Morris Tap & Grill Randolph NJ
So, its my birthday, and I decide to cut my brother some slack and have him meet me half way between where he lives and where I live an hour away since he is buying. 30 Minutes away from both of us in Randolph is the Morris Tap & Grill just off all major highways. The menu has tons to offer, plus they changed it for the spring, so we are doing some extra studying while we drink a pint of hand-crafted beer from Pennsylvania. Very clean, very great tasting.
Another great appetizer I have been waiting to try was the fried calamari with hot red cherry peppers, the bonus: other fried vegetables like zucchini, peppers and something else I can’t remember because it was so delicious I ate it so fast. Its served with marinara, but with the flavor from the hot cherry peppers, you don’t need anything else. Very tender, not crispy, but very tender, which is better than crispy and not overcooked. I guess you can think of this like the Italian version of Tempura (battered and fried non-meats, mostly seafood and vegetables). Definitely a winner. Traditionally these are served with marinara sauce and lemon, and while I prefer lemon, this was fine, even without the marinara sauce. I honestly never understood the marinara, and lemon is my favorite for fried foods, but since we have so much else going on, this stands alone just fine.
They have a variety of sauces to choose from when it comes to their wings, and we were able to choose from two. So, I had the Buffalo Bacon, but my brother wanted to try that, so I got the other half with Voodoo sauce which is sriracha and honey, not hot at all, but very tasty. That ranch dressing you see in the center of the plate was of no use because they are flavorful enough.
Now, the main course… the short rib sandwich. Just mention of short ribs makes my mind wander and my mouth water. I think of meat, on the bone, braised for hours until its so tender it just falls apart. And wow, just look at those 3 large battered onion rings on a brioche bun. It was delicious. I could have even done without the bun, but this eats like a gourmet burger, so the bun was more than welcome. The Boardwalk fries never disappoint.
My brother got a burger so large he could not finish. And he is more critical than I am when it comes to food, but he was the first to note that the food was more than exceptional and the presentation was fantastic. This is not food thrown on a plate, this is well thought out, well planned, and its comforting when someone takes care to bring you a plate of food that is not just thrown together on a production line.
He asked “when was the last time you saw a bun like that”. And I told him “the last time I was here”, joking of course. But so often you see the same old sort of bun that has been pressed out of some factory line bakery and the truth is, I can’t ever recall seeing a bun like this. I don’t know if they are baked on premises or what, but its not like anything I’ve ever seen.
So yes, we have a clear winner when it comes to pub food meets gourmet. Hand crafted local beer, fantastic food, service and friendly, casual atmosphere. My hope is that more of these places arise on our highways over global chains offering more of an original menu to the consumer.
MORRIS TAP & GRILL (973-891-1776)
500 Route 10 West, Randolph NJ
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