Wednesday, December 8, 2010

Coasting in Celebration

Celebration Town Tavern
721 Front Street
Celebration, FL

Alcohol: several beers on tap
Hours: 11 AM-2 AM, Sunday 10 AM-2 AM
Food: New England-style pub food

One underrated thing in a restaurant is clarity of purpose.

After all, people are rarely in the mood for "a gloppy mishmash of different concepts smashed together."

You can be in the mood for a greasy spoon, or a Italian, or for barbecue, but not usually for a place that makes half-hearted attempts to be several things.

That's not to say fusion's bad -- one of the better places I've been lately was a place called Draft Barn, with 22 beers on tap, 140 in bottles and most of the food is Hungarian-influenced.

The main soup on the menu is goulash, and the signature dish is the Draft Barn Burger, which is a half-pound cheeseburger with Hungarian sausage on it.

Unfortunately, my cell phone (with its camera) died mid-meal, so a review of that particular establishment is going to have to wait.

Instead, I'll review the Celebration Town Tavern, which variously bills itself as a sports bar, a family restaurant and a Boston seafood joint, none convincingly.

I went to the place with a large group, so there was a wait as they pulled our tables together.

So I got a beer at the bar outside with a couple other people.

There were only five beers on tap at the bar outside, but the bartender could only tell me that one of them, Celebration Ale, was "really strong" and that she didn't like it.

She fetched a sample, but only after I'd already ordered a Guinness, which was a pity, because it was actually pretty good.

Shortly thereafter, our party was seated, and I discovered the Boston theme in the menu.

Being in the same town as Disney, there were several touristy places on the same public square, along with outdoor ice skating and people movers that looked like trains, I had certain expectations as to carrying out a theme.

It would make sense for it to be Boston to the hilt, featuring a host dressed up as Tip O’Neill telling incoming patrons that we’re all friends after six. . .

. . . or at least Wally the Green Monster.

At least have the servers speak in a bad faux-Boston accent.

Or have more than a handful of the "99 bottles of beer on the wall" be from New England.

Maybe serve some Long Trail or Shipyard, neither of which made their cut, while numerous microbrews from other parts of the country were on the list.

After all, if a place is flying its seafood in from Ipswich, MA, it should play up the New England connection a wee bit more than just putting the baked beans in these weird pots I've never actually seen in New England.

Since I wasn't in the mood for seafood, I ordered the blackened prime rib sandwich.

The bread had about a perfect crusty to chewy ratio, and the cheddar cheese on it was sharp.

The blackening on the meat was also good, and it was otherwise tasty, but there was a slight problem: thin-slicing.

I don't know of many people who want thin-sliced prime rib -- I, Suit603, prefer a nice, thick cut of meat.

It would have been much better if they'd sent it out as a half sandwich with the same amount of meat on it.

As for the fries, they really weren't very good, and their tastiness waned rapidly as they cooled, kind of like McDonalds.

And then the place describes itself as a family restaurant, and it’s just way too much of a sports bar to really fit that description.

All in all, there's potential here, and they do some stuff well, but they need to improve the execution to be worth going back to.

It feels like they're just coasting on out-of-towners.

Rating: Wouldn't Wear the Shirt if They Paid Me.

No comments:

Post a Comment