The Tavern Kitchen and Bar is a newer restaurant not too far from us in a Valley Park strip mall. It opened last October, had good reviews, and ended up on several end-of-the-year "best of" lists. Even though it's only a few miles from our house, I hadn't been there yet, and when Tony and I decided to go for our anniversary I was excited to try it.
Since we were dining early in the evening on a weeknight, we didn't have a problem finding a parking space close to the building. We walked through the bar area to the hostess stand, where we were greeted and led to a table. There's an open kitchen on one side of the dining room, and I noticed some chef's seats along one side of the kitchen. (Which I'll remember for our next visit!)
We ordered drinks, then started looking over the one-page menu, which was divided into Appetizers, Salads, Entrees, Steaks, Sides, and Add-Ons. In addition to the printed list, a board above the kitchen area listed a few small plate dishes, the Fish Market offerings (several kinds of fish--salmon, cod, mahi mahi, ahi tuna, and halibut, that could be prepared in one of four ways), and the desserts. The waiter brought our drinks and a small rectangular cast iron pan of Parmesan pull-apart biscuits. They were sprinkled with chives, had a bit of a kick, and were some of the best I've ever eaten.
Since the restaurant wasn't crowded, it didn't take long to get our food after we ordered. We shared a mixed green salad with baby greens and frisée lettuce that was tossed with a creamy dressing. Tony got the Jalapeno-Honey Mustard Pork Tenderloin. The perfectly-cooked slices of pork were sliced on the bias and served on a bed of slaw and came with a side order of baked beans. It was hard for me to decide, but in the end I ordered Sizzling Soy Salmon. The thick piece of fish was seared and served on a bed of vegetables (broccolini, bok choy, red peppers) that had been mixed with a teryaki broth and placed on a hot cast iron plate so it sizzled. The fish came with a small bowl of rice, which was the perfect accompaniment.
Because of all the biscuits we'd eaten, we decided to pass on dessert, but next time I'll make sure to save room. As we left, the chef called out a goodbye from the kitchen, and the hostess echoed his farewell. I left with a full stomach and a good feeling about the Tavern.