Right from the get-go Tabor Road Tavern comes out of the gate strong with dramatic soaring ceilings, oversized floral arrangements and rustic-barn décor. A long handsome bar lines one wall and old-school landscape murals decorate the rest. White linen tablecloths lend a dressed up feeling to the comfortable space, though unlike other seats in the room, our hard wooden chairs did not have padding, and we were squirming by the end of the meal.
A lengthy list of appetizers kept up the pace with selections that all looked so good it was hard to choose, and none of our choices was disappointing in the least. The Burrata cheese platter offered an ample ball of the mozzarella that burst open to reveal an oozing ultra-creamy center. The accompanying roasted peppers and olive tapenade provided a perfect balance of sweet and salty, but we had to ask for more of the nice crunchy toasts in order to finish the cheese.
The real star of the starters was three oversized braised Greek meatballs that were moist, tender and served with a cucumber tzatziki salad flecked with colorful little tomatoes and tiny crisp squares of pita bread croutons.
Unfortunately, when it came to the main dishes, our meal began to lose steam. A chimichurri hanger steak was cooked as ordered and had a side of great little roasted potatoes, but there was not enough of the herb sauce and its flavors were rather insipid for a South American specialty that is meant to shine with citrus and garlic. The filet tip steak sandwich was also tender and smothered in mushrooms, sautéed onions and cheese, but the shoestring truffle frites were just not crispy enough.
The biggest disappointment was the cobb salad which was sadly underdressed and laden with rubbery chunks of chicken.
The erratic nature of our visit continued with the service, where the maitre d and one of our servers were super friendly and attentive, even arranging a special little dessert plate for a birthday in our group, while the other server was downright bland, much like several of our dishes.
Tabor Road Tavern, 510 Tabor Road, Morris Plains, 973-267-7004, taborroadtavern.com. Open for lunch and dinner seven days a week.
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