selection of beer.

It is worth catching a drink at the friendly before being directed to a table by the friendly staff. Once you do sit down, a vast selection awaits.

We opted for the batter-fried meatballs with a light dose of marinara sauce, not something your cardiologist would recommend, but definitely a tasty way to start the evening. The meatball was an evening special, but deserves a permanent place on the appetizer list.

Two of us opted for the hamburger, bacon, cheese and onion pizza, another healthy dining selection.  The pizza was filling, with a generous dose of the nicely seasoned  ground beef seen in the meatballs, along with plenty of bacon, onions and for the brave at heart, french fries on top. Believe, me it tastes a lot  better than it sounds.

Other diners went with more conventional choices –  thoughtfully prepared  steak frites and a gastropub tuna sandwich,  all reasonably priced.

The inexpensive  zinfidenel  that accompanied the meal was a little pricey at $60  but the lower tariffs on the pub grub mean that margins have to be made up somewhere.

The one sour note came with dessert. The ubiquitous chocolate lava cake was not available and the chocolate bread pudding was dry and hardly edible. The dessert was sent back and taken off the bill.

Chelsea Tavern definitely  deserves a return visit, particularly for the selection of beer on tap and here’s hoping for chocolate lava cake the next time around. –  Doug Rainey

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