In recognition of current social distancing and voluntary isolation, Scott Joseph’s Orlando Restaurant Guide will be focusing on restaurants offering takeout, delivery and curbside pickup. Check here for a continuously updated list of restaurants offering to-go options.
It’s a truism that the enjoyment of food often has to do with the atmosphere in which it is consumed. Food that might be considered just so-so often becomes a sumptuous feast because of the place it’s consumed in and the people with whom it is shared.
So the real test of the quality of a restaurant’s food is how it tastes off premises instead of enjoyed in situ. (Out situ?)
I can attest that the food from Tap Room at Dubsdread is just as good when enjoyed at home as it is in the bustling, clublike atmosphere with dozens of friends stopping by the table to say hello.
Tap Room is offering a limited menu for takeout and curbside pickup. Thankfully, its famous and multi award-winning Cheeseburger is on the list. That was the first thing I requested when I called in to place an order recently.
I also got a cup of Chili and an order of Fish and Chips.
I told the young woman who took my order – cheerful, patient – that I wanted to have contactless curbside pickup, so I asked her to add a 20 percent tip to the order and to preauthorize my credit card so that a credit slip would not have to be signed at pickup.
When I arrived at Dubsdread about 15 minutes later, I pulled up to the area that would ordinarily be the valet parking drop-off and put the car in park. I called the restaurant and told the person who answered that I was there to pickup the order I had phoned in. A few minutes later, someone approached the car with a big bag. I asked her to place the bag in the back seat and she complied. She said that ordinarily a signature would be required but that she would take my verbal authorization, which I gave.
The bag had an orange sheet of paper attached that assured the customer that the food was packaged with caution but recommended that the food be unpackaged and hands washed before using. Good advice.
The food was packaged in plastic clamshells with clear tops. The chili was in a cardboard soup container that was also put inside a small foam clamshell. I thought it was odd at first but then realized it was to keep the chili from leaking. A belt and suspenders. Worked great.
The burger was cooked to a perfect medium rare and served with lettuce, tomato and onions with a generous side of waffle-cut sweet potato fries. The patty was thick and juicy and the only thing I missed was having one of the Tap Room servers stop by so I could tell them how good it was.
The fish and chips were good, too. Breaded items are difficult to do for takeout because the steam that builds up in the container during transit can make them soggy. That wasn’t the case here. The order included two fillets, with tartar sauce and a side of coleslaw, and a large stack of fries. It would easily have served two people.
The chili had big chunks of meat and a good amount of cheese, a nice comfort food at a time much comfort is needed.
If I were to make one change in the takeout experience it would be to have the side containers placed in separate bags rather than smooshed in next to the food, as was the case with the tartar sauce and coleslaw. I have no doubt that Tap Room practices extreme sanitation practices, but having them separate would just look better.
But the overall takeout experience was seamless and the Tap Room food as good as always.
Tap Room at Dubsdread is open for pickup daily from 11 a.m. to 8 p.m. It is also offering drinks and wine to go. See all the menu items and details here. The phone number is 407-650-0100.