Photo by Forrest Nguyen
The term “gastropub” usually makes me cringe. It’s an overly trendy word used to excuse all manner of needlessly complicated food with obscure ingredients and unnecessary preparations (i.e. “foams”). A few, however, live up to the promise of craft beers paired with equally interesting food — such is the case of The Urban Tavern.
Awkwardly tucked around the back corner of Gleneagles Shopping Center, Urban Tavern offers an overwhelming array of craft beers — a few dozen on tap plus more by the bottle — along with
equally well-crafted nibbles by chef Tim Bereika, formerly of Secco Wine Bar.
Bereika’s menu is approachable, with medium-sized plates like the ale-battered, beautifully flaky fish and chips ($12) and meat and cheese boards featuring house-cured meats and local salamis. Bereika also puts his pasta-making talents to use, creating daily noodle specials as delicious as any dish you’ll find in Richmond’s pasta houses.
The standout was the flank steak ($16 half/$29 full), lightly marinated to augment the meat’s flavor. Perfectly seared and thinly sliced, it’s the ideal dish to keep for yourself or to sample with friends over a growler of Lickinghole Creek’s Magic Beaver Belgian-Style Pale Ale.
The closest the Tavern comes to a falter is with the fries. Truffle oils and salts sound great on a menu, but I find that they rarely live up to the expectation — less truffle and more chemical perfume; a bit of a pity on what is otherwise a perfectly fried fry.
Fry pitfalls aside, in a world full of restaurants co-opting the gastropub title, Urban Tavern is the real deal. It’s the perfect place to pop in after work, or for its newly instituted brunch.
The Urban Tavern
10498 Ridgefield Parkway
Hours: Monday to Thursday 4 to 10 p.m.; Friday to Saturday 4 to 11 p.m.; Sunday 10 a.m. to 3 p.m., 4 to 10 p.m.
Prices: Snacks and small plates, $5 to $12; medium and large plates, $5 to $29